Instructables
While experimenting with a variety of "other-purpose" lenses. I discovered I had the makings of a really amazing micro lens in my telescope eyepiece collection. While you may not already have the eyepiece described, you can buy one cheap. I have seen them on eBay for $10.

The following Instructable shows how to create an adaptable mount for this eyepiece (or any 1.25" eyepiece for that matter) on ANY digital camera. My total financial investment, including the eyepiece, is $25. I could have bought a ready-made adapter for a mere $200. That's more than I bought the camera for on eBay.

And if that is not enough for you, this Instructable requires no special tools, like laser cutters, oscilloscopes, SLA rapid prototype machines, nor nuclear centrifuges!!!

Step 1: Gather your tools

1. A compass with one sharp point.
2. A rotary tool, like the Dremel, with a cut-off tool, small drill bit, and grinder. (handy, but not mandatory)
3. An X-Acto knife or other utility knife.
4. Needle-nose pliers.
5. A very small screwdriver.
6. A can of flat black spray paint, if desired.

Next Image:
7. 1/8 inch black crepe tape (optional)
8. Black marker
9. Fine sand paper
10. Small rubber bands
11. Needle file (optional)

This is what used. However, being the ever-resourceful people that you are, feel free to substitute as desired.
 
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amclaussen4 years ago
 Regardind flat paint...  Many tears ago y was very involved in Photography, working as a helper for a Pro Advertizing Photographer.  He was suscribed to many Photo Magazines, in one of them (I believe it was a "Modern Photography" issue from probably 1972 or so), there was an extremely well written article, kind of a review where several top quality 35 mm SLR cameras were being tested for "flare resistance"... the test set-up consisted of four long fluorescent tubes arrranged in the periphery of the visual field, jus outside of the visual frame.  Those were lit and were extremely bright against the background, and subjected the camera and lens to a very difficult test; different cameras and lenses were tried.  They found that "body" flare was produced by the inside of the camera box surfaces, and the best camera body of all the ones tested was the FUJICA ST-701, which was not better than their Canon or Nikon equivalents generaly speaking, but where it was REALLY OUTSTANDING, was its freedom from internal reflections, owing to its absolutely better internal coating, which was made of a kind of "plush" or "Velvet" fabric, with a lot of short piles which absorb the light better than ANY so called flat paints. My photography master was so decided that he got a discarded ST-701 just to get the velvety internal coating material to re-coat or line the interior of his trusty Nikon-F, because the flat paint inside the Nikon was actually of a dark gray color, but the velvety material of the FUJICA was much better at avoiding and supressing internal reflections, making it better than factory new!

So, if you can, get a very black velvet piece to line the interior of the lens barrel; but beware, test it to see if it sheds any fiber, because the sensor on digital cameras attract all dust or fibers by electrostatic charge, and not all cameras have sensor cleaning mechanisms!


Good luck.


VERY good advise...
A small test with etching/frosting spray and black flat paint did prove pretty useful with no worry for the fibers going loose.

I have heard of literally "velvet" sprays but could not find one nor test it.

Thanks so much for the heads-up!

Wonderful instructable as well. Not that it is the first ever DIY macro crash course out there. But the result is rather neat.
If I ever concider giving it a go I think I would try to also purchase a few white letter-a-sets that were out before laser printers were as common.

Thank you for going through the trouble of sharing this with us.
studleylee5 years ago
Good job! I especially like the threaded PVC as a quick adjuster. -Lee
whiteoakart (author)  studleylee5 years ago
Thanks for the comment, Lee. I just got a new camera, so I will have to make a few adjustments to the mounting section.
whiteoakart (author) 5 years ago
tis a good point, rsw56. As with most hand crafted objects, many decisions are made based on that particular object with what we have on-hand.
rsw565 years ago
Depending on the camera, you might be able to skip the "four small screws" step and simply crisscross the rubber bands placing them as far out as the threaded area, if necessary.
very nice, I might use this to take pictures of insect poo! I recently designed a pack of cards called Plop Trumps (cf. Top Trumps), after my kid suggested I do it. The best poos were the cricket and the cockroach, but very hard to take a good picture of because they are so small and the microscope I tried to use had absolutely no depth of field so was useless really. But this could work. Question is, what is the thing that determines depth of field and how could one improve it?
whiteoakart (author)  KaptinScarlet6 years ago
Thanks, Kaptin!

Depth of field, as you undoubtedly know, is a function of magnification, f/stop, and aperture. This becomes tricky as telescope lenses have different systems of labeling lenses than camera lenses.

When we get to this range between micro and macro, DoF is very shallow no matter what you use. I have 4 or 5 lenses I use for my micro/macro images. Through experimentation, I have a pretty good idea which lens I want to use, with which camera, to get a desired result.

My simplistic rule of thumb is that less power = more depth of field.

With microscopes, you pretty much get a 2D DoF, that is "none".

