A few weeks ago, I asked Dave (dmwphoto) to do some comparisons between his 70-200VR plus the 500D and his 200 micro. To paraphrase his response, he said that the VR / 500D was a great combo, but was not nearly as easy to use as the 200 micro. At the time, I didn't understand how the difference could be so significant, since I have used the former with little difficulty recently. Well this weekend at the Nikoncafe picnic, I discovered for myself exactly what he was trying to point out. The first stop at the picnic was the butterfly house at the botanical gardens. I set up my tripod, D2H, and 70-200VR with the 500D. After some considerable efforts, I was not able to get a single shot off with this combination. The problem was that the VR / 500D just has too limited a working focus range. Time after time, I saw a likely subject, positioned the tripod (not easy when you have to be within 12 to 18 inches of the subject), only to have the target butterfly leave long before I could even think about getting a focus lock. Now it is true that hand held, this combo might work OK, but with a DOF of much less than 1/10th inches, I have no hope of hand holding this set-up. As a point of contrast, another Cafe member had his 70-180 micro lens and was kind enough to let me shoot with it for a little while (thanks Meril ;-)). What a difference. I could get close, but I could also shoot from 19 inches, 27 inches, or 90 inches. The point being that I was not restricted to an extremely narrow working depth, so I was able to get off many decent shots. Does that mean that the VR / 500D is no good? Of course not. It does mean that it has application only when the subject ain't going to move anytime soon, and that you can comfortably get within the required working distance. Under those conditions, it can produce superb results. As a field macro lens though, based on my experience, it has limited range of applicability. I really wanted this combo to work. I really don't want to spend $1,000+ on a macro-only lens. I'm not giving up yet though. I like the 70-200VR so well that I'm going to try a set of Kenko extension tubes. Maybe this will be the answer, maybe not, but the only way to know for sure is to give them a try. I did want to let everyone here know about my results though, especially since I have been pushing the VR / 500D combo so hard here on this forum. If you are relatively strong (the D2H + 70-200VR + 1.7TC that I was using + the 500D weighs in at over 10 lbs), and have very, very steady hands, you may be able to use this combo hand held. I can't.