PL Macro Extension Tube from Duclos Lenses

Ext Tube

Duclos Lenses has released a new Macro Extension Tube for PL mount lenses. If you’ve never used an extension tube before, head on over to Cambridge in Colour and soak up some knowledge.

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Photo credit: Phil Holland, http://www.phfx.com

Here’s a quick excerpt from the Duclos Lenses website:

“Decrease the minimum focus distance to within a few inches of the front element while maintaining optimal image quality. Designed, manufactured, and assembled in the Chatsworth, California by Duclos Lenses, the stainless steel components, precision tolerances, and optically flat internal surface finish are meticulously married to reduce stray light and ensure the highest quality is maintained. Works with S35 and 35FF format lenses and cameras.”

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Sample photo using Zeiss 28-80mm CZ.2 and Duclos 20mm Extension Tube / Photo credit: Phil Holland, http://www.phfx.com

Basically, there’s nothing new or fascinating about this product – but it’s by far the most accurate, well designed and built extension tube you’ll ever use. Now for a bit of BTS goodies: this project began as a result of only finding cheap, poorly assembled extension tubes found on eBay or the likes. The quality of materials and assembly was simply unacceptable for an industry that thrives on precision and accuracy. My disdain was compounded when Phil Holland and I were chatting about other projects and he mentioned he was using exotic cinema lenses with cheap, low-quality extension tubes. I told him that such high-end motion picture lenses deserve commensurate accessories. A few simple measurements and some rendering gave us a good idea of the distances we could achieve and provide effective results. 20mm seemed to be the magic number for a general purpose extension tube, which Phil agreed.

20mm_Extension_Tube_AssmWe got to machining, grinding, and polishing, and handed a prototype to Phil Holland to run it through his gauntlet. After some field tests with the unit, Phil had a few words to share. 

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Sample photo using Zeiss 28-80mm CZ.2 and Duclos 20mm Extension Tube / Photo credit: Phil Holland, http://www.phfx.com

“Over the years I’ve done a great deal of macro filming. Commonly using dedicated macro lenses or occasionally large diameter diopters. There’s another tool that I’ve been using a lot on the still photography side of things that has allowed for a bit more creative freedom and exploration of tiny subject matter. Extension Tubes. Extension Tubes allow for closer focus than the stock lens by essentially optically enlarging the image. You lose infinity focus just like using a diopter, but you can use any lens/focal length mounted to an extension tube at the cost of small amount of light loss. I even occasionally use dedicated macro lenses on top of Extension Tubes to just get a bit closer when the situation calls for it.

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Photo credit: Phil Holland, http://www.phfx.com

One difficulty I’ve faced when translating using Extension Tubes to PL Mount motion picture filming is finding tubes that are well built and robust enough to use realistically on a production level shoot. Duclos Lenses was up for the challenge and have manufactured a set of very high quality PL Mount Extension Tubes with a generously large locking collar with a dampened action. No wobbly bits about it whatsoever, which is greatly appreciated. In my first outing with the prototype I combined the 20mm PL Mount Extension Tube with the Zeiss 28-80mm T2.9 zoom as combining the zoom motion and extension tube allows for a wider variety of possible setups and very close focus. That’s a lot of front weighted load and the new steel adapters hold up that glass just fine. Very impressed and happy to add these to my macro shooting tool box.”   — Phil Holland

As I mentioned, the 20mm was our priority but now we’re looking for some feedback from our friends and colleagues in regards to the next extension tube distance. Take a peek at some of the results provided by Phil Holland and the 20mm unit and cast a vote as to which distance you’d like to see next. Want to buy your own Duclos Extension Tube? Click Here.

Published by

Matthew Duclos

A connoisseur of fine motion picture lenses, Matthew has spent over half his life servicing, refining, selling, manufacturing, and collecting cinema lenses from around the world. Chief Operating Officer of Duclos Lenses and Founder of TheCineLens.com, Matthew has been contributing to the motion picture industry for over 15 years, and to this site for over 5 years.

7 thoughts on “PL Macro Extension Tube from Duclos Lenses”

  1. My experience with extension tubes is limited, but my I assume it is in accordance with the inverse square law? I would assume when the lens is moved 2x the distance from the sensor the resulting image circle is larger and therefore 4x the surface area. Am I right? If so, is it safe to say that if an Arri PL mount flange depth is 52mm, wouldn’t 26mm be a good choice? Half the distance increase should be a one-stop loss, yes? Seems like keeping track of light loss would be beneficial to have divisions of 52mm. Please let me know if this logic is not sound. If it is, I would propose a 26mm and 52mm for one stop and two stop loss units. Maybe something like 39mm/40mm for a 1.5 stop loss…. now you are making me risk face with doing math in a public space 😛

    1. Ryan, you’re correct. ISL does apply here. However, some shooters may choose to select an extension tube based on the magnification desired instead of the light loss. Both are equally important. Hence, the vote below. 😉

  2. I’m happy to vote with some money;-) for the thinnest PL ext tube you can make (maybe that is 15mm?)… Ideally I would like a 12mm, 20mm and 30mm. You can always put them together if needed for longer focal lengths.
    Thanks Michael L

    1. Despite being almost a year ago, I want to reply and tell John they don’t seem to. I was on a shoot with Cooke Anamorphics and the DP wanted a shot within the CF (we didn’t have the 65mm macro Cooke Anamorphic) We weren’t carrying diopters and I thought i’d be the hero of the day with my Duclos 20mm Macro Tube. Slapped the lens on and a hero I wasn’t. haha. Got some weird results, none of which were good for a proper car commercial. Now anamorphic design varies. Cooke is front anamorphic , but not the very front like you see with Kowas, Lomos, and most older designs. Can’t comment on how they work with mid or rear anamorphic designs. Just my experience with Cookes new Ana’s.

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