Best Nikon Extension Tubes of 2019 – Ultimate Round-up

Why do most people invest in expensive macro lenses? Usually, it is mainly because they want to take better images and make clearer videos. But what if there was another option? What if you could indulge in professional photography without having to spend a hefty amount of money?

Extension tubes are the perfect substitute to expensive macro lenses. Since there are so many options on the market right now, consumers often become confused as to which is the best one. Moreover, a lot of people don’t know that they can simply buy an extension tube rather than a macro lens.

This review will answer all your questions regarding these tubes and will present you the top options to choose from.

Comparison of the Best Nikon Extension Tubes

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Neewer 12mm,20mm,36mm AF Auto Focus

  • Electronic contacts give better linkage with the camera
  • Quick release locks and ease of use make it the best overall
  • Three tubes allow 7 combinations for different magnifications
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Fotodiox Macro Extension Tube Set Kit

  • Metal construction adds to the strength of the tube
  • Kit includes mount, lens, adapter and 3 tubes for various combinations
  • Runner-up unit comes with an aperture open level for max aperture operation
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MEIKE MK-N-AF1-A Macro

  • 3 tubes allow for 7 different combinations of magnifications
  • Build with engineering plastic material that allows for greater focus
  • Allows for both manual and autofocus of images and is the best for the money
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Kenko Auto Extension Tube Set DG

  • High compatibility with 3 tube options
  • Come with no optics thereby ensuring better results
  • Advanced mechanical coupling and circuitry allows for auto-focus
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Xit XTETN Auto Focus Macro Extension Tube Set

  • Advanced technology allows for amazing autofocus feature
  • Has 3 tubes of various lengths to use separately or in combination
  • Autofocus is maintained with mechanical coupling and proper circuitry
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What is an Extension Tube?

An extension tube basically provides greater extension for your in-built lenses. They are actually hollow and lightweight tubes that fit between the camera mount and the lens. They work by moving your lens farther away from your camera. It also moves the front element of your camera closer to the subject or the image that you have to capture.

Neewer 12mm,20mm,36mm AF Auto Focus

They hence increase the magnification of your camera, because the closer you can focus with these extension tubes, the greater magnification you will get for your images and videos.

What Size of Extension Tube Do I Need?

Extension tubes work by increasing the magnification of your lens so it’s important to understand the unique size that your camera requires for the best photography experience. In order to figure out the exact magnification that will be achieved by the tube, you need to divide the length of your extension tubes by the focal length of your lens.

For example, if you are shooting with a lens of 85 mm, and have further added an extension tube of 25 mm, all you need to do is divide 25 by 85. This will give you 0.29, which is also the magnification that will be achieved with the extension tube. So, before you buy the extension tube, make sure you do this simple math in order to find out the exact magnification that you require.

What Makes a Great Extension Tube?

There are certain features that you need to look for while buying the best extension tubes. Here is a brief overview of each feature.

Brand or Generic Type

As the name suggests, the brand type is specifically designed for that brand’s cameras, whereas the generic type can be used with any brand. Brand tubes are more efficient as they are designed for specific models; however, they are also expensive when compared with tubes from generic brands. The generic brand can be used with any model and image quality is not affected by the type, so that’s a plus side.

Size

Extension tubes come in various sizes and each size is responsible for ensuring a specific magnification. Magnification greatly affects the pixels and hence the quality of your image. Thus, it is vital that you get the right size of the tubes. If you can’t decide the magnification, simply divide the extension tube length with the lens’ length.

Fotodiox Macro Extension Tube Set Kit

Electrical Components

Extension tubes either come with or without electrical connections. The ones without the connection are extremely cheap and they simply work by fitting between the lens and the camera. They don’t allow you to use the auto-function feature.

On the other hand, the ones with electrical connections are expensive, but their extra cost is justified by their ability to allow for auto-focus. They allow the electrical current to move through both the camera and the lens hence giving better results.

Manual Focus vs. Auto-focus

Most of the advanced features like auto-focus are dependent upon the price of the extension tubes, so naturally, the more expensive options will allow for auto-focus. The advantage of having an auto-focus tube is that you don’t have to manually shift the aperture to the adequate size. However, if you are not too particular about this, just buy a less expensive product with manual focus.

