Fujifilm MCEX-16 – Transform your Lens into a Macro Lens? (Link to the YouTube Video, if the iframe above is not showing up)
I am not a regular macro-photographer, but sometimes I want to have the ability to shoot details and close ups.Instead of investing in a dedicated macro lens, which I will probably use rather rarely, I decided to try a macro extension tube, wherefore I bought the Fujifilm MCEX-16 for using it with my Fujinon XF 50-140 F2.8 lens.
The extension tube was delivered in a small box with some information printed on it. Inside the box, you can find a warranty booklet, an address sheet with all Fujifilm service locations worldwide, the manual in diverse languages as well as the extension tube itself wrapped into a plastic cover.
The macro extension tube is built very sturdily, the all-metal construction feels very well in the hand. You don’t have the feeling that it could break anytime soon, also when the fairly heavy 50-140 F2.8 is attached to it. The black ring has some writing on top, which says what it is, the sections left and right are ribbed for a better grip – although I think no one holds the camera there, maybe it’s only a styling clue – and on the bottom right side is a little lever which you have to pull back to unlock the lens when you want to take it off.
The extension tube also offers all electronic contacts in order to transfer all information between camera and lens like AF/AE settings or the EXIF settings.
The barrel length is 16mm, the diameter is 58mm and it weighs about 67 g. One could argue that Fujifilm does not deliver it with caps, but I don’t think you necessarily need caps for such a tube since there are no lens elements inside and you often mount it on a lens where you can use the lens cap on the tube. Also it came with a plastic cover, so you can just put it into the cover if you don’t use it and want some protection.
The purpose of the macro extension tube is to reduce your working distance to do macros and close up shots. In my case the distance is altered in the following way:
- XF 50-140 F2.8 – lens only
- Maximum magnification: 0,06 @ 50mm and 0,12 @ 140mm
- Working Distance: 806mm @ 50mm and 140mm
- XF 50-140 F2.8 – with MCEX-16
- Maximum magnification: 0,38 @ 50mm and 0,28 @ 140mm
- Working Distance: 80mm @ 50mm
- Working Distance: 318mm @ 140mm
(Working Distance = Distance from the lens, not the sensor, to the subject you want to photograph)
As you can see, the maximum magnification is achieved on the short end @50mm. You can get very close to your subject and take really cool pictures. But the magnification on the long end is also not bad and if there is a situation where you can’t reach the last 238mm to the subject you can also use the lens @140mm without problems.
Photographing with the Fujifilm MCEX-16 Macro Extension Tube
As mentioned, the tube is of high build quality. You mount the tube on the camera and the lens on the tube, everything clicks in place and holds together very well and tight. Nothing is rattling or shaking. You can operate your camera without worrying that something could break apart.
The autofocus works fine and quickly. Also, the optical image stabilization is operating normally. You can shoot totally normal with this extension tube attached. The only downside is that you lose the ability to focus on subjects further away as you can indeed do exclusively close up shots.
The quality of these close up shots is really great. Due to the fact that there are no other lens elements in such extension tubes, there is obviously no change in the image quality. The Fujinon XF 50-140 F2.8 is a very sharp lens with great bokeh and the pictures look accordingly.
But it is also a bit difficult to get sharp pictures. The focus area shifts very quickly when you are moving for- or backward. You have to hold your camera very still or you can, of course, also use a tripod. I have produced plenty of handheld pictures where the focus is not exactly where I wanted it to be.
Another thing you should be aware of is the following: When shooting @50mm with the lens hood on, there is the possibility that a big shadow appears on the subject. Thus you have to choose your shooting position accordingly to avoid this.
Here I want to show you some of the sample pictures I have taken so far.
Videos with the Fujifilm MCEX-16 Macro Extension Tube
Of course, you are also able to shoot video with this adapter. The benefits and limitations are the same as when you take photos. You can achieve very interesting looking close up videos (in case you have less shaky hands than I or you use a tripod/gimbal). Just watch my video review linked above.
Does the MCEX-16 magically transfer the 50-140 F2.8 into a macro lens? No, of course it doesn’t. A normal macro lens is the way to go when you want to shoot macros comfortably. But the extension tube gives you more possibilities to play and be creative with your existing lenses. The overall quality is outstandingly good, the electronic contacts make it easy to work with because you use both autofocus and aperture control, and the close-up pictures and videos you get are really fine.
For now, I can recommend the MCEX-16 macro extension tube from a quality perspective as well as when you are looking for ways to be more creative in your photography – to play around so to speak. Nevertheless, if you want to be a dedicated macro photographer you should buy a dedicated macro lens.
I hope you have found this review helpful and interesting. If you want to see more reviews of Fujifilm gear watch this space and subscribe to my YouTube channel. I am currently working on a review of the Fujifilm X-T2, the Fujinon XF 50-140 F2.8 as well as the Fujinon XF 16-55 F2.8.