I own a D60, a Nikkor 18-55mm 3.5-5.6G AF-S DX, a Nikkor 55-200mm 4-5.6G AF-S DX, a Nikkor 300mm F4D AF-S. and a TC 14E II 1.4x.
When doing previous macro work, especially for butterflies, I used a film camera Pentax ZX-7, a Pentax 50 mm 1.4, and a Vivatar 2x macro teleconverter. I was extremely happy with the results of that rig. But I would prefer to stay away from film, and use my D60 as a starting point for a new macro set-up.
I need advice as to what lens set-up with my D60 will be as effective, if not more so, than my old Pentax rig.
Does someone make a conversion ring to put a vivatar lens/pentax base on a D60? Conversely, are there other options for cheap money? Like a Vivatar 2x macro teleconverter with a Nikon base? Or bypassing the macro-teleconverter entirely, and using a a Nikkor prime? I can live with VR or no Vr. I can also live with AF-S or manual. I'm still pretty new to Nikon lenses, so the more specific you can be, the better. I would also be very interested in seeing some posted butterfly photographs of yours that used a D60 and a specific Nikon rig.
This was shot with the same lens you have. The 18-55mm on a D40. It is cropped, but held up well. Otherwise, the Sigma 150mm macro is a nice lens for insects. It gets you some working distance, and is pretty sharp for not a whole lot of $$
Shot that a while back. I'm sure it was zoomed all the way in, and at whatever minimum focus is for that lens. I have found both the 18-55 and 55-200 lenses to be really nice lenses. Not expensive, but very nice.
Thanks for the advice. I took out my 300 F4 for the first time today. It's definitely the heaviest lens I've ever used. I shot three hours without a tripod. Results weren't too bad, but I will most likely start using a tripod 75% of the time. Because most of my macro work is almost entirely butterflies, my 300 F4 won't see too much macro use, as the insects I photograph require me to be pretty mobile. But I'm sure that times will come up when I'm shooting birds, and a butterfly will come out of nowhere. At that moment I'll remember what you said, and give it a shot.
Yes, the 300mm is a little big. Your 55-200mm with a Canon 500D close-up diopter would work OK, too, especially at the long end of the zoom. I know you liked the 50mm plus Vivitar converter, but I think other options would give you better image quality. Converters are usually best with longer focal lengths, anyway. Even if there is an "adapter" to use your Vivitar, you would most likely be without metering.
Many thanks for the further clarification. I think I'll head over to one of Boston's bigger camera stores with some of my stuff and with your advice, and see what they can show me. I'll let you know how everything worked out.
There are a number of ways to do close-up photography. I would start with the Micro, Macro & Close-up Photography Discipline series of articles. They cover camera stability, focusing, close-up lens attachments, extension tubes, macro lenses, reversing rings, bellows, and focusing rails.