Want to give macro photography a try but aren’t sure yet about getting a dedicated macro lens? Extension tubes are cheaper options that can give you similar results, if you just want to explore the genre before investing on an expensive gear. But, how do they really compare with an actual lens?

In the video above, UK-based professional photographer and educator Karl Taylor demonstrates how a $200 50mm standard lens with a $75 extension tube set performs against a $1000 90mm macro lens. But first, he gives a quick explanation about how these attachments work and why they’re much cheaper options. Then, he sets to work to shoot two sets of objects using Sony Mirrorless and Hasselblad Medium Format cameras, each equipped with a dedicated macro lens first then a standard lens with extension tubes.

Aside from explaining the results, Taylor also gave some tips on how you can make the most out of extension tubes, in case a dedicated macro lens isn’t an option for you for whatever reason. So yes, it’s still possible to get great macro-level results with extension tubes, making them worthy options for those who are just getting started.

Looking for macro photography resources? Make sure to also join the macro photography groups and discussions in the Photofocus Community!