Closer – An MCEX-11 review

Not a macro photographer, not a macro photographer, not a macro photographer. But I need to try this!

Thats me in a nutshell. My disciplin prohibits, but my curiosity prevails. I guess this is a good thing, since expansion of skills is valuable to an extent. Whats great about todays photography world is that tech gives you limitless options. There’s an easy-to-grab way for every need, style and imagination.

Always a bit annoyed with the close-focus distance of many of my Fujinon lenses, though not as bad as the old Leica/Voigtlander rangefinder lenses, I saw the focus charts and thought this would be fun to try out. Little did I know, that this little tube would make my lenses so incredibly versatile.

The MCEX-11

The label says “made in china” – but this in no way takes away from the quality of the build. It’s built to the same standard as the Fujifilm Leica M to Fujifilm X-mount adapter. It has a perfect, tight fit, and it presents no give what-so-ever. It has electronic pass through, so AF-L, AE-L, Lens info and AF all works. Fujifilm made a set of two extension tubes the MCEX-11 and MCEX-16. I only bought the prior since I really don’t need that extra reach. I’ve read that they can be stacked, but Fujifilm doesn’t support this. I havn’t tried this myself…obviously.

I tried out the tube on the 14, 23, 27, 35 and 56 mm Fujinon XF primes. The quick and dirty on this row is as follows:

  • 14mm new close focus 3 mm – Maximum Macro – Maximum distortion at the edges.
  • 23mm new close focus 9 mm – Amazing performance, hardly any distortion
  • 56mm new close focus 30 cm – FINALLY I can fill a frame with half a face!

The 27 and 35 didn’t benefit that much from the MCEX-11 tube.

The 35mm already has acceptable close focus capabilities, but of course you can now go even closer. It surely doesn’t subtract from the lens at all 🙂

The 27mm doesn’t really work that well. To be honest the slow aperture of 2.8 makes it a bit hard to handhold with the one stop light loss from the MCEX-11. I didn’t bother testing it further. So no samples from this lens.

The 14mm gives you that very close focus, but it also really distorts the image. Cool effect galore, but not as clean a macro lens as the 23.

The 23mm

What an incredible close-up lens this turns into. Not much more to say. Focus speed and accuracy is maintained, and the light loss is about a stop. Nothing that will stir any problems. All my shots are handheld, so no problems there at all. This is now my macro lens for whenever I need to get really close.

The 56mm

Finally I can do close focus portraits without the need for cropping. At f/1.2 the DOF is so paper thin that it’s almost useless, but stopped down to f/2 it’s perfect. Dead sharp, and fast focus. Just like the 56mm I know and love. Just now with added capabilities. I only tested this in natural light. I didn’t have time to test in a studio setting. But I’m sure it will do amazingly.

Samples

The below samples are as per usual developed using various settings in Lightroom 5.7. I used the X-T1GS for all the images.


23mm + MCEX-11


35mm + MCEX-11


56mm + MCEX-11


Conclusion

The MCEX-11 will add a lot of versatility to your Fujinon XF prime lenses. Its well constructed, and feels like an integral part of the system. It isn’t exactly cheap, but its the real deal, and the fit is tight without breaking your connections. So if you want a bit of close-action fun, I can highly recommend this extension tube.

jr050680

17 thoughts on “Closer – An MCEX-11 review

  1. Nice insight and beautiful pictures as always. Can you actually recommend the MCEX11 (or 16) on the 35mm (the only lens I have so far) ?

  2. Finally no word from the 27mm ? Your pics are beautiful and the combo with the 23mm looks amazing ! I will try to get the 16mm version and test this out

    1. So sorry about that! I actually somehow forgot to put in the section about the 14 and the 27. It has now been fixed. The 27 really didn’t work for me at all! Thank you for reading.
      /J

  3. Great article…you are pushing me towards the purchase.

    Like you I own the mitakon lens turbo. Have you tried using this adapter with the lens turbo? Keep up the great work

    1. Hi Dino. Not yet actually. But it would actually be a great match to the MD-FX speedster and the Minolta MD 55mm f/1.7. I have used this lens with minolta extension tubes many times to great results. Should be interesting.

      Thank you for reading.

      /J

  4. i have the 35mm..hope to get it soon.. your photos always have that splendid visual contrast mixed with awesome sharpness . Colors are always so catchy .

  5. Nice review…I have the mcex11 and enjoy it…I find the 16 to be too much for my taste and find the 11 to be easier to work with…I use it on the 18-55 , the 55 – 200 and the 56 1.2…also that is a great tip to stop the 56 down to 2.0

  6. Hi Jonas, great review and really interesting! I am following you since one year and you are the best!
    Do you think I can use the mcex with the voigtlander 40mm f/1.4 + M-Mount adpter?
    I use the X-E2 with this lens (thanks to your full review of the voigtlander) but the 70cm of minimum close focus is not really good. So perhaps with the Mcex it would be better for close portrait?

    Thank you

  7. Thanks for the review.. interestingly enough, your findings and preference for the macro extension tube with lens combination is almost exactly opposite this reviewer’s.. who seem to prefer and feel the 27mm & 35mm are actually the most beneficial, where as you don’t think so.

    http://www.fujivsfuji.com/mcex-11-vs-mcex-16/

    Still good to get multiple points of views and make our own determination on whether these extension tubes will work for us or not. Thanks again.

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