Extension tubes are one of the most useful accessories you can add to your kit if you enjoy nature photography. They fit between your lens and your camera body and have the effect of decreasing the minimum focus distance (MFD) of any given lens. With most lenses, this gives you macro capabilities without needing to purchase a dedicated macro lens. At well under $100 for most extension tubes, it’s one of the most cost-effective ways to add a new type of photograph to your portfolio.
If you aren’t all that familiar with the other pros and cons of extension tubes, I suggest you read my previous guide to extension tubes. This will answer all the technical questions you might have.
For the EF Mount Canon designed their own extension tubes that worked with all EF lenses. Strangely, having launched the new RF Mount for full-frame mirrorless cameras, they have not created a set of OEM Canon RF extension tubes. Being a fan of extension tubes for my own work, I, therefore, set about trying to find the best Canon RF extension tubes on the market from third-party companies.
For the EF Mount, Kenko made the best third-party option and I have reviewed those in the past and compared them side-by-side with the OEM Canon EF extension tubes. However, Kenko does not make extension tubes for the RF mount so I had to look elsewhere. I’m glad that I did, though, because I then discovered the Fotodiox Pro Canon RF extension tubes.
Fotodiox makes a large range of camera accessories, including extension tubes, lens mount adapters and the Wonderpana filter holder that has been reviewed on this site in the past. If you dig into their catalogue of extension tubes you will see that there are several different designs for different mounts, that span several different price points. The “Pro” moniker on the end of this particular product indicates that it’s one of the higher-end styles of extension tubes that they make.
Sometimes I’m sceptical about products that actually use the word “Pro” in the name, but in this instance, Fotodiox manages to justify it. These RF extension tubes are exceptionally well made. In fact, I would say they are better than the original OEM Canon EF extension tubes. Seriously, they are built like tanks!
They have an all-metal construction, and that includes the mount. Machining tolerances are very good, with no play and wiggle to my RF lenses once attached to the tube and camera. This is a common issue with cheaper extension tubes, so it’s good to see the Fotodiox Pro tubes don’t suffer here. On the side of the tubes is a large metal lens release button that also works very well. It offers just the right amount of resistance to prevent accidental release, without feeling like you are damaging and fragile lens mounts.
The Fotodiox Pro RF extension tubes are available in either 15mm or 35mm sizes, with the latter version offering a considerably larger increase in subject magnification and change of MFD. View my article on how to calculate the new MFD of a lens when using an extension tube.
I’m pleased to say that I am absolutely thrilled by the quality of the Fotodio Pro RF extension tubes. At $79 each, they are on the higher end of the pricing scale for third-party extension tubes, but you absolutely get what you pay for. In my opinion, these are easily the best Canon RF extension tubes on the market. Perhaps one day Canon will make their own, but I can’t see how they could be any better than these ones, and they would undoubtedly be twice the price.
If you’re looking to do some macro photography with your EOS R mirrorless cameras and don’t want to buy a dedicated macro lens, this is the perfect solution.