The total amount of extension you need in order to get to any given magnification depends on the focal length of the lens you are using. Notice that I say "total" extension; it does not matter how you gain the extension -- some could be added by using extension tubes, some could be in the focusing mount of the lens -- since the entire amount being used is what is important. A basic formula gives approximate magnification rates:
Total extension used / Focal length used = Magnification
If you want to photograph at 1/2x with a 50mm lens, you can see that you need 25mm of total extension. But on a 100mm lens, the same 25mm total extension yields only 1/4x, and on a 200mm lens it yields 1/8x. Any given amount of extension yields less magnification when used with a longer focal-length lens.