Bottom line up front…
The JJC extension tubes for Fuji X were a perfect distraction to the recent COVID-19 lockdown, which has forced many photographers to get creative and seek photo opportunities close to home! For one lock down project I decided on some cheap extension rings to convert existing lenses, without needing to fork out for a specific macro lens. Hence, Poor Man’s Macro. There seems to be a big backlog though and the exact JJC i’m using have disappeared – but loads of other brand tubes which I imagine are much the same. Like these Meike Tubes on amazon.
Lots of fun , very cheap and really small. I usually keep the 11mm extender in my pocket in case a macro photo opportunity presents itself!
JJC extension tubes with Fuji XF 35mm f/1.4 Sample images…
JJC macro extension tubes for Fuji X Performance
Macro extension tubes for Fuji X AF & Metering
The JJC extenders come with electronic contact points which allows the lens to speak to the camera. Enabling you to use AF and metering “as normal”. Although the chance of actually locking focus with AF is slim, because the Depth of Field will be so small that unless you have a tiny, high contrast area you will struggle. Metering works a treat though, as it should with a mirrorless system.
Which Lenses are best with 11mm and 16mm extension tubes?
The details of the magnification with both 11mm and 16mm tubes for any Fuji Lens is available here. A magnification of around 0.5 will give you a nice macro effect, anything less than that is not going to give you the effect you’re after. Notably, the XF56 is not going to work out very well as a macro lens!
A Shorter to Medium focal length will fare best, zooms are not going to be as easy to use as if you change your focal length you will need to re-focus. Beware of the “working distance” though, if its too close then using the lens will be difficult. This becomes especially difficult when photographing something moving – such as bugs! For example using the XF16 F.14 with 11mm tube your working distance is just 1mm. The best FL range when using tubes will be from 27mm and longer!
From my own experience the XF 35 F/1.4 with the 11mm tubes gives great results!
What Aperture to use with Macro Rings?
You will probably want to be using macro rings with an aperture of at least f/5.6 to get enough of the image in sharp focus. Wider apertures can be used creatively though, but for the context of most macro style shots, you will need a bigger depth of field.
For best results, use CL or CH – especially when using handheld – because any slight change in position might throw the focus completely off your subject.
Manual Focus in conjunction with focus peaking is absolutely best for macro work. Especially macro rings as the AF is unreliable.
JJC / Meike Tubes compared to Fuji MCEX.
Extension tubes work by simply increasing the distance between the lens and the sensor. Undoubtedly, the Fuji adaptors will be better made, but they’re all doing the same thing. Extenders do not contain any optical elements inside, so there is no degradation of image quality. Better made extension tubes wont give you better quality images.
However, if you’re using them a lot, then having a better made product may last you longer.
The JJC macro extension tubes for Fuji X are super cheap, super fun and gives you another creative string to your bow using the lenses you already have!