Introduction: How to Make a Very Effective and Cheap Micro/macro Lens for an IPhone or Any Smartphone!
In this instructable, I will explain how I've created macro lenses for my iPhone 4 by salvaging parts from old digital cameras. Why buy expensive lens attachments when they are already lying around your house? Disclaimer: I am in no way responsible for any damage you may do to your device or yourself. Follow with caution.
Step 1: Materials List
-Old Cheap Digital Camera (you can find one at a thrift store for less than $10)
-Small Precision Screwdriver
-Loctite Fun-Tak (REMOVABLE)
-Ingenuity and any other materials that result from the former.
Keep in mind that the digital camera that you get may or may not work with this instructable. Be prepared to lose a few bucks if the camera you purchase doesn't give great results.
Step 2: Disassemble the Camera
After you have found the digital camera that you don't mind sacrificing, remove the battery from the camera. Then unscrew any screw that keeps you from opening the camera body. Every digital camera is different, so I cannot tell you exactly how to disassemble your camera. Just be safe and gentle as to not damage the lens. Also, don't shock yourself with any charge that may still be built up for the flash.
Step 3: Disassemble the Lens Assembly
We want the lenses that are in front of the optical sensor. Again, be careful and unscrew the lens assembly from the camera. For this particular camera, I found it easiest to pry it out with a flathead screwdriver. I only did this when I knew for sure I wouldn't risk damaging the lens or myself. Once it is out, discard the rest of the camera, or save it for parts for another project. Begin testing the lens with your phone. If you are not achieving a macro photo, the assembly may need to be taken apart even further. For instance, this assembly had a plastic lens and a cover/mechanism that controlled the shutter that I needed to discard.
Step 4: Prepare Lens
Your lens will more than likely work either way you hold it in front of you phone, however one of the two ways you hold it will produce a larger picture. Whichever way you decide to attach it to your phone, it needs to be smooth. I used wire snips to cut the plastic bits off that prevented it from laying flat. You can use a file, but you risk scratching the glass.
Step 5: Attach Lens to Phone
I personally don't like the idea of using LOCTITE. I'm only offering this as a suggestion that is quick and easy but comes at a cost. It doesn't harden and any remnants of the adhesive will wipe off (especially with the glass back of the iPhone 4), but it can get into the nooks and crannies of your phone and you may not be able to get it out. If you use it, don't use a lot. If you can, make up your own way to attach it. As you can see, my first lens attachment had to be placed in a holder because part of the lens protruded out. It needed to be recessed so glass wouldn't touch glass. I have faith you can make something. If not, try the REMOVABLE Loctite Fun-Tak.
Step 6: Test Your New Macro Lens
Try out your new lens! Keep in mind that the focal distance for your attachment is very small so getting a sufficient amount of light on your subject will be an issue. You will be blocking most of the light with your phone and lens. I find using a flashlight for extra light helps. Hope you like my instructable. Check out my photos and vote for me in the Instructables Photography Contest!