Introduction: Taking Clear Pictures With a Cheap Camera (Saque Fotos Claras Con Una Cámara Barata)

Picture of Taking Clear Pictures With a Cheap Camera (Saque Fotos Claras Con Una Cámara Barata)

The pictures of instructables that try to show near details are generally... deplorable. Unnecessarily .

(Las fotos de Instructables que intentan mostrar detalles cercanos son generalmente... deplorables. Innecesariamente)

Step 1: A Couple of Cheap Reading Glasses (that Are Sold in the Street) Can Solve the Problem.

Picture of A Couple of  Cheap Reading  Glasses (that Are Sold in the Street) Can Solve the Problem.

(Un par de anteojos baratos de los que se venden en la calle, puede resolver el problema)

Prefixing a lens of 2 dioptries to a fixed focus camera, pictures are obtained with good definition to 46 cm distance. Two lenses of 2 dioptries makes 4 dioptries, and the distance decreases to 23 cm.

(Anteponiendo una lente de 2 diotrías a una cámara de foco fijo, se pueden obtener fotos con buena definición a 46 cm de distancia. Dos lentes de 2 dioptrías hacen 4 dioptrías, y la distancia se acorta a 23 cm).

Prefixing a lens of 4 dioptries, pictures are obtained with good definition to 23 cm distance. Two lenses of 4 dioptries makes 8 dioptries, and the distance decreases to 11.5 cm.

(Anteponiendo una lente de 4 diotrías, se pueden obtener fotos con buena definición a 23 cm de distancia. Dos lentes de 4 dioptrías hacen 8 dioptrías, y la distancia se acorta a 11.5 cm).

In fact any lens serves, making try and error. I stuck to the mount of each lens an appropriate thread of the exact focus length, for not having to take the measure with a rule every time.

(En efecto, cualquier lente sirve, haciendo prueba y error. Yo pegué a la montura de cada lente un piolín de longitud igual a la distancia focal, para no tener que medir la distancia con una regla cada vez).

I attached two pictures (before and after, with 4 dioptries)

(Puse dos fotos, antes y después, con 4 dioptrías)

1 Pic = 1000 words;
2 Pic+ 125 words = 2125 words.

(Una imagen vale más que mil palabras; una imagen más 125 palabras, valen más que 1125 palabras)

Added 28 Oct 2006 23:49
The principle is very simple. The measure in dioptries is the inverse of the focal distance in meters. Therefore, a lens of 2 dioptries has 50 cm of focal distance. A lens of 4 dioptries has 25 cm of focal distance.

(El principio es muy simple. La medida en dioptrías es la inversa de la distancia focal en metros. Por lo tanto, una lente de 2 dioptrías tiene una distancia focal de 50 cm. Una lente de 4 dioptrías tiene una distancia focal de 25 cm).

As the cam is not focused to the infinite but to about two meters, those 50 cm decreases approximately to about 46 cm. It Depends on the camera.
(Como la cámara no está enfocada al infinito sino a una distancia aproximada de 2 m, esos 50 cm se convierten en 46 cm. Eso depende de la cámara).

The focal distance (and consequently the dioptries) of a lens is obtained easily at the sun. One must form the most concentrated focus that one can obtain (the one that is used to burn ants), and the focal distance is between the bright point and the lens.

(La distancia focal -y consecuentemente las dioptrías- de una lente se puede obtener fácilmente al sol. Uno debe formar el foco más concentrado posible (el que se usa para quemar hormigas), y la distancia focal es la que hay entre ese punto brillante y la lente).

April 7, 2007.
The cheaps reading lenses are'nt glass, they are some type of organic plastic. Then, is relatively easy forms it with a bench grinder. Previously it is necessary to stick a packing tape on both faces of the lens to avoid to scratch the surface. When the lens has the wanted diameter, mount it inside a tube over the camera's objective. I made the tubes (one for each lens) with can of soda. It is very easy to work it with a common scissor.

(Las lentes de lectura baratas no son de vidrio, son de algún tipo de plástico orgánico. Por lo tanto, es relativamente fácil darles forma con una amoladora de banco. Previamente es necesario pegar una cinta de embalaje en ambas caras de la lente, para evitar rayar la superficie.  Cuando la lente tiene el diámetro deseado, se monta dentro de un tubo ante el objetivo de la cámara. Yo hice los tubos -uno para cada lente- con lata de gaseosa. Es muy fácil de trabajar, con una tijera común).


Ninzerbean (author)2010-04-24

I think part of the confusion here is that you might want to say that you are talking about taking focused photos of close up things. I wish you would change your intro image to the focused one. If you added a few more shots of small things I think the process and what you are teaching would become clearer. You are the one of  the most patient and polite people on this site. 

Change your title to reflect that you are talking about close up shots.

rimar2000 (author)Ninzerbean2010-04-24

Your observations are correct, now that you mention it I realize. Unfortunately the camera I used to make this instructable does not work, and would be unethical to put a photo taken with a camera of better quality.

I swop the photos, and translated to castilian the texts.
I hope that is better.

