Hello my friends,
Everybody knows that an expensive Nikkor micro and a couple of R2 flashes will produce astonishing macro photography - but you'll lose the wife once she sees the credit card bill.
Therefore, I found an inexpensive yet powerful macro combination for Nikon DX cameras: the kit 18-55VR lens + Zeikos AF extension tube set (model ZE-CVAFN for Nikon, ZE-CVAFC for Canon mount).
I know extension tubes are nothing new, but the difference about these ones is that they allow autofocus and provide distance information: 100% of the camera features continue to work.
The bee picture was taken in "P" mode, natural light, and a single 12mm extension tube before the 18-55VR kit lens (D5000 body). Note the pollen grain on the bee's eye! I spent less than US$75 on the extension tubes, coupled them with the D5000, and that was it.
The ladybug is even smaller (measures less than 1cm), so I used the hole 70mm extension tube set (12 + 20 + 36), a SB600 flash hand held to the upper left side (about 10 cm away in wireless CLS mode) and a D7000.