I love my Kenko extension tubes, and I keep them in my photo bag at all times. They are great, but somewhat cumbersome in everyday use: you have to detach the lens, add a tube, and put the lens back. This may not sound like a complicated procedure, but it takes time and there is always the risk of getting dust on the sensor.
In my search for a more convenient solution, I stumbled upon the Raynox DCR-250 Super Macro conversion lens. At first sight, it looks a bit like those cheap and useless close-up filters you can find on eBay, but it’s most definitely not. Raynox DCR-250 consists of three high-quality coated elements in two groups that provide +8 diopters magnification.
The quality of the glass seems to be top-notch (I don’t have a dedicated macro lens for comparison) and the lens produces pleasing results. DCR-250 comes with a clever snap-on adapter for lens sizes from 52mm to 67mm. Attaching Raynox DCR-250 to the lens is as easy and fast as putting a lens cap on. The price is right, too, so Raynox DCR-250 is an excellent solution for macro shooting on the cheap.
There is one thing you should keep in mind, though: the lens has a razor thin depth of field, so you must use a steady tripod to get sharp photos. While you can get away with shooting handheld with Kenko tubes, it’s virtually impossible to do that with Raynox DCR-250.
Of course, Raynox DCR-250 won’t replace a dedicated macro lens, but it’s the next-best thing you can get. It’s not expensive, it produces excellent results, and it’s extremely convenient — what’s not to like?