GET ME A MACRO LENS…NOW!!!

Just when I think I’m going with a longer zoom lens for my next purchase, I come upon a scene like this.  A scene where I believe I’ve capture that rare shot – but oh no, I DON’T HAVE A MACRO LENS!!!  And since I have no macro lens, I’m restricted to capturing that same spectacular shot with the best thing I have – which happened to be a 28-135 mm zoom.  And even though it has the word “MACRO” stamped right on the focal settings of the lens – it’s not a macro lens.  And because it’s not a macro lens, I’ve managed to turn a spectacular shot into an ordinary shot without the detail I really crave!

At any rate, I thought I’d go ahead and share them with you.  Maybe if you squint and use your imagination, you will see the magnificent detail that was there – but not captured.

On a recent day trip to the nearby mountains, I came upon a bed of foliage that looked very interesting to me.  The way it was colored and textured was very intriguing, even drawing me to it.  Upon closer examination, I noticed I was not the only one drawn here.  I colorful little ladybug had decided to spend the day meandering from plant to plant, as well.

However, when he noticed me he scurried to the center of the stem.  “Oh no you don’t!”  He said.  “You’re not going to take my picture!”  Upon uttering those words, he proceeded to bury his tiny head deep into the stem.  It was his way of hiding from me – obviously taken from the hide-and-seek playbook of the ostrich!

(1)

After a few minutes he must have felt it was time to make a run for it.  He quickly retreated to another plant and began to run to the top of the stem.  No doubt he was hoping to outrun this annoying little black box with its unfamiliar clicking sounds.

(2)

Upon reaching the top of the plant, he prepares for his well-planned getaway!

(3)

And, here’s the shot that I think would have been pretty amazing with a good macro lens!  I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a lady bug with its wings fully spread ready for flight, like this.  The detail of the wings is magnificent!  Oh wait, you can’t see that because I HAVE NO MACRO LENS!  Squint…imagine…detail, detail!

(4)

In trying to enhance the detail, I’ve over-sharpened to no avail.  Oh well, all in due time.  I’m sure one day a macro lens will come my way.

FRIDAY FAVORITES UPDATE: Unfortunately, I failed to devise a way for you to vote for your favorite shot of the previous week to be posted in the Friday Favorites post.  So with that in mind, I have numbered each photo in this post and will continue to do so throughout the upcoming week.  This will enable you to simply respond with the number of your favorite.

Your comments are always a welcome part of this blog.  In fact, I consider them to be vital!  If you can offer some temporary help with my close-up shots, please post a comment with your ideas.  I’ve heard of extension tubes and magnification filters, but I’m unsure if they work with every lens and how well they capture the desired detail.  I currently have a Canon 50D with a 50mm prime lens and a 28-135mm zoom.  Are you the one with a solution?

Thanks for stopping by.

PS: Let me just add a post script here.  Several people have offered comments that have been extremely helpful.  So, let me encourage you to browse the comments in this post.  Bob has added some very helpful information.  And, Lynda (pixelated2) has added a couple of links to some helpful information from her blog.  There are others that have made important contributions, as well – so, check out the comments.

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~ by photographyfree4all on August 27, 2010.

63 Responses to “GET ME A MACRO LENS…NOW!!!”

  1. What camera and set-up aare you using??

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  2. Hi Bob. Thanks for your question which I hope will be followed by a comment after I reply. 🙂 I’m using a Canon 50D, with two lenses – a 50mm prime and a 28-135mm zoom. For these shots, I was using the 28-135mm zoom. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I just recently played with a macro lens and I totally want one now too!! I love getting real close with my camera and I’m often finding I can’t quite get close enough… I think it’s going to be my next purchase (Canon 100mm macro lens).

