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Finding a decent Macro lens for a smartphone. HALP!


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I can't possibly be the only one who's tripped into this one.

A macro lens for my actual camera is ... frustratingly out of budget (I have a Nikon. I also have an ancient (uses FILM!) Canon, and no shame, but this isn't about that..). 

 

So. It occurred to me, they make lens attachments for smart phone cameras. Do they make macro lenses for smart phone cameras? 

Yes. Yes, they do. Only... I am not good at this camera stuff, and have no earthly idea what to look for, let alone how to be sure that said lens and my smartphone will get along. 

 

The smart phone in question is an LG G8x Thinq. It's in one of those fancy-pants dual-screen cases, but that's easily amended if necessary for Pictures. I technically do have a tripod for it, albeit not a desk-friendly one (I can fix that, if necessary). 

 

So.. well. What am I looking for? What should I avoid? 

.. why does everything assume you have a gorramn iPhone..?

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There are various attachment lenses out there that will fit any number of smart phones. Like lenses for SLR cameras the good ones are usually pricey.  However most smart phones already have lenses that do a good job at focusing  on small objects like miniatures while also giving a reasonable depth of field as well.  The thing they most often need to accomplish this is allot of light.   

 

Now if you want super macro on a budget you can pretty easily make a lens attachment  by buying a laser pointer removing the focusing lens and making a mount to hold it backwards over the main lens of your phone.   I used a hair pin and some poster putty to hold it in place.  This will let you get super close to objects and allot of magnification but it will have very shallow depth of field.   

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I've contemplated the Moment lens kits, but then I look at the price again and realize that's halfway to the Olympus 60mm f2.8 macro lens, and also requires a proprietary case as well. 

 

They at least also have cases for Samsung and Google models too, but yeah, definitely hear the iPhone only thing and just can't understand why they'd ignore the rest of the market... 

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But, if it helps, I've found here lately that I don't really need the macro lens if you've got a zoom kit lens. Just take an extra foot or two back from your mini and zoom the lens, I've been able to get pretty good framing without the macro lens that way

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So, for the most part, getting semi-decent pictures of anything roughly standard-miniature sized (or larger) is fairly easy. It handles that alright.

 

It's when we start getting down into the really tiny stuff that the camera in my phone loses its tiny mind and refuses to focus on anything; even a plain background is Too Much Information, and the thing I want it to focus on is ... well, not in focus. At all. No matter what I do.  I have gotten decent results with the zoom function, but it's not consistent. Sometimes it's fine, sometimes it's not. Witness the fun I had trying to get a decent picture of that orb-weaver back around autumn. Probably at least a dozen terrible photos before I finally got a couple that were half-decent. >.<

I don't generally have a lot of time to futz around with it, which is why I'm looking for a macro lens.

 

 

Under the spoiler, for anyone who missed it the first time I posted it, the spider in question. If you happen to be arachnophobic, DON'T click this.

Spoiler

20200901_195227.thumb.jpg.30f117ba5a47a8e9577276d9d40db59d.jpg

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

If you find anything let me know! I'll keep an eye out as well. I keep looking for one periodically but not a lot is compatible with my phone (galaxy note 10+).

 

Does your phone happen to have a manual setting. My phone has a built in macro function but it doesn't always cooperate so messing with the stuff manually helps occasionally.

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as an aside - you might look at third party camera apps like OpenCamera which gives you full manual control and cool things like bracket focus and histogram analysis.  It's been my experience that MOST manufacturer camera apps are designed for ease of use for the lowest common denominator of cellphone photos - selfies and quick snaps.

Edited by Cygnwulf
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For the price of a phone lens that's worth bothering with you can probably get a manual focus macro for your Nikon or a 50mm+extension tubes that will give you better results. That being said, have you considered just using your current lens and cropping? The results will be as good as anything you can get with a phone + an add on lens.

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  • 1 month later...

I bought some macro tube extensions that I use with my Nikdon D50 and the kit lens I got with it (18-55mm?). It works pretty well. Especially if you have a remote or a shutter release for your camera. Also I got some very good advice from the resident Reaper Camera expert @Doug Sundseth about using a bag of beans or rice as a quick "tripod" to stabilize your camera without having to set up the tripod every time. 

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I am glad you found a solution that works  for you. 

 

Extension tubes are allot of fun i had some for my previous brand of camera and they are on my list of things to get for my current Nikon setup.  I really like the super limited depth of field they provide.  Some might see it as a negative, particularly when it comes to miniature photography, but i like the aesthetic.    

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