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.