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  4. The instruction I got from Olympus for my zoom/macro lens was set the camera to portrait or nature/close ups (its a flower on my dial) then to stand about 4 or 5 feet away from the subject and zoom in. Again on my camera, I press the shutter button half way and let the camera focus on my subject, then I wait for the perfect shot and complete the pressure on my shutter button. There are times with a moving target that I have to keep readjusting the focus but I usually come away with a good shot. When I get home I download it and crop the subject to allow me to get exactly what I want in the finished picture.

    It is not as handy as a true macro lens, but with practice it can give you very clear results! Look here: http://pixilatedtoo.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/a-garden-sprite/

    and here: http://pixilatedtoo.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/working-in-macro-trying-to-master-a-new-skill/olympus-digital-camera-26/

    I hope you don’t mind my sharing my photos here, but if you don’t want to post them, at least you will see how the process I described turns out.

    I hope this helped you! ~ Lynda
    P.S. the plant is definitely a sage! Where exactly did you find it? 😀

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  5. Thanks for your very helpful comment, Lynda. And, I’m happy to post the links to your blog. That’s what I really hope this site can become – a place where we can share information and tips that allow all of us to grow in our passion for photography. I have taken similar steps as you described and achieved pretty good results as you can see here and here. I think because my subject was so tiny, it made it very difficult to get the detail even using this process. Or, at least I wasn’t able to capture it this time. I just think I’m looking for detail that can only come with some additional magnification. But until that happens, I will use your helpful steps to get as close as possible with what I have. Thanks so much for your comment here! Stop by again, soon.

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  6. Just wanted to stop by and say I appreciate your photos all the same. =)

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  7. Thanks for this information, nell. I’ve heard the Canon 100mm macro is one of the best! But, oh so expensive! I do love the detail, though. And believe me, I think that lens would definitely do it! Thanks for contributing to this post. I really appreciate it. I hope you’ll stop by again.

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  8. As you can see from my blog equipment page, I am over-run with lenses. One of my favorites it the Tamron 90mm macro. It is 1:1 ratio life-size macro. I can fill up the frame with a dime. The price isn’t sky high like all of my L-series lenses. But……………having said that. If you make sure that you use ONLY the center focus point on your 50D, then get that focus point on that bug, then zoom to the closest that your 28-135mm lens will you, then you should get a good image. With the megapixels that you have you can then crop a little closeer even. I shoot aperture priority (AV).

    Does your 28-135 have IS?? If not, make sure you use a higher shutter speed, because trying to hand-hold and focus on a tiny subject can be touchy,even with IS. Because if that focus point strays off target just a little it, you will have a blurred image. I had a 28-135 IS lens once and I loved it.

    I’m not real expert, but I did stay at a Holiday Express last night. Kidding, kidding. 🙂 Seriously, I’d like to help you out if I can.

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  9. I am no photography expert but would love to be, and am loving this blog. I think the photos are lovely by the way

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  10. Thank you, Barb! I’m so glad you made a comment like this one. Not because it offered a compliment, but because I want people to know they can conribute even with a short and direct comment. I hope you’ll continue to stop by!

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  11. Bob! Your comedic side is beginning to show! I love that! I do believe my focal point may have strayed on some of these shots, probably because the ladybug was rarely stationary. My 28-135mm does have IS, but I was hand holding the camera. I do believe I had boosted my shutter speed because of the movement. I was shooting in TV mode. Bob, I love your interaction. Thanks! Oh, does your Tamron 90mm macro have stabilization?

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  12. Thanks for stopping by and adding this comment, allithoughtabout… I really like the direction this blog is taking. Everyone seems to be willing to bring their ideas into the mix via their comments – which is fantastic! I’m certainly no expert, either. But keep stopping by and we’ll both learn!

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  13. No, my Tamron lens doesn’t have image stabilization. It is too old for that, I guess. It does have auto-focus of course, but I need to rely on steady hands and fast shutter speeds. Frankly, I don’t use it a lot anymore for anything moving. It is nice for flowers, etc., when I can also use a tripod if I want. I’ll probably go for one of the Canon L-macro some day.

