Introduction: High Quality Aspherical Close Up Lens

Picture of High Quality Aspherical Close Up Lens

When I've had my first serious digital camera (a bridge Panasonic FZ20) I built a close up lens (with a lens from a binocular) to add on it, and I've made beautiful macro photography with that. 
So, when I got on to an DSLR, I decided to build another close up lens which fits my Canon zoom EF 28-135.
I wanted a very good quality for it, and of course it should be an aspherical lens, to reduce chromatic aberrations at borders of the image. I decided to go asking to my usual good optical shop here in Milan for a glasses' lens. So he provided for this great quality aspherical lens, of course it's uncutted.
I'm not able to give you the detailed characteristics of it, but if you explain to your optic your pourposes he should make the best choice for you. [UPDATE: I've found the envelope, following are the characteristics of my lens: DX OP CR.39 1,5 ASPHERA 3, Sph +500 ,Cyl + 0]
Ah, mandarin is only to keep the lens up... and to catch your interest of course ;-)

Step 1: The Rings

Picture of The Rings

To connect the close up to my lens, the best way is to use the ring of an UV filter. I say UV because it's the cheaper one, but you can use any filter of the right diameter, also another close up lens. I've had to use an adaptor too, because in my case the lens was a bit little to cover all the surface of the big 74mm filter ring of the EF 28-135, but maybe you're lucky enough to find a lens with the exact diameter.
You can find very cheap filters and adaptors on eBay, there are some steps in the available diameters (24, 27, 30.5, 37, 40.5, 43, 46, 49, 52, 55, 58, 62, 67, 72, 77, 82, 86mm), so take note of them before going to ask for the lens. You also can find adaptors to reduce or enlarge diameter of your lens, but remember that the more you reduce it, the more you loose luminosity.

Step 2: Making the Tools

Picture of Making the Tools

The tricky step is to disassemble the filter and assemble it again with your new lens. This is not theoretically difficult, but you must have the right tool, because trying to make it with a screwdriver or something else you could scratch the new expensive lens.
So let's build this tool. You first have to misure the distance between the two grooves on the inside ring of the filter. Then get an aluminium bar a little longer, two little screws for metal, and with your column drill make two holes at the right distance.

Step 3: Check They Work

Picture of Check They Work

Now you can thread the holes, or try to screw in with some force the two screws. They have to stay fixed, so you can glue them with some cyanoacrylate glue (pay attention to your eyes), but maybe it's enough tighten up hard.
Then check the distance between the two holes, maybe it's not perfect, but you can now adjust it. Indeed you have to filing the screws until they fit exactly in the two grooves of the ring. I had two of them because I needed one for a different diameter.

Step 4: Crown the Mandarin

Picture of Crown the Mandarin

With great attention you could try to unscrew the inner ring of the filter. If it's very hard try using some releasing spray. Then clean everything very well, because maybe the new lens has some delicate anti-flares covering. 
Once you've done you can insert your lens between the two rings, and screw them again. I had to screw that on the adapter ring too.

Step 5: Mount the Adaptor

Picture of Mount the Adaptor

When you mount it on your DSLR lens you have a great macro lens!

Step 6: That's It!

Picture of That's It!

Now try to take the best advantages from this new baby, experiment with his very near focus point and good deep of field (for a macro lens). You'll enjoy with it, and when you get bored it's little enough to put in your pocket!

Comments

crazyg (author)2012-12-11

DX OP CR.39 1,5 ASPHERA 3, Sph +500 ,Cyl + 0], can anyone explain the various elements of this and the affect they have?

Drake411 (author)2012-11-26

For this step I used a cheap pair of measuring calipers made in India. They are made of steel and quite robust. They are the kind that has a thumb wheel to move a carriage down a rule. I sharpened the measuring tips with a file. Since they are adjustable you can remove a few different sizes of rings. I can still use it to measure because I left those surfaces untouched.

crazyg (author)Drake4112012-12-11

i may well borrow this idea at some point!

andrea biffi (author)Drake4112012-11-27

A caliper... this is a great idea, you're right!

stevmorpix (author)2012-11-27

Your lens was a plastic (CR-39) 5 diopter aspheric hyperopic lens. Make sure it has a sphere power only, no cylinder power (asticmatic, toric). An optical lab can cut it on it's optical center to fit into a round holder.

andrea biffi (author)stevmorpix2012-11-27

Thanks! Indeed it's very light and thin, maybe a little more weak to wounds. I read prescription numbers "Sph +5.00 ,Cyl + 0", they should be right about full sphere power and no cylinder power.

Antoninos Dad (author)2012-11-27

Ciao Andrea... I am very interested in making one of these for my son, who is an aspiring young photographer. Do you have a link to any of your macro photography? Grazie!

Yes, I've these, but I've taken them with my old Panasonic and a lens from a binocular. http://www.flickr.com/photos/andreabiffi/3093261666/in/photostream http://www.flickr.com/photos/andreabiffi/3092953761/in/photostream http://www.flickr.com/photos/andreabiffi/3039254768/in/photostream
With new close up I've only the Led's one. Bye!

thebeatonpath (author)2012-11-26

Amazing! I will definitely be trying this one!

don't forget to share your macro photos ;-)

Definitely!

nmeans (author)2012-11-27

This is an awesome project we often forget taht we can get high quality optics, without a prescription from our local optical store. The numbers "Sph +5.00 ,Cyl + 0" looks like a good prescription number. Thanks for the awesome project!

nmeans (author)2012-11-27

What was the prescription numbers from the eye glass lens you used?

andrea biffi (author)nmeans2012-11-27

Hi, if I'm right these are the prescription numbers:.
Sph +500 ,Cyl + 0
I also can read this on the lens envelope:
DX OP CR.39 1,5 ASPHERA 3

clarasoft (author)2012-11-25

Andrea trovo molto interessante la tua idea. non fornisci però nessuna info sulle caratteristiche della lente asferica. grazie claudio

andrea biffi (author)clarasoft2012-11-27

Ciao Claudio, io posso mandarti i dati della mia lente (per me quasi incomprensibili), ma se chiedi ad un ottico ti consiglierà di sicuro.

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Bio: I'm an Italian freelance structural engineer, graphic designer and photographer. I'm also investigating electronics, robotics and science in general. I enjoy hacking and ... More »
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