Quick Take - Best Nikon Extension Tubes

Before we dive into our review, here are the best Nikon extension tubes:

  1. Neewer 12mm,20mm,36mm AF Auto Focus
  2. Fotodiox Macro Extension Tube Set Kit
  3. MEIKE MK-N-AF1-A Macro

Review of the Best Nikon Extension Tubes

When you are given so many choices, you often get confused and more often than not, you end up making the wrong choice. We have highlighted the features, pros and cons of the top Nikon extension tubes for your ease. Each product comes with some unique elements that make it worthy of being on this list.

For best results, choose the product that meets your criteria.

Neewer 12mm,20mm,36mm AF Auto Focus ABS Extension Tubes Set for Nikon DSLR Cameras Such as D7200,D7100,D7000,D5300,D5200,D5100,D5000,D3300,D3200,D3000,D40,D40x,D100,D200,D300,D3,D3S,D700,D90

PROS

  • Higher compatibility with Nikon lens series
  • Better linkage with camera for higher focus
  • Auto-focus makes it perfect for macro shooting
  • Electronic contacts allow for greater focus while macro shooting
  • Efficient mounting and dismounting due to its quick-release locks

CONS

  • Aperture needs to be changed manually
  • Does not turn manual lens into auto-focus

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers have praised the higher compatibility of the Neewer extension tube with all the Nikon lens series. Another feature that caught their notice was the electronic contacts built into the tube. They not only made their work easier but also allowed for greater focus during mounting and de-mounting of the tube. Not just that, buyers also loved the ease with which they could use this best overall tube.

Why it Stands Out to Us

With so many extension tubes on the market, it is hard to consider one as the ultimate best. But the Neewer extension tube has won this title due to its efficiency and higher compatibility. The best thing about these tubes is that they come with 3 tubes that allow for 7 different combinations, hence making it one of the best for all users.

Who Will Use This Most

The extension tubes can be used by almost everyone, from professional photographers to amateurs. Its electronic contacts allow for greater focus for macro and professional shooting. However, it comes with quick release locks; these not only allow for easy mounting and dismounting but also make the product convenient and easy to use for amateurs.

Bottom Line

The bottom line on the Neewer extension tube is simple; get them if you want to have the ultimate experience of focused macro shooting. Given that the product comes with 3 tubes and 7 combinations, it is not very expensive either, thus making it the best choice for professional or amateur photographers.

Fotodiox Macro Extension Tube Set Kit for Extreme Close-up, fits Nikon D1, D1H, D1X, D2H, D2X, D2Hs, D2Xs, D3, D3X, D3s, D4, D100, D200, D300, D300S, D700, D800, D800E, D40, D50, D60, D70, D70S, D80, D40X, D90, D3000, D3100, D3200, D5000, D5100, D7000, Fuji S1, S2, S3, S5

PROS

  • Allows for life-size image with an easy setup
  • 3 extension tubes allow for various magnifications
  • The image is able to preserve the original properties of the image
  • Converts any lens into a macro lens with the same optimal quality
  • Comes at a lower price than most tubes thus increasing affordability

CONS

  • Not very suitable for zooming
  • Does not come with electrical connectors for motorized lenses

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers are extremely content with this amazing extension tube. They like that it’s much more affordable than the other options on the market. Furthermore, they are also impressed with its light yet strong metal construction that gives it extra strength. Also, the kit comes with all the extension tubes, the lens coupling ring and body coupling ring, hence consumers don’t have to spend extra money on these things.

Why it Stands Out to Us

These extension tubes stand out to us because they offer a wonderful substitution to the other expensive macro lenses on the market right now. Apart from being affordable, they also ensure the perfect quality of images. They also allow for closer focusing than what is normally allowed in macro lenses.

Who Will Use This Most

There is no restriction on the kind of people who can use the Nikon extension tubes. Their build-up, although strong is extremely simple, hence anyone, whether it is a professional photographer or just someone who’s fond of taking pictures, can make use of these extension tubes.

Bottom Line

There is a reason why these extension tubes are part of this list. They are not only affordable but are extremely efficient too. They come with 3 tubes and 7 combinations of magnifications thus allowing you to retain the perfect optical properties of the image in your camera. So, to get the best out of your photography experience, make sure you invest in these as soon as possible.