    I will say that I can do very well with my Canon 100-400mm AF IS zoom lens. I use it 90 percent of the time. If you look at my butterflies images those were taken with that lens. Also the hummingbird a few days ago. With the 18 megapixels in my 7D’s I get a very large file. It makes it easier to crop and produce great closeups.

    I might recommend a neat software I came across. It is called Focus Magic. Sells for 45.00 for a download. If you have a good image you like, but is just a little out of focus, you improve the picture a lot with this. Easy to use. I think it is at Focusmagic.com. If not you can google it and find their site. It won’t work miracles, but I have saved many an image that I may have otherwise trashed.

    One more thing, (I am on a roll here). My forte is wildlife photography, and for that I use only the single center point that I mentioned above. If you’re shooting birds and animals, put that center point on the eye. That’s important. If you see a photo of an animal and the eye is in focus, every theng else falls into place. If the eye is out of focus, the whole looks blurred.

    Okay, that’s my lesson for today. If you have problems, take two pictures and call me in the morning. 🙂

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  14. P.S. when I mention single center point, I am talking about the center focus point. Sorry.

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  15. Thanks, Bob! You are on a roll today! I have seen your shots and they are pretty amazing! Well done! And, thanks for the software information. I’ll definitely check that out. You have really helped with this post, Bob! Thanks. And, you humor has been refreshing.

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  16. You’re welcome. I enjoy talking photography to whoever wants to listen. Glad I can help. I will be expecting great things from you now.

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  17. Those plants are so pretty–no wonder you were drawn to them. They remind me of Silver Maples and Labrador tea all in one.

    I sure would like a macro lens, too–it’s what I plan to get next for my camera (after a tripod, that is). But, I might try Pixilated’s advice, even though mine is a Canon. I noticed that the different settings seem to work uniquely in various situations. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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  18. I really hope you don’t mind, but I would like to know if Bob has a website that we could all take a look at too. His comments are amazingly helpful (and entertaining)! Thanks! ~ Lynda

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  19. I don’t mind at all, Lynda. I’m not sure if his blog is linked to his comment. That makes it easy if it is. If not, hopefully he’ll respond directly to you. If neither of those work, I’ll be able to connect you when I’m back at my laptop. I’m mobile right now. Glad to help!

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  20. I’m glad you jumped in here, Heather! This has been a good mix of information. These plants were uniquely beautiful. U hope you get that macro. Thanks for your comment!

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  21. Hi again, have pixilated2 contact me at my blog http://bobzeller.wordpress.com. Or my e-mail address is bobzeller1@aol.com. Hope you don’t mind passing this along. Maybe we can all help each other.

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  22. this is awesome!! your pictures are so pretty!! i love it!

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  23. By the way, how do I link my blog to comments?

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  24. Had a blast reading this post. With your 50D an EF 100mm macro lens would make you a happy camper but bobzeller’s comment will do the trick.

    Based on this one post alone you got my attention for more =)

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  25. Thanks for your kind words mdee. That lens is definitely the Cadilac of lenses! I hope you’ll stop by again, soon.

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  26. Thanks, ume! I’m glad you stopped by and left a comment! I hope you’ll stop back soon. The comments here contain some great information for everyone.

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  27. Bob, you’ve been such a great source of information today! I believe you can submit a comment that includes your blog URL using the link button on the comment page. I hope that helps.

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  28. Neat, I use my zoom lens as a MACRO too or I just get closer. I like your shots, sometimes the unintended are often the most interesting and worth showing off. Thanks for sharing. I like the compositions you have here in these photos.

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  29. Thanks for your comment Martina! I appreciate your kind words! I use my zoom too, but I dream of a macro lense in my future! I’m glad you stopped by! I hope you’ll come by again, soon.

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  30. Just and FYI – The MACRO lens I have is a SIGMA 105mm f2.8. It is awesome. In case you decide to get one. I don’t always use it though.

