I took John Shaw's Nature Photography Field Guide along on a recent trip and read it a couple of times. It's chock full of valuable information and worth every penny.
In the section on macro lenses he discusses an alternative to buying a dedicated macro lens (or lugging one along if you own it). You would certainly have the best optics and quality using Nikon's 200mm, thirteen hundred dollar, three and a half pound macro lens. On the other hand he suggests that you can get pretty good results by using an inexpensive (under fifty bucks) close-up converter on your existing zoom lens (200 or 300mm). (note: he probably doesn't use a hundred dollar 70-300mm)
There are two recommended close-up adaptors: the Nikon 5T and 6T. He recommends the 5T as it has more than enough magnification while still retaining good image quality. I figured that putting a 6T on a cheaper 300mm zoom might be asking for trouble.
If you are working with Canon lenses (or even a larger Nikon lens with 72mm thread) you might consider the dual element Canon 500T in 58mm, 72mm, and 77mm. The 77mm 500D works great on Nikon's 70-200mm f2.8 VR lens.
First thing you'll notice when you get the 5T is that it's a hefty little unit. The online photos make it look like a filter, but it really is a serious hunk of glass (actually two elements). Once attached to the 70-300mm lens the focus range, which was 4 feet to infinity, becomes 16 inches to 28 inches.
And the small becomes large...
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