Best for the Money:
 MEIKE MK-N-AF1-A Macro

MEIKE MK-N-AF1-A Macro Electronic Mount Auto Foucs Macro Metal Extension Tube Adapter for Nikon DSLR Camera D80 D90 D300 D300SD800 D3100 D3200 D5000 D51000 D5200 D7000 D7100 etc

PROS

  • Higher compatibility with most Nikon models
  • Allows auto-focus that produces high-quality images
  • Strong build enhances convenience and ease of use
  • Coupling with the camera’s automatic diaphragm is perfect
  • Moves lens a lot farther from the digital sensor hence increases focus

CONS

  • A tripod or a cable needs to be used in the case of a camera shake
  • Increase in image magnification ratio is likely to increase the camera’s shake

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers are all praises for these extraordinary Nikon extension tubes. They not only appreciate its plastic engineering build-up, but they also like the fact that these allow for increased compatibility with most Nikon models. This means that owners of most models can get focused images with these extension tubes.

Why it Stands Out to Us

There are various reasons why Meiki extension tubes stand out, but the feature that makes it truly extraordinary is its auto-focus feature. The tubes have the ability to move the camera lenses away from the digital sensor or film. This, in turn, increases the focus of the lens and thus allows for greater magnification of your images.

Who Will Use This Most

The extension tubes are made for mostly professional photographers who understand the technicalities behind the usage. However, that does not mean that amateurs cannot use them. It has a smooth plastic build that adds to your convenience. Hence we recommend that if you don’t understand the usage, simply see the manual for better understanding.

Bottom Line

With a plethora of choices available on the market right now, it becomes very hard to pick the right one. The Meiko tubes are built for higher auto-focus of images and also allow for manual focus. Not just that, but the tubes are perfect for professional photographers who want to capture images in their true essence.

Kenko Auto Extension Tube Set DG 12mm, 20mm, and 36mm Tubes for Nikon AF Digital and Film Cameras - AEXRUBEDGN

PROS

  • Allows you to convert any lens to macro lens
  • Enable your lens to closely focus more than normal
  • Extremely affordable when compared to other options.
  • Moves the lens further from the film hence allowing a greater focus.
  • Comes with 3 different tubes that combine to give various combinations

CONS

  • Does not let the lens focus to infinity
  • Focus range is greatly limited and allows for a very close focusing distance

What Recent Buyers Report

With so many good options on the market, it is often very difficult to please recent buyers, but Kenko extension tubes have done it very easily and in far less time. The buyers feel that the tubes allow for great photography by reducing the distance between the camera and lens. They also feel that its cost-effectiveness also plays a part in its greater appeal.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Among many reasons, the one reason that makes the Kenko tubes stand out to us is its higher compatibility with most Nikon models. The kit includes 3 extension tubes, each of varying length. These can be used individually or in combination hence allowing you to achieve the magnification of your choice.

Who Will Use This Most

The best thing about these extension tubes is that they can be used by almost anyone who has a knack for photography. For professional photographers, understanding the procedure is slightly easier however, amateur photographers can also follow a few simple steps to get the perfect images with these amazing extension tubes.

Bottom Line

Getting macro lenses is often very difficult, especially for people who have a restricted budget. So these very affordable extension tubes are the best option. They not only allow for various magnifications but they also allow for easy mounting and dismounting of the tubes. This makes usage of the lens easy and convenient for anyone who is looking to enhance his photography skills.

Xit XTETN Auto Focus Macro Extension Tube Set for Nikon SLR Cameras (Black)

PROS

  • Higher compatibility with most Nikon models
  • Focused images of flowers and insects can be taken
  • Higher warranty than most other products in the review
  • Auto-focus in ensured and maintained with advanced design
  • Allows you to choose your own magnification by choosing different tubes

CONS

  • Slightly difficult to use for new photographers
  • More ​expensive than tubes that allow manual focus only

What Recent Buyers Report

The opinion of recent buyers is very important as their experience can help you make an informed decision. With Xit XTETN, the experience of buyers has generally been positive. They like that the tubes are not as expensive as others with similar auto-focus features. The fact that they can be used to capture wildlife perfectly is also another feature that appeals to most consumers.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Apart from its cost and design, the one reason that makes the product stand out is its ease of use. Unlike most models, the Xit is extremely easy to mount and dismount. It has a simple yet advanced design that allows you to focus on images without having to worry about the aperture size. Moreover, its higher compatibility is also of prime importance to us.

Who Will Use This Most

As we have mentioned previously, this extension tube is extremely easy to use. There are a few simple steps that are required for you to capture the best images. It’s easy mounting and dismounting also adds to its greater appeal. Thus, professional photographers won’t have a hard time using it. As for amateurs, they only need to follow a few simple instructions to get effective results.

Bottom Line

The bottom line for the Xit Extension tube is this; get them if you want an easy and inexpensive substitute to the macro lenses. The best thing about it is the comfort that it ensures. Plus, anyone can use them with ease, and unlike most other models, they do not only facilitate professional photographers.

