I went and did it. I went to B & H Photo and Video on line and ordered the macro lens suggested by my AZ sister's photographer friend. The only difference was I opted for the foreign model which was $30 cheaper than the other, but otherwise the lenses are identical. It arrived last Friday afternoon.
So here are a few of the pictures I've taken with the new lens. I'm really glad my camera is a digital. It helps that I can take a dozen pictures of the same thing and then pick out the best one. Sometimes that's what it takes. The memory card holds hundreds of pictures. There's no waiting for developing, and no film is wasted. That way I pretty much know right away if the picture is worth keeping or tossing immediately. And if I'm not sure I just keep them all and check later on the computer.
A fly... and now the same fly using the "trim" feature, where I can zoom on the already taken picture.
Here's a dragonfly, and following are a couple of trimmed photos of the original.
I really like how sharp and clear these turn out.
I did have one concern when I first tried the lens out. The auto-focus wasn't auto-focusing. I had to do the manual focus. After doing a little on-line research I discovered this lens can only be used in the manual focus mode. I'm sure if I wanted to spend an extra $300 I could get the lens that auto-focused.
Just to make sure I went to the B & H on-line help center this morning. It was confirmed; with my camera, the Nikon D40x, that lens, the Nikon 60mm F/2.8 D-AF Macro Lens, only works in the manual position. But "Tyrone", the person helping me, suggested that "manual focusing with a macro IS a good idea..." And after questioning he said he would stick with what I already have. So that's what I'm going to do.
In the fall I'm seriously contemplating attending a class at the Nikon Photography School. Oh dear. My sister's photographer friend told her, "Doing a little research will help her spend even more of her money."
I'm afraid he might be right.