One of my most frustrating experiences in my photographic work was buying a macro lens. I thought, that everything will be worth a shot, when you get close enough. To make things short: NO. 

Just to name a few problems you will run into, when you begin with macro photography:

  • The very little depth of field will drive you crazy. Just to frame your object correctly you will have to be very precise in focussing. Also you will most likely need some sort of focus stacking software for all standstill objects.
  • If you close the aperture too much (to get a higher depth of field) you will get to know totally new optical effects you never heard before. (Just google “Diffraction”)
  • Even with a good macro lens you will only get into 1:1 scale which means: No, you will not be able to see as much as you expected. 
  • The closer you get the more you see that you do not want to show. That means: In macro scale every little piece of dust looks awful. And last but not least: Every objects seams to be covered in rancid fat. 

So assume my following shots rather as experiments and not as final work. 
Because some guys asked: I used the Nikkor 105 f/2.8 Micro and the Nikkor 60 f/2.8 Micro lenses for all the photos. I also did some attempts with retro-rings and close focus lenses but the results were not worth to be shown. 

A frog’s eye. (60mm) 
Firefly (105mm)

To achieve a higher factor of magnification I used an extension bellows attachment to my Nikon. If you want to buy one on your own: I highly recommend the tools from Novoflex. When I was younger I did a lot of work with some cheap Taiwan/China copies but they all lost their silkiness after a short period of time. I can’t emphasize this more: This is the most annoying thing that can happen to your bellows! When the rubber is getting brittle every movement of the bellow causes little holes at the edges that will ruin every photo. 

The next two captures were made with my bellows and the Nikkor 60mm f/2.8
Please be also aware that I had to stop down the lens quite a bit (and did a lot of post processing to get rid of all the diffraction effects) and had to lighten up the scene with two Elinchrom 500 Watts studio flashlights which were set to full power. 

The macro structure of a butterfly wing: 

An almost photographic cliché: Some peppercorns on a black slate plane.