How To: 5 Simple Ways to Add a Macro Lens to Your Smartphone

5 Simple Ways to Add a Macro Lens to Your Smartphone

If you have a smartphone with a good camera, chances are you don't think it's good enough. There's always something that can better with your mobile pics, and for me, that something is closeup shots.

I love macrophotography. The finer things in life excite me, finer meaning the tiny details in the objects around me that my eyes are usually ignorant of. What doesn't excite me is paying for a macro lens add-on.

Why pay when you can DIY? Luckily, there are no shortage of ideas for adding macro capabilities to your smartphone.

Door Viewer Lens Hack

A recent one by fariedh on Instructables uses the lens from a door viewer... you know... that peephole that lets you look outside without opening the door.

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All you've got to do is extract the tiny macro lens from the door viewer and slide it in-between your phone's camera lens and your case (if the case fits that snug).

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Then, if your phone's got a closeup setting for the camera, like his BlackBerry does, make sure it's set. If not, give it a try anyways. This is how big the difference is:

To see more examples images, check out fariedh's guide.

DVD Drive & Disposable Camera Lens Hack

Don't have a door viewer laying around? By no means should you have to purchase one, otherwise you might as well just buy a real macro lens add-on for your smartphone. But chances are you've got an old DVD drive or player collecting dust somewhere. Well, there's a lens in there, too!

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You can also use the lens from a cheap disposable camera!

Water Drop Hack

No door viewer, DVD drive, or disposable camera? Don't let that stop you from taking macro shots with your phone. The key is as simple as turning on your faucet. Just use a drop of water to magnify your subjects! This works particularly well on an iPhone, but may work on other smartphone models, too (though don't quote me on that).

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Reading Glasses Lens Hack

Scared of killing your phone with water damage? Then there's always paying a buck for some super cheap reading glasses and using one of the lenses as a magnifier. If it can work for a small point-and-shoot, why not a phone?

Magnifying Lens & Sugru Hack

You can also use a tiny magnifying glass lens and some Sugru to hold it in place.

You can pretty much use any tiny lens you have lying around the house. If you're not using the particular object that it's in anymore, hack out the lens and use it for something you carry around with you everyday!

How do you shoot macro photos on your phone?

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Cover image by Wired


jewelers lens works very well for this also. Fits right into the otterbox hole perfectly.

Nice tip! There's some pretty cheap loupes out there, too. Another cheap thing that will work is the lens in a disposable camera, but you won't get as good a macro shot as with the loupe lens.

I have also used an ipad with a hard case. The larger display screens on tablets and ipads combined with the mounted lens basically turns your ipad into a digital microscope. The hard cases have a 1/2" hole to accommodate for the ipads camera and makes mounting a lens very simple all you need to do is CAglue a rubber grommet into the hole of the case and insert the lens. The jewelers lens is also available with a LED. Buy this type for better illumination of the item you are wanting to take a closer look at.

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