I am an up, close and personal kind of girl. I can't tell you why, but I got really frustrated, before doing macro photography, because I could never get close enough! I don't have an eye for landscapes, though somedays I wish I had! I have a natural attraction for macro photography.
I started doing macro with the macro settings on my camera, it was nice and the details and images were clear. It may be okay for the occasional macro lover. But, it was not enough for me...
Taken with the camera's macro setting
So with a limited budget at the time, I started using macro filters, a set of 4, (x1, x2, x4, x10) for under 20$usd. It worked quite fine, you can add one on top of the other and get more magnification, but remember you will lose in light and in depth by doing so. You will need some practice to work with filters, because, like a magnifier, you will have to move back and forth with your lens to get a good focus, and you definitely want to work with manual focus. You also have to be closer to your subjects, so with bugs, it may be challenging. Here are photos taken with these filters, I was really pleased with the results, they were great for their price! I used them for as long as I waited for a real macro lens, and I can say I still love the photos I took with them. People could not believe they were taken with filters!
Taken with macro filters, and believe me, the first one is a fruit fly, and it's really really small...
Now that I own a real macro lens, I am really thrilled with the results! I use the Canon 100mm f/2.8 and LOVE it! The light is way better than with the filters, But, it's a heavy lens (a big one has benefits, like one of my
friends would say!) so if you want perfect sharp focus, a tripod is necessary. When you have the time to set it up, it's really worth it. Hand-held macros are more tricky, unless you have really steady hands. But sometimes it's more handy that way, and to tell you the truth, I like to be free to move around (yeah, I know, I like it really close, but then I need a lot of space, I'm complicated like that!) so I don't use my tripod as much as I should... As opposed to the filters, you can be at a certain distance from your subject, and you can choose to have a really close focus or not with the same lens, while with filters you would have to add/remove one each time you want to change your focus.
Both were taken with the Canon 100mm f/2,8