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Macro smartphone lens on Kickstarter


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Having seen how many people here use their phones to photo their minis (including me), I thought this could be of interest to some people.

 

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/76865543/the-easy-macro-smartphone-lens

 

It's a lens that straps onto your phone, and looks like a really good way to take macro photos. $10 gets you a lens, with only $2 shipping for international customers!

 

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Gosh darn it! I really don't need to be backing any more Kickstarters right now! But that deal's too good to pass up, and it might actually allow my phone camera to photograph things closer than 12 inches.

 

Huzzah!

--OneBoot :D

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I have an iPhone5. I got a Groupon or something deal on a set of three lenses that included a macro lens that looks a lot like the one in the picture in the following link. You put a metallic ring sticker around the lens of the camera and then the lenses attach. It's not a great method, this rubber band style looks a lot better, and easier to swap between phones.

 

http://www.poeticaperture.com/2012/02/09/iphone-macro-lens-or-the-best-20-ever-spent/

 

However, what I wanted to comment on is that I didn't find it that helpful for taking pictures of miniatures. With the add-on lens, I can get the camera to focus when held closer to the figure than I can without the lens. However, not all areas of that closer image are in focus. If I move the camera back far enough that all areas are in focus, the picture doesn't seem noticeably improved over just using the camera on its own. I get better results improving my image by playing with light placement and using a flat background than from the lens.

 

I suspect it's in part a difference in what most people use macro for, which is the kind of pictures that you see on the Kickstarter page (and the one I linked to with the picture of my lens) - the aim is to have one small thing in focus and the rest of the picture is out of focus. In photography terms, what we do is more often known as tabletop photography, like taking product pictures of jewelry or other small items. We're aiming to have the whole mini in focus (and evenly lit). My guess is a little add-on lens can't help much with that unless someone comes up with one that adds a way to control depth of field/f-stop, since that is what controls getting all or most of a 3D item to look in focus in a picture. (I am very far from a camera expert, so I could be wrong about that!)

 

I recently did a test comparison of pictures from my new mirrorless camera (Sony NEX-F3), my older fancy camera (Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd), my cheapie point and shoot (Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH22), and the iPhone5. The iPhone did pretty well in terms of focus, lighting and colour reproduction, and I would guess the same to be likely true of any smart camera phone of similar generation.. It far out-performed the point and shoot (which was a $200 camera when purchased 3 or so years ago). For colour it did better than my older fancy camera, though it was a little fiddlier for getting a good shot. Some day I will find a moment to upload the comparison pictures.

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The out of focus area in the figure I tested a bit before I posted were the feet, and it wasn't too significant. But I did only take the picture from an angle with the flattest view (arms out to the sides), which is how a lot of figures are posed given moulding constraints. I'm guessing if I'd tried to take a side view or a picture of a miniature with lots going on at different points of distance from the camera, it would have been a much more noticeably poor quality image.

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Thank you so much for the review, Wren! I realized after reading it and looking over the pictures on the Kickstarter page that my phone camera wouldn't give me the results I wanted, and that a lens won't change the fact that it's simply a crummy camera. So, I pulled my pledge, but I'm glad to see that they hit their funding goal already. :)

 

Huzzah!

--OneBoot :D

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