I’ve had extension tubes for my Pentax 67ii for a while now and only used them once, if I remember correctly (which is not something to take for granted), so I thought I’d do a quick project in the kitchen and take some photos of some flowers we’d just bought. It was fairly light in the kitchen and I knew I’d probably need to shoot around f/5.6 or narrower to allow the depth of focus to be a little greater than a single grain of pollen and so I chose Portra 800. To get an aperture of f/5.6 at a shutter speed I could handhold the giant beast securely I had to go up to ISO 3200, which then gave me a meter reading of 1/100 sec which I subsequently shot at 1/60 sec, so I therefore had to push the Portra 800 by 2 stops in development. I know Portra 800 can give excellent results when pushed and given that I had good, natural daylight I wasn’t particularly worried about any ill effects from the 2 stop push. I also used a small silver reflector (camera left) to fill in the shadows a little given that pushing works less well on the shadows. The other thing to bear in mind is that depending on which extension tube you use, you have to increase your exposure to compensate for loss of light.
Focusing with the extension tubes was surprisingly difficult; not only do they produce a darker viewfinder, the depth of field is so thin that I admit I wasn’t very confident at how many shots on my 2 rolls of 120 would be in focus. I was pleased to find that in the 20 frames I shot, I hit sharp focus in 17-18 frames, but focusing did take me some time and my arms were often aching before I’d hit the shutter button. In terms of extension tube choice (given that it’s a set of 3), I only shot with tubes 1 and 2….tube 3 just got me closer to the subject than I wanted and would also have required greater exposure, which I couldn’t have achieved without a tripod.
Nevertheless I’m pleased with the results and I can definitely see me taking these tubes out in my bag more routinely when we head out with the cameras. Dev/scan: UK Film Lab