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NOTE: Consider any comments I make here, as “just my opinion”; but they are based on actual experience, not second hand information. ___ Enjoy . . .
Extension tubes are an inexpensive way to shoot close-ups. They are simply hollow tubes that mount between a camera body and a lens. They contain no optics to degrade an image, but they normally have electrical contacts that permit the camera and lens to communicate . . . set aperture and focus.
A set of tubes, usually three of varying lengths, weigh far less than a macro lens, and cost FAR less.
I use longer lenses with them, around 200 mm or more. All my lenses are zooms, and I find them suitable.
Lens to subject distances are far greater than when using macro lenses which is good for shooting critters that would not hang around if you had to place your camera within a couple inches of them. Extensions tubes allow shooting distances of 2 feet or more, which means many critters will ignore the camera, and you won’t be bumping into plants and waiting for them to settle down before taking a shot.
It also allows panning about a bush full of flowers from a single camera position.