Fuji Showcase Meike MK-F-AF3 Auto Focus Extension Tube Set


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Central Ohio, USA
Here is my review and an image thread we can all add for images taken using the Meike extension tubes.

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Macro has always interested me in some ways and turned me off in others.

I liked the ability to get in really close, but normally, you needed to have a dedicated lens to bring along with you, or an adapter that goes on the front of the lens or something or another. Then, it was invariably manual focus if you wanted something affordable.
I know I’m making it sound like a pain…and it is in some ways…but if macro is your thing, then putting in the work and doing the process is worth it to you.

In the past I’ve owned a few macro lenses, that were auto focus. My first was a Phoenix 100mm f/3.5 in Nikon f mount. I used it on my D50. It was 1:2 bare lens and came with a screw on filter that pushed it to 1:1. At the time it was a little over $100 and was worth the experiment. Not great IQ, but made me appreciate the capabilities of getting in close.

Upgrading, I went to the Tamron 90mm f/2.8. My reasoning was that. yes it was a macro lens and it was auto focus – but it also doubled as a darn fine portrait lens too. In both capacities it worked well…but I did not use it enough to justify keeping it, so it was sold to fund other lenses.

Going further down the experimental line, Nikon made some legacy f-mount zoom lenses like the 28-85/3.5-4.5, 28-105/3.5-4.5 and 35-135/3.5-4.5 that all had “macro modes” on them. Tinkered with them a bit but it was just weird getting them into and out of macro mode and you lost AF. If I’m going to do that, I’d rather go back to a dedicated lens.

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Extension tubes and reversing rings have been a popular way of doing macro. I never got into that, so cannot really comment. So when I first saw that Fujifilm released a set of macro extension tubes for x-mount – I didn’t think much of it. For close to $100 for either an 11mm or 16mm extension tube, I wasn’t really that interested in experimenting. Even with AF, which is a nice touch, it’s a pass for me.

Then, one day…I’m strolling through the digital aisles of Amazon and I see that there are some third party extension tubes for Fuji X. Out of curiosity, I look…between $25 and $50USD. That might be worth an experiment.

There are many brands out there, and a few that I’ve had in the past and trusted. I see that Meike has a set of 10mm and 16mm full AF extension tubes and they are $25. I pull the digital trigger.

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Initial Thoughts
Why buy? Well, for the price, I’m not losing much. This seems worth the risk to try them out.

The reviews I’ve read about them are favorable and it seems that the actual Fuji extension tubes are not stackable but these are. I’ve no first hand knowledge about the Fuji tubes, only anecdotal interweb whisperings.

Build Quality
These tubes come stacked together with caps on either end. The outer portions of the tubes are plastic, but the mounts on both sides are metal. The inner part of the tubes has the electrical contacts for connection to the camera and the lens.

They feel very light, but well made. The only thing that feels a little “cheap” is the lens release lever. They just feel loose and they rattle a bit.

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Connection To Lenses and Camera
They click into place seem to have good fit. There is a bit of back and forth play between the tubes and the cameras that I tested it on X-E3 and X-Pro2.

A cool thing about these tubes is that there seems to be only one lens in Fuji X that these do not work with and that is the 80mm macro. Again, heard it on the internet, I do not have first hand knowledge on that.

I have tested them on all the lenses I currently own and they worked fine on those.

Auto Focus Performance
Benefitting from auto focus, these tubes work great for close focusing. The trick is finding the close focusing range. Outside of the close focusing range, the lens attached is not going to work. In plain terms, this means that you will not be able to put these tubes on and shoot as normal plus have the advantage of focusing closer.

Pop these on and get in close, then remove them to go back to shooting normally.

Image Quality
Here is where it most matters. Does the IQ suffer? Is it worth getting these over a dedicated macro lens?

You can check out the sample images in this review, but I think that you’ll find that if the Fuji lens you picked is up to the task, then these extension tubes are going to not get in your way!

I’ve not done a lot of research into the effects of extension tubes on exposure, but I’m sure that since the lens is now further away from the sensor that there is going to be some light loss.

Also note that the images below are with both the tubes stacked to get the maximum magnification.

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Optical Image Stabilization or OIS
As far as I can tell the OIS in the Fuji lens still continues to operate. This is great if you need to hand hold the lens for those close up shots. We did this test for some sample images here in this review. The images will be identified if OIS was used for the shot.

Bottom Line
For $25, it’s hard to fault the auto focus enabled Meike extension tubes. Being able to stack them and get even closer is a welcome addition to them as well.

While some may be disappointed by the mixed plastic and metal construction, I welcome the weight savings in having the plastic casing. Sure, metal may be more durable, and you’ll want to be a little more careful not to drop or impact the tube set, but these should work just fine given we do our part to take care of the gear.

While this is my first foray into the use of extension tubes, I will recommend these to those looking to get into close focus/macro photography for the bargain basement price. There may be better built sets out there and perhaps I’ll be able to review those in the future. For now, I’ll happily keep using these tubes for the infrequent occasion that I need to get in really close.