Close-up or Macro ?

This is a question that is easy to be answered, from a technical point of view.
For most people, including me in the beginning of my photography career, everything near to my lense was a macro. But if you dive deeper into the matter, you will soon realize, that close-up and macro are not the same.
A photo with a magnification of 1:1 or x:1 is a "real" macro, a photo with a magnification of 1:2 or 1:x is "only" a close-up. Normally, I do not often reach the 1:1 magnification especially not when taking pictures of insects (they tend to move normally :-) ).
Many lenses have the word "macro" added to their specifications, but technically, they are no real macro-lenses, but they are quite suitable to take very nice close-ups of dragonflies, birds or other lager insects or animals.
So, when I talk about macros, I am normally talking about close-ups.

Here we go...

When I started with photography a few years ago,  I owned a Braun Point-and-Shoot camera. Soon the capabilities of the camera were not matching my expectations.
So I bought a new one, still a Point-and-Shoot, but a really nice one. It was a Sony Cybershot DCS-S730.
With this camera I started to try the macro-mode. Unfortunately I crashed the display of the camera after a year, so I had to by again a new one.
This time a wanted a "real" one: a D-SLR. The decision which one to buy was quite time consuming, but after double-checking my budget I decided to go for the  Olympus EVOLT-E420II Dual Lens Kit (14-42MM & 40-150MM).
Until now I did not really regret my decision. Of course there are better cameras with more Mega Pixels and a lot of other features which come in quite handy when you take marcos, like image stabilizing, but the E-420 is a very light and compact D-SLR which in addition to this produces excellent images.
The list of possible accessories which you desire and which you of course need immediately is quite long when you got infected by the D-SLR virus. Here not the sky is the limit but the budget.
My list started with a macro lens, a macro flash, a light but stable tripod etc. etc. .
After reconciling my budget I opted for a set of close-up lenses and a cheep tripod which was light but not very stable. One of my first tries is this one:
I took this one with my 150mm lens and I think with the +10 Diopter. I will write about my experiences with the close-up lenses in a seperate post.

After a year of trying with the close-up lenses I decided to go for a macro lens, the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Medium Telephoto Macro Lens for Olympus and Panasonic SLR Cameras . In the meanwhile I got the strong feeling that two more macro lenses have to be obtained, as the 105mm is not always the focal length of my dreams: sometimes you just need a 50mm or a 180mm lense:-) ... but the budget stoppes me at the moment, but more about the focal lense in a different post.

The thing I really need is a flash, but I just don´t know which one to take, a flash from Olympus or one from a third party vendor ? A "normal" flash, or a macro flash ? More about this also in another post.

As you can see, one can easily get addicted to macro photography...