Thanks for all.

fartnocker (author)2010-04-04

 your picture is quite blurry.
a better way to do this is BUY A TRIPOD

rimar2000 (author)fartnocker2010-04-04

Bear in mind I'm talking about a cheap camera, and in 2006. The purpose of instruction is not to teach to get good photos, but photos fairly acceptable for a instructable.

sushantech (author)2010-03-01

great invasion

ReCreate (author)2009-01-29

id be funny if you have an instructable that shows you how to take clear pictures while you only have blurry ones

rimar2000 (author)ReCreate2009-01-29

Thanks, you're very kind and considerate.

ReCreate (author)rimar20002009-01-29

what do you mean?

mrmath (author)2006-10-26

Your English was fine. My question is where can I get the type of lens you're describing? And if it's a cheap camera, how would I attach them?

Wafflicious (author)mrmath2008-12-20

If you live in U.S.A, you may be able to get the glasses at a pharmacy like CVS or Wallgreens.

rimar2000 (author)mrmath2006-10-26

Thank you for your praise ebaut mai ínglisch. I don't know where you live. In my country, Argentina, a couple of generic reading eyeglasses (made in China, Taiwan, etc) costs about 4 U$S. At the beginning I simply sustained with the hand the lens in front of the cam's objective. Then I made a tin mount for each lens that allows me to leave it placed or to take out it, according to the necessity.

CameronSS (author)rimar20002007-06-20

You speak English better as a second language than most people speak it as a first language. Mi espanol es mal. Good Instructable, by the way.

rimar2000 (author)CameronSS2007-06-21

Thank you. "Everywhere they cook beans". Here in Argentina there are people that doesn't know how to speak in Castilian, and they have university title.

CameronSS (author)rimar20002007-06-21

It's odd...My middle school Spanish teacher lived in northern Spain, so he taught us Castilian Spanish. Now, in high school, I'm learning Mexican Spanish. The differences are subtle, but they are there.

Hector_27 (author)CameronSS2008-02-27

well... i am from spain, and i speak spanish-castlian. There are some big diferences: south americans try to speak an spanish the most similar to american english because they think that U.S.A. is the best country in the world. I speak quite a good english (i'm thirteen) mais je parle français aussi, hablo muy bien el español ya que es mi lengua materna aber deuch nicht, nej god svenska, en espanya exisitix també el valencià i no el català!! sé algunas palabras en latín y otras en griego... so... it is easy to learn languages an doesn't mind if i am young, old, english, swedish, german, french, spanish or valencian...

rimar2000 (author)Hector_272008-02-27

...Y yo tengo una tía en Entre Ríos que usa pollera (falda) larga. Capisti?

Te corrijo: "...south Americans try to speak an Spanish the most similar to American English because there are many more USAensis than Englishmen in Latin America" (o algo así. Uso un traductor automático).

spinach_dip (author)rimar20002006-10-26

I think he's asking for a picture of the camera, with your add-on lens (the "tin mount", that you speak of). Of course, for that you would need another camera. ;)

rimar2000 (author)spinach_dip2006-10-27

Yes, I understood the same thing. I have another camera, but it is momentarily (or perhaps definitively) unusable. The mount is elementary, it doesn't need to be detailed.

n0ukf (author)2008-03-07

With a 5x or 10x magnifying lens (jeweler's loupe) I can get quite close for those tiny parts. and the loupe is easy to hold over the extended lens body of my Kodak C330. And I can also use the zoom function to get even tighter shots. For shots between 3" and 24", perhaps I should get a pair of those reading glasses (the 1.25 pair I sometimes use for reading aren't powerful enough for this use).

rimar2000 (author)n0ukf2008-03-07

Thanks for your comment, n0ukf. It is not a pity that are so many defocused photos in Instructables, being so simple to solve it?

Nuno (author)2007-10-16

If you have a webcam, with adjustable lens (most do have them, even my 15 euros notebook webcam has), you just need to adjust the lens to be able to take macro photos.

rimar2000 (author)Nuno2007-10-16

Yes, I know that. But I speak of the cams that they haven't lens adjust. Old mine is one of these.

CatMan (author)2007-04-08

please show us pictures of how you made the lenses. please. please. please :-)

rimar2000 (author)CatMan2007-04-09

Look at what I answered to blodefood.

blodefood (author)2007-04-07

You can also use magnifying glasses in various strengths to get even closer. A $5 magnifying glass with the little close up insert will allow you to take a picture of a loonie or a postage stamp that almost fills the frame. The catch is you might have to mount the magnifying glass on something so you can use your free hand to do your demonstration.

rimar2000 (author)blodefood2007-04-07

The cheaps reading lenses are'nt glass, they are some type of organic plastic. Then, is relatively easy forms it with a bench grinder. Previously it is necessary to stick a packing tape on both faces of the lens to avoid to line the surface. When the lens has the wanted diameter, mount it inside a tube over the camera's objective. I made the tubes (one for each lens) with can of soda. It is very easy to work it with a common scissor.