One trick I use is to place the camera on a tripod or sit it on a nice level surface. I hook the camera up to the mac with a cable. Then I use some simple software that allows me to release the shutter through a push of the space bar. Without touching the camera, I scoot the object closer and closer until it is in focus on the monitor. Ideally, the object would be sitting on a microscope slide tray that you could move tiny increments with the adjustment screws.
That's a good idea, because if you take multiple pictures at different distances you could combine them in photoshop to get a completely in focus item. I tried this with the locust and cricket poo, but it was very hit and miss, with me holding the camera and taking 3 images one focussed on the front one on the middle and one on the back of the subject. For the cricket one which is tiny I had to use sharpening and some other post production techniques which were a bit of a cheat really.
04-locust-6mm.jpg24-black-cricket-2mm-x-0-75.jpg
whiteoakart (author)  KaptinScarlet6 years ago
Yes, I have done this on occasion and it works pretty well for me to combine a couple of shots into one. Those are some nice pooh pictures.
Yes... mmm, I took 40 such pictures although not all were such close ups, and then I made then into a pack of cards. It was my son's idea, Plop Trumps (cf Top Trumps), I'm selling them on my website here, if you want a look! :-)
CameronSS7 years ago
Now make an Instructable on making your own T-mount telescope adapter--especially if you base it on a Canon EOS. I have the telescope (130mm Newtonian) and I have the camera (My sister's EOS Rebel and my friend's big fancy one that cost more than my car), but no way to attach the two. Sad face. Tear.
Dude... google for "EOS t-mount adaptor" without the quotes, you can get one under $10... can't event build one that cheap.
whiteoakart (author)  CameronSS7 years ago
That's a little more of a challenge. But, believe it or not, I am working on it. You can buy the set up at http://scopetronix.com/wizard/step1.htm which will actually spec the mount for you. However, it will set you back a couple hundred bucks.
Since that is more than my eBay purchased camera, I'll continue with the DIY version.
pad6 years ago
Would this work with other types of lens or even professional lens if you can attach then to this one way or another?
whiteoakart (author)  pad6 years ago
Any type of camera, telescope, or microscope lens will work. You just need to place it backwards in front of your camera lens and at the right distance away from the camera's lens (easy trail and error). For this application, the tricky part is creating an adapter that could accommodate the range of lens barrel diameters which go from .75 inch to 2 inches. I am sure it is possible. I just haven't had the patience to tackle it.
Mojo_JoJo7 years ago
I am on the verge of buying my first Dcam, will definitely give this a try. I like the staging area for your photographs, the green chequered background you use automatically give an idea of the size of things in the pictures. Perhaps you can turn that into an instructable too, or share a printable version of it here.
ac7ss Mojo_JoJo6 years ago
that background is a cutting mat, Available at any craft store.
fmpfilms6 years ago
That's really cool man. I made a DIY macro lens from a pair of binoculars, check it out.

Click Here
Don Quioxte7 years ago
Thanks so much for this wonderful idea.

I recently built one for my point and shoot, and it's amazing.

My camera has a 10x optical zoom, so I have a lot of depth of field to work with. (comparatively, that is)

If anyone else is having lighting problems, what with the lens being so close to the subject, I would recommend adjusting the levels in an image editor. The <a href = http://www.gimp.org/>GIMP</a>, a free, cross-platform image editor, does an excellent job of automagically adjusting levels to bring out more realistic color (in most cases). I'm working on a batch file for conversion as I write this.

One thing I need is a way to adjust the focus precisely in small increments. A 3-axis system would be ideal, but I'm thinking of making one from an old microscope. Thoughts? Advice?

The first image is a plastic container. The second, a Pentium 1. The third is a "before" shot without my attachment, and the last is with the lens. I still need to work on focusing and better lighting (the first 2 images are after editing), but it's a start.

plastic.jpgcpu.jpgxactobefore.jpgxactoafter.jpg
whiteoakart (author)  Don Quioxte7 years ago
No wonder that x-acto keeps ripping up the foam-core ;) These are great. The idea of using a microscope base is excellent. It seems you could drill a hole through the plate, through which a bolt could attach to the tripod mount.
ChipUser7 years ago
I like the use of PVC couplers allowing one to change combinations. One suggestion: How about lining the trimmed edge of the lens mount (step 6) with felt cloth? This will help protect the camera face and improve light-tightness. I have seen small pieces of felt cloth (~8X12") in various colors (including black) in craft supply stores. Do this after you finish painting though.
whiteoakart (author)  ChipUser7 years ago
Good idea. The kind I like: inexpensive, easy to implement, and effective.
txtsttoo7 years ago
Hey, buddy this seem's very fine, I will try it too.
kenbob7 years ago
This seems like a great way to do digiscoping, lense not in backwards of course.
zenilorac7 years ago
wide angle door spy-holes work well too, mount them in an a lens cap for hands free operation
stevoIution7 years ago
Good work, me rikey.
snoyes7 years ago
"makes people think you have some mega-expensive lens attached to your camera..." ... which you mount with rubber bands. I love it.
rachel7 years ago
Nice! This is so clear, instructions and pictures. Well done. (Too bad I won't get to use my nuclear centrifuge for it, though)
whiteoakart (author)  rachel7 years ago
Thanks Rachel- You might want to try using your nuclear centrifuge on this project. I suspect it might render the PVC into its elemental atomic components, but, what the heck. However, next week I will post an Instructable on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a nuclear centrifuge made from old tuna cans, an LED, and three Altoid tins! The huge amounts of electricity required comes from placing a piece of tinfoil on your computer screen and switching it on and off really fast over and over again.
Myself7 years ago
Nice! I've been taking similar pictures with a fleamarket webcam, whose lens happens to focus very, very close. LEDs and circuit boards have been among my subjects. It's only 640x480, but then again, it was only $5 and required no modification to do this stuff.

I'm working on converting a microscope to digital imaging, and I might use that set-screw technique for my mounting. Thanks for the inspiration!
whiteoakart (author)  Myself7 years ago
Thanks for the comment. Let me know how it goes with the microscope. I was thinking of trying that, as well.
hooloovoo337 years ago
O Man! That is neat, I'm going to have to try that this weekend.