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  31. Thanks for giving us this information, Martina. I appreciate knowing that someone is happy with a particular lens. It all helps in the selection process.

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  32. Thank you for your kind words on my blog post. 🙂 Nice shots of the ladybug, too! 🙂

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  33. Nice photos and excellent comments! this is why blogs with a community are always a good thing 🙂

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  34. You’re right – there is a lot of excellent info here. Thank you for that. I wish I could contribute but I’m just learning and I’m managing with my Nikon 18-55mm kit lens. When I get a half-decent macro – http://www.flickr.com/photos/cindy_k/4693363187/in/set-72157622984461033/ – it’s simply by sheer luck! Both a zoom and a macro are on my wish list, of course!

    #4 is a wonderful image, super clarity isn’t necessary here, IMHO. The blurring gives a wonderful feeling of a thrilling instant in time and the composition is perfect.

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  35. I really agree, Michael. This has been a great sharing of helpful information. Thanks for your comment. I hope you’ll stop by again.

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  36. Macro or not, I really like the fourth shot. I don’t have a macro lens myself, but I’ve heard very good things about the Tamron 90mm.

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  37. Thanks for your comment and kind words, Journey. I’ve heard great things about that lens as well. And, probably less expensive than the Canon. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll come by again.

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  38. Thank you for your comment and kind words, missusk76. The last shot was an interesting shot to capture because the ladybug was never completely motionless. Only milliseconds after this shot, he was in flight. I think that may explain some of the fuzziness. I was shooting with a rather fast shutter speed, because of the movement. I appreciate your shot that is found at the link you posted. It’s a very good example of what you can capture without a macro lens. You can get very good shots! Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll come back, soon.

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  39. Thank you for your comment, Eskai! I’m glad you stopped by and spent some time here. I hope you scanned some of the comments. They’ve been very helpful. I hope you’ll come back soon.

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  40. Okay, I finally got my blog linked to my comments. So, come on, world, here I am. 🙂

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  41. Thanks, Bob!

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  42. Yes, that is a white sage. I think you did a great job on the shots, given what you have. I have never used the pre-sets on my Nikon D-90, but after reading pixelated’s comment re the close-up flower setting, I am going to go try it now!

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  43. Thanks for your comment, Kate. I agree, I have never used the preset either. I’ve only had this camera a few months. I usually shoot in AV mode. Sometimes TV. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll come back soon.

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  44. […] you haven’t read yesterday’s post, you should click here to see it.  When you read it, make sure you browse the comments (they contain a wealth of […]

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  45. These photos are so beautiful, I never would have guessed they weren’t taken with a macro lens. I do adore mine and wouldn’t give it up for the world, but it looks like you’re still doing pretty darn good without. 😉

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  46. Thanks for your comment BitterSweet! I’m glad you stopped by. I would be interested to know what macro lens you have and the camera you use. I’m contemplating a macro purchase and really could use any information you may be able to contribute. I just posted some information about close-up filters and extension tubes, too. If you have any experience with either of these, I hope you’ll share a comment on that post. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll come back soon.

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  47. loving reading this site! if any of you ever have other questions about equipment or editing or anything else I’m here to help too! =)

    bridgetmcenaney.wordpress.com

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  48. Thanks for your comment, Bridget. I’m glad so many are stepping up to offer their experience and expertise. If you have any information about close up filters or extension tubes for macro shots, I would love it if you could share a comment about that on my latest post. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll be back soon!

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  49. thanks for the great and insightful discussion. i also have been dying to get my hands on a macro lens but until then I am stuck with my 18-55 canon lens. that being said I still try my hand at some macro photography. these are two of my favorite macro shots i have taken thus far.

    http://glowinphotos.wordpress.com/2010/07/27/the-smaller-things/

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  50. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your comment, Glowin! That grasshopper is really a good shot! Did you shoot and crop to get that close? I’ve nearly always had to crop in order to get the close-up I really want. Then I do lose some of my detail. But, your shot seems to have retained the clarity. Great job! I hope you’ll stop by again, soon. I’ll be posting more about this as I experiment with various methods of magnification.