mothflavour2 (author)2007-01-26

Nice tip. Although, I still prefer to use the macro setting on my digital camera.

rimar2000 (author)mothflavour22007-01-26

Did you know that the CHEAP cameras don't have function macro?

dataphool (author)2007-01-22

Very good instructable. I will try this as soon as I can pry a camera from the grip of my son & grandson who use them all the time in chat rooms. And don't worry about the criticism of your language, You used 2000 words (2 pix) very effectively, not withstanding some impatient children.

chefmichel (author)2006-12-05

Very useful instructable, as many people do not know it. Cheap glass or even plastic magnifying glasses work also perfectly well. Good use for an old credit card; cut a hole into it and fix the magnifying glass so that you can fix it with rubber bands to your cheap camera. Works equally well with a video camera. Since 1970 i use a magnifying glass screwed into a 52mm filter fitting on my old faithful Nikon SLR, it works great as a macro lens. Yes, I am that old.....

barrytimothy (author)2006-11-24

Hi. This is very unclear. Speaky, a lot of the stuff in here is junk. There's gold in here, but you have to dig to hard to get to it.

rimar2000 (author)barrytimothy2006-11-25

Sorry, I do'nt speak english. I live in Argentina, then I speak spanish. ¿Do you speak another languaje?

cbahm (author)2006-10-28

I get an error message of "ERROR 403: can not view: EX5X7UT6RLETOMKW4A" when I try to view the second photo. Please fix this -- this is an interesting instructable! ;o)

rimar2000 (author)cbahm2006-10-28

I can't to do nothing. Try "view all steps on one page" (Upper left corner)

trebuchet03 (author)2006-10-26

Or use the macro function on your camera - I can get in as close as 2.5 inches (a little more than 6cm) and the camera will wtill AF for a clear picture. A cheap tri-pod can fix a lot too ;)

rimar2000 (author)trebuchet032006-10-26

When I say "cheap" I mean "cheap". Really cheap

trebuchet03 (author)rimar20002006-10-26

my 3MP camera cost me $75 three years ago when the going rate (in that resolution range) was around $100/MP -- 1/4 of that is really cheap IMO :P The reason I bring that up -- check out the stats on some of the crappy blurry pictures... most of those are decent cameras, many better than mine. This means, its not the camera's fault - its the operator :P Don't get me wrong - this is a good idea. But there's no number of lenses that will fix an unsteady hand and a user that never read the manual :P

Someone's been reading the Exif data. But it's true that if you're going to go through the effort of getting lenses and holding them up to your camera, then it's not too much further to get a good used 3MP camera on ebay for $50.

rimar2000 (author)fungus amungus2006-10-26

I don't know where you live. In my country, Argentina, a couple of generic reading eyeglasses (made in China, Taiwan, etc) costs about 4 U$S.

fungus amungus (author)rimar20002006-10-27

I don't know how many close-up photos you like to take, but in my case it's quite a lot. :) This is a good fix, but at least in the states it's not too tough to get a good used camera for cheap. I love the macro setting on my camera as it's allowed me to easily take photos of several items up close. This is handy for documenting textures and patterns and small items that I come across.

rimar2000 (author)trebuchet032006-10-26

Absolutely true. My cam is'nt very very cheap, but has'nt macro function. I built a collapsible steady cam that works acceptably, but I don't use it because my camera enters inside the pocket of the shirt, and I find annoying to add an additional device.

trebuchet03 (author)rimar20002006-10-26

fair enough :) I'll almost always support a mechanical solution to a problem anyway :P

geekboxjockey (author)2006-10-26

Good idea!!
A pic or two would have made this instructable a bit more clear, or a diagram, maybe an example of results...? The people that add those "deplorable pictures" are at least trying to make things a bit more understandable!

Picture = 1000 words, your post = about 120 ;)

rimar2000 (author)geekboxjockey2006-10-26

I have just put two pictures, "before and later"

geekboxjockey (author)rimar20002006-10-27

Thanks for the pics, they really show amazing improvement between the two pictures! I'm probably going to try this with my webcam soon, as my digital was just stolen!

westfw (author)2006-10-27

I believe the idea is to use some inexpensive "reading glasses" of the sort you can pick up at any variety store as a make-shift "close up lense" for an otherwise fixed-focus digital camera or web cam. I think it's a really good idea!

ellinger (author)2006-10-26

If the camera is cheap, but not really cheap, i.e. has a fixed lens, but lots of pixels, then the extra lenses are unnecessary. Since any megapixel image has to be scaled to fit within the confines of an instructables page, just snap the picture from a distance, then crop the image down to your subject matter. In other words, don't take a blurry close-up at 2304x1728 and scale it to 400x300, take a sharp picture at 2304x1728 and crop it to 400x300.

rimar2000 (author)ellinger2006-10-26

It's true. But when I say "cheap" I mean "cheap". Really cheap. 640x480 or so

dofnup (author)2006-10-26

I can't wait to try this!

J_Hodgie (author)2006-10-26

I think that this Instructable was long overdue, Nice work on making it simple.

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