Pros and Cons of Extension Tubes

Like most products in the world, extension tubes come with their fair share of both pros and cons. Although their pros greatly outnumber their cons, it is still important that you understand both of them for a well-informed decision.

Pros

Let’s first see all the benefits you’ll get to enjoy by investing in these tubes.

Cost

Cost is the biggest advantage of getting an extension tube. This is because they allow you to get into macro photography without having to buy a professional and expensive macro lens. Moreover, you can buy both cheap and slightly expensive tubes for similar results.

Optical Quality of the Image

Contrary to what a lot of people think, extension tubes do not change the optical quality of your images. They work by increasing the distance between the camera and lens. This, in turn, increases the magnification without hindering the optical quality of the image.

Compatibility

There are 2 types of extension tubes, brand and generic ones. The biggest advantage of the generic extension tubes is that they can be used with any model. However, brand ones have higher compatibility with most models of that brand.

Cons

Let’s now see the shortcomings of these tubes.

Light Effect

Using extension tubes allow you to get extremely close to your subject. But the downside of this is that it can make you get in the way of lighting and in certain cases, this disturbs the subject, especially if it’s alive.

Sharpness

Since these tubes allow you to focus on the image too closely, this might lead to a decreased sharpness and hence affect image quality. It is important to note however that this decrease is not due to disturbance in the optical quality; rather, it is affected by how you are using your lenses.

How to Use Extension Tubes

Contrary to what a lot of people think, using extension tubes is not that hard. You simply have to follow a few simple steps to get the perfect results. Here is a brief overview of each step.

Sort Camera Settings

The first step is to set the camera to aperture priority mode. This will allow you to get an in-depth view of the field, which is a critical step for close-ups. It is also suggested that you do this manually, as using auto-focus won’t give you the precision that you need.

Attach Extension Tube

Once you understand the purpose behind extension tubes, you will also understand which size you need for each image. Finding the perfect tube might be confusing at the start, but when you experiment with a couple of these, you will get the hang of it. Simply fit the tube between your lens and your camera.

Check the Magnification

Once you have inserted the tube between the camera and lens, check whether the combination gives the best magnification. You can position the camera roughly before you move back and forth to bring the subject into focus. Once that is achieved, decide whether the magnification is the one that you require.

Try Different Combinations

If you are not satisfied with the current magnifications, it is always recommended that you try a couple of new combinations. Mix and match several tubes to get the perfect combination. If the magnification is higher than the one you need, shift to the tube with a smaller length. Do this a couple of times before you get the perfect magnification.

You can better understand how to use extension tubes with the following video.

Conclusion

Indulging in macro photography was once an expensive choice, but not anymore. With so many new types of extension tubes bombarding the market, macro photography has become extremely convenient. Indulge in the best photography experience by using these extraordinary Nikon extension tubes.

People Also Ask

Extension tubes haven’t been on the market for very long so it’s natural that people still have a lot of questions regarding their usage and other features. Here are the answers to the most common questions that are asked.

Do Extension Tubes Increase Magnification?

Yes, they do. Extension tubes work by increasing the distance between the camera and the lens. This hence increases the magnification of the image and allows for better images. The kind of magnification that is achieved depends upon the length of extension tubes that one uses.

Can Extension Tubes Be Used With Zoom Lenses?

The extension tubes can be used with zoom lenses but whether photographers use it with zoom lenses or prime lenses is up to them. But there is a downside to using tubes with zoom lenses. Since extension tubes work by increasing magnifications, they can end up increasing the imperfections in your lens’ optical quality extremely apparent.

What is the Difference Between Extension Tubes and Teleconverters?

Teleconverters and extension tubes differ in more than one way. However, the biggest difference between the two is that teleconverter works by magnifying the image by increasing the focal length. On the other hand, the extension tubes reduce the focus distance of the lens and hence allow you to get close to your subject.

Do Extension Tubes Affect Image Quality?

Extension tubes generally do not affect image quality. This is because the image quality is largely dependent on the optical properties of the image, and the tubes do not affect those. However, image quality can be slightly hindered if you are focusing on the image too much and hence not using the lens in the right way.

Can You Use Extension Tubes With Macro Lenses?

A lot of people think that extension tubes cannot be used with macro lenses but that’s a myth. They work by bringing the magnification ratio above 1:1. They also work by capturing the images that fill your frame with small and intricate details of an extremely focused and close up image.