While a few purists still use film cameras, most photographers have turned to the digital side. Aside from the fact that you get instant feedback and don't have to purchase rolls of film and lug them around everywhere you go, digital cameras -- for reasons we discussed earlier -- are suited to macro nature photography. You don't have to spend a bundle on one, either, although you can. A point and shoot with adjustable settings will get you started for less than $200, but if you want really professional shots, you'll need to move up to a DSLR. A higher quality small sensor camera, such as a Canon EOS, will run about $500. Of course, if you really want to go all out, you can spend $2,000 or more on a top of the line model for your macro nature photography.
More important than the camera are the lenses. Be sure to choose macro lenses, not macro zoom lenses, because the magnifying power of macro zoom lenses is not high enough for macro nature photography. To use them, you would have to get so close that you would interfere with your subject. Good 1:1 macro lenses sell for around $500. You can get lenses that shoot at a 5:1 ration for about $1,400. Choose the lens you need based on the distance from which you'll be shooting. Remember, the farther away you'll be, the longer lens you'll need.
Another way to increase magnification is by increasing the distance between the lens and the sensor with extension tubes or even a bellows. These have no optical components. Extensions can be used in conjunction with reversing rings, which allow a regular lens to be turned around and fitted onto the camera body backward. The reversed lens will magnify the subject, in some cases up to four times its normal size.
Auxiliary close-up rings are simple screw-on adapters attached to the camera's lens. They provide magnification and allow the camera to get closer to the subject. Lighting is a problem in the close confines of macro nature photography, and some photographers find that a ring flash attached to the front of the lens can be helpful to replace some of the light lost in such close-up situations.
But perhaps more important than the equipment you use in macro nature photography are the techniques you employ. Keep reading to discover some tips that will have you staring into the face of nature.