From day 1 of the iPhone, it has been revered for its awesome camera. Although it does not go overboard with lots of megapixels (if you have read our DSLR buying guide, you know megapixels don’t mean better pictures), it manages to take extraordinary pictures that have vivid colors and perfect clarity. But one aspect the camera from the iPhone (and of other phones also) does not cover is macro pictures. For taking this kind of pictures, you have to look for iPhone macro lenses that attach to the device.
Although there are not as many iPhone macro lenses out there as we’d like, the ones that you can find take awesome pictures (not as good as actual cameras, but still, great pictures). Also, there are those who make their own iPhone macro lenses, and the process is fairly simple. One method is to take the lense from a disposable camera and stick it to the iPhone’s camera. This solution is both cheap and the pictures look pretty good.
iPhone Macro Lenses
One of the cheapest and easy to use solutions for taking macro pictures with your iPhone is the Macro Lense Band. Many manufacturers invest large amounts of money to develop holding systems that can fit on more devices, but the simplicity of this system blows them out of the water.
It uses a rubber band to hold the macro lense on the device, and because it is not model-intended, it works on just about any device that has a camera installed on it. It’s much cheaper than any other solution and it takes reasonable photos, although, the quality is not as good as other lenses offer. But for a start, you can use the Macro Cell Lens Band to get used to taking macro pictures with your smartphone.
If you don’t want to walk around with a bunch of lenses in your pocket and spend lots of time changing them, try the Olloclip 3-in-1 lenses. The system has a unique design that allows you to take pictures in one of three modes: fisheye, wide angle and macro. The macro lense is safely stored inside the wide angle lense, so you can easily access it and it offers you 10x magnification.
The quality of the pictures is outstanding and the overall build quality of the set is remarkable. The system works on iPhone 4/4S and by the end of the year we will see a Olloclip iPhone 5 Macro lense. Also, the Olloclip will work perfectly with imaging apps like Instagram, and it will allow you to take awesome macro pictures.
Available for every type of device, be it iPhone (any series), iPod Touch, iPad (any series) or any Android device, these lenses can transform any device that has a camera into a top of the line macro camera. It features a mounting system that uses a magnetic ring that holds the camera in place. The macro lense takes great quality pictures, but besides that, the series has a fisheye camera, a telephoto lense and a wide angle lense.
You can buy them separate if you wish, but the entire set is $50, which is not that much when you see the picture quality that you get. The only drawback of this system is that sometimes it does not stick very good to the phone (if the phone has a rounded edge near the camera), but it still gets the job done nonetheless.
DIY Macro Lense for iPhone
3. Magnifying Glass Lense
Macro lenses are not that special, basically, they are magnifying glasses. And this begs the question “Why not use a real magnifying glass to take macro pictures?”. As low tech as this seems, this trick works pretty good and you might be surprised to see the results. The downside is that you have to carry a magnifying glass with you at all times and you don’t have a holding system for it to stick to your iPhone.
2. Disposable Camera Lense
A tutorial on CNET shows us how easy it is to construct an iPhone macro lense using a disposable camera and a USB memory stick. All you have to do is to take apart the disposable camera and take out the lense. Then, glue it to the outside cover of the memory stick and mount it on your iPhone. This will work very well, giving you quality macro pictures, with a low investment.
1. 3D Printed Macro Camera for iPhone
If you want to have looks as well as performance, then you can print out a 3D model of a iPhone camera (the holding bracket is available on the web) and mount on it a macro lense (you can even use a disposable camera lense like above, or search for a lense on the web). This will give you a very stylish iPhone macro lense that has not only the looks of a specialized macro lense, but also the picture quality of most macro lenses.
These solutions are intended to transform your iPhone into a digital camera, capable of taking amazing macro shots. Although they will not have the same quality of real digital cameras, they can still provide quality pictures at only a fraction of the price of a DSLR or point-and shoot camera. If you know other ways to take macro shots with your iPhone, please let us know using the comment section and we will be happy to add them to the list.
Update: we’ve found two more iPhone very appealing iPhone cases and we couldn’t miss the opportunity to inform you about them.
The PhoneScope 3D is a magnifiying add-on which magnifies that “enhances” iPhone’s back camera with a macro lens. Just how much it will increase your viewing area? The answer is suprising – by 5 times! And this isn’t all, the PhoneScope3D add-on also has a bright LED that adds light to the area, so you can see better and are able to take better pictures. Wait, there’s even more! Why is it called 3D? Well, because it can capture and scan in 3D the surfaces your iPhone’s camera is overlooking. How cool, right?
Have you ever wanted a microscope to be attached to your iPhone? Maybe you’re already using some chemistry apps and you want to try something out for real. It will not cost you cheap, so to get one you’ll have to pay 105 euros. The KeepLoop back small microscope has a resolution of 6 – 10 microns. Have a look at the above video for more details.
Radu Tyrsina contributed to this post