As many of you know, I've been looking for the right set-up for a macro lens. I've posted several images shot with the 70-200VR + 500D, and had good results. The problem with this combo is that it has a very limited working distance range (about 10 - 18 inches). Last week, I got a set of Kenko extension tubes (12, 20, 36), but was not totally thrilled with the results of using these with the 70-200VR. I have been extremely fortunate to gain access to three true macro lenses, courtesy of fellow Cafe members Patrick Bramlett and Muril Robertson, including the Tamron 90, the Nikon 70-180, and the Nikon 200 AF. I ran these through a series of evaluation shots tonight, just to get an idea of how they might perform in the field. NOTE: These are nowhere near scientific tests!! They are just my effort to compare the lenses in the way that I might use them. I think that the results might be interesting to others that are also looking for the best deal in a macro lens. These shots were all taken with my D2H, using two floods and my SB-800, all but the Tamron 90 on my tripod and Wimberley head (the 90 has no lens foot). My simple methodology was to position each combination at the closest lens focusing distance. With the 70-200VR combinations, this was about 10 - 12 inches. With the Tamron 90, it was about 4 - 6 inches. The 200 micro distance was about 8 - 12 inches. The cool thing about the macro lenses was that I could have backed off as much as necessary to frame a larger subject. This is much less an option with the 70-200VR combos. I have arranged them in the order that I think I would rank them in. See what you think. Note that these are shots of the flowers of what I call monkey grass. Each of the little purple balls is between 1 and 2 mm (0.04 to 0.08 inches). Each of these shots is a 900 x 600 crop from the original image. 70-200VR + 36mm Extension Tube: 70-200VR + 500D: 70-200VR + 1.7 TC + 500D: Nikon 70-180: Tamron 90: These next images were all from the Nikon 200 micro. They are all great, just with either no extension tube, or with one or more tubes. Nikon 200 Micro: With 12mm Tube: With 20mm Tube: With 36mm Tube: With all 3 Tubes: IMHO, the Nikon 200 micro just blows away the competition. This is no surprise, and is just confirmation of what several Cafe members have already told me based on their experience with this lens. In addition to having the greatest working distance, giving a 1:1 reproduction ratio at 19.5 inches, it was by far the easiest to focus. I had trouble getting a good focus with several of the other combinations, especially with the 70-200VR combos. The real surprise to me was the Tamron 90 macro lens. It was closest to the 200 micro, and is about 35 - 40% the cost. The only real drawback of this lens is the working distance which is about 1/3 that of the 200 micro. If you are on a limited budget, it certainly bears consideration. Again, this is certainly not a scientific test. Camera shake, poor technique, and other factors are certainly involved, but hopefully this gives some useful information to those of you that are struggling with this decision.