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  51. Before I got my 105mm F/2.8G Nikkor macro, I felt as you do in this post! I wanted to get CLOSER and simply couldn’t. My macro lens opened up a whole new world for me.

    Have you looked into extension tubes? These are not expensive and usually come in sets that, on some lenses, can be used together to let you get closer than you ever thought possible! They contain no optics but merely decrease your minimum focussing distance so you can fill your frame with the subject. I have the Kenko 3-ring set that works very well with my Nikkor lenses.

    With all that said, your shots above are good EXCEPT I can see that you had toruble maintaining focus on the ladybug. With macro shots, you need to get comfortable with manual focus so that you can control the main focus point on a moving subject and not rely on the camera’s AF system which will want to change constantly.

    I love the third shot with the wings open. You definitely have a talented eye!

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  52. I actually did no cropping of the grasshopper. somehow i was able to get right in his face with my lens without him hopping away. he was a great subject! i guess until i get a lens which allows me to shoot from a distance, i will keep getting up close and personal with my macro subjects.

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  53. This is great information, Milkay! Thanks for joing this conversation. I think the ladybug was just so very small it compounded the situation, as well as the focus issue. I really think I would focus and then move slightly before I fired the shot causeing the blur. the critter was not cooperating either. I hope you’ll stop by again, soon.

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  54. Ha! I think you’ll realize they rarely do!

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  55. Well, that explains why you haven’t lost any quality in the detail. When you can shoot that close and bypass the cropping, it has to produce a better result. Thanks for the information, Glowin. I’m sure everyone here appreciates it. Stop by again.

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  56. I felt the same as you until I purchased my 60mm macro lens. It took me a while to figure out the focusing, but now I’m hooked. You won’t regret buying a prime lens!

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  57. Thanks for posting this information, Pearls. I think if I were to purchase a macro, this would probably be the one. For one thing, they sau with my 50D this lens could also be used as a very nice portrait lens. I do love the close-ups, so I’m guessing there’s a macro in my future. But, until then I may try the filters or extensions. If I do, I’ll be sure to post what I think. Thanks for stopping by!

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  58. I’m late to the party here, but I enjoy macro photography myself. Have you thought about renting a lens? I rented a Canon 100mm this past spring a few times and LOVED it! It took my photography to a whole new level. There are places all over the country that offer a mail order rental system; even better if they are in your town. It’s a great way to test a variety of lenses before you buy. I shot an enormous amount of pictures during my rental period, it will take me through December to process them all! I also have determined a fixed lens rather than a zoom lens is best for me because I require sharpness in one area of the photograph and blur in the fore or background for my flower macro shots. http://juliescamera.wordpress.com

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  59. Amazing pictures love them all. Looking forward to my next visit again.
    Have great day and have fun with your camera.
    Jacqueline

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  60. I’m having a blast with my camera! Thanks for your kind words here, Jacqueline. I hope you’ll stop by again, soon.

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  61. I have thought about renting a lens, Julie. There’s a place in Costa Mesa that rents them. I thought I might try one for a weekend. And, there’s another Camera Store in Newport Beach that will allow me to use any lens they have in and around their store to help me decide which lens to buy. Thanks for sharing this information. That’s what this blog is all about – people sharing their experiences and expertise so we can all grow in our photography! Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll come back soon.

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  62. A macro lens is on my list too as well as all the rest.. the list doesn’t ever end!

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  63. Thanks for your comment, thills123. I’m caught between a macro or a new zoom – I need both! I’m trying out some close-up filters right now, but I’m not sure I’m going to be satisfied with them. Time will tell. Ideally, if they will work I can purchase the new zoom and then get the macro later. I hope you’ll stop by again and add to our discussions. Thanks!

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