« on: September 15, 2013, 08:41:59 AM »
Depending on your patience you can start with something simple and cheap. Get some extension tubes (metal preferably) which costs around $10 (in USA). Plus get some old manual lenses from any manufacturer (canon, nikon, pentax etc) which has a aperture ring to control the aperture plus an adapter (without corrective optics) to put that lens on the extension tube (will be "manufacturer of the lens/mount of the lens" to EF adapter). The lens focal length should be around 50 or less. This lens should cost around $100 and the adapter another $10. This way you keep your initial cost under control. Then with your tripod and focusing rail try out your new macro set up. Remember couple of things
1. You will need plenty of lights (flash required most of the times).
2. You will always need to stop down that is why the need of the aperture ring.
3. The macro lens that you "building" this way (lens + adapter + tubes) will not be "flat-field".
4. The subject to lens front distance will be around 6 inches (so bug eye macro will be out of question).
Feel free to check my flickr account there are couple of macro photos that I took this way before I understood I really like macro.
But this way at a lower cost you can test the waters and see if you really like macro or not. If you find you really like macro then you can go ahead and buy true "flat-field" macro lenses where your choices are plentiful depending on your budget - 50mm(Canon), 60mm(Canon and Tamron), 70mm (Sigma), 90mm (Tamron), 100mm (Canon), 105mm (Sigma), 150mm (Sigma), 180mm (Sigma, Canon, Tamron). But remember one thing the longer the focal length of the macro lens the more distance you will have between front of lens and your subject. So for bugs and stuff the longer (and hence costlier) macro lenses are more suitable - 150 mm or 180mm. All macro lenses are great and sharp and all of them can be used as non-macro telephoto primes as well.