When I use the field macrophotography Nikon D300s with Sigma 70-300 zoom lens along with the Nikon flash SB 600 and a set of extension tubes up to 68 mm.
This is not far from the best team, especially the goal is one of the cheapest on the market.
Basically I use the zoom from 70 mm to 200, over 200 quality low strength. This gives an expansion ratio close to 1 and 0.34 to 70 mm to 200m. Regarding the working distance measured from the tip of the subject in order to photograph varies from about 14 to 85 cm. As we can see with this small team can cover the most common relationships Extension without change of optical zoom and changing the working distance.
In the following table we can see the ratio increase, the working distance and the size of the rectangle photographed according to the selected focal zoom.
I use the flash of the camera with a separate bar and 25 cm shoot with a sync cable. All equipment weighs about 2 kg that can be handled by hand.
It is clear that using a macro lens of 135 mm or 180 would be a better option, but I have and the results are pretty decent. Here I show a series of photos taken with a tripod in the laboratory to see the quality of the set is good enough.
Focal length 70 mm
Focal length 70 mm real pixel
Focal length 90 mm
Focal length 90 mm real pixel
Focal length 102 mm
Focal length 102 mm real pixel
Focal length 112 mm
Focal length 112 mm real pixel
Focal length 155 mm
Focal length 155 mm real pixel
Focal length 195 mm
Focal length 195 mm real pixel