Great review, thanks. This lens is on my wishlist.
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Hmmm, I don't think it's a question of extension tubes, there's something wrong with the camera or lens. Mine achieves 1:1 at about 30cm from the subject (using a 7D)...and can focus a bit closer tack sharp. Same subjects:
Less than 30% crop on both pics.
I am confused. The spec says the minimum focusing distance is 30 cm with a magnification of 1x. So can you state the problem again?