Ghetto Macro Lens




Introduction: Ghetto Macro Lens

Macro lenses for SLR cameras are expensive. After experimenting with rolled up magazines and other tricks I came up with the "Ghetto Macro Lens" for about $10 worth of supplies.

You will need:

A 12 Fl. Oz. Red Bull can, a camera body cover to fit your SLR camera and a throw away camera lens. This lens came from a flea market and was actually free as it is a piece of junk. It is from a plastic camera that probably didn't cost more than $15 - $20 new.

You will need a hot glue gun or some good hard glue that will dry quickly.
Cut a hole in the body cap like you see here. I used a drill press and then just broke off the little pieces of plastic that didn't get drilled out. You don't need to get fancy with this as it won't show up in the pics you take.

Step 1: Step 1

Cut both ends off the Red Bull can. You don't need to be very clean with the cuts as you will be taping them soon.

The other end (bottom of can) needs to be cut like you see here because it needs to fit into the body cap.

Step 2: Next You Need Black Construction Paper or Paint

I didn't have any paint or black construction paper so I took an open copier machine image of my hand. Take the paper and cut it to fit just slightly higher than your can and enough that when it is rolled it covers the entire inside of the can.

Step 3: Overall It Should Look Like This

This is what it should look like on one side, then on the other side and then the next pic is what it should look like overall

Step 4: Assemble and Test

Slide the entire thing inside the can and then try taking a pic. If the lens is level with the body cap it will make a cool macro. If it is not level, level it and then tape the top (lens side) so it doesn't move. If it was not level when you made it you will get a "Tilt Lens" effect where only the center is in total focus. See the fly Macro pics at the end to see what I mean. The pics I took of the flies did NOT have the lens quite right and it was after I was done shooting them that I realized my mistake.

Step 5: What It Should Look Like and How to Focus

This is what the Ghetto Macro Lens looks like when attached to a camera. You need to ve VERY close to your subject because of the tight depth of focus (DoF).

You will have to have good lighting and move in and out from your subject until you can focus. There is no focus except for the "in and out" method.

For the camera settingsI have the aperture set to 4.5 and the exposure to 30/100 with an ISO of 1600. The next picture is exactly what you see this picture taking.

Step 6: The Results of the Ghetto Macro Lens

This is the tip of the Phillips tip screw driver you saw in step 6. The camera aperture is set to 4.5 and the exposure to 30/100 with an ISO of 1600.

The next pictures are of the tip of a rose and of flies on a mushroom.

I hope you enjoyed this.

Boris Kafka

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    4 years ago

    Instructions not clear, got hand stuck in blender.


    11 years ago on Step 6

    that second fly is freakin me out...


    12 years ago on Step 5

    DoF = depth of field, depth of focus is different and concerns the back of the lens


    12 years ago on Step 6

    Nice theme Instructable!

    BUT... Is it original???
    I hope it is NOT a case of pirating someone elses work... (I'm not trying to be rude, just speaking frankly...)

    Look at this one, published in december 2005:

    which says:

    This post, "Extreme Macro Photography on a budget", is part of these categories: All articles, Featured Articles, was posted by Haje Jan Kamps and saw the light of day on the 10th of December 2005. I hope you liked it.

    which is a lot more detailed than this short Instructable, BTW!

    ANYWAY... We Instructable´s-people love to expand our knowledge and share it with as many people as possible... so in the end, it doesn´t matter so much, but giving credit to the right people is important, anyway

    1) You could make SEVERAL tubes of slightly different lenght, so that you can get several magnifications. A pair of tubes that can be telescoped could make a VARIABLE length extension tube, the difference between the external diameter of the inside tube and the internal diameter of the external tube could be sealed by dark colored felt or velvet type cloth. Still, an easily built set of different lenght tubes is less cumbersome.

    2) Use inexpensive PVC tube, which is easily joined with PVC dissolvent or cement. Rigidity and cleanliness when using PVC pipe is a great advantage at a really low cost, no cardboard or softdrink can material approaches PVC's easy of construction and results.

    3) Using a black color velvet lining inside the tubes is the best way to avoid internal reflections. Black blackboard paint (pardon me!) is second best.

    3) When Magnification (which means how big the image projected on the film or sensor is, compared to the object size) is large, most normal lenses work much better REVERSED, that is, the REAR of the lens faces the subject, and the front of the lens faces the camera.

    Best wishes to all.

    amclaussen-Mexico City.


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    looking at the link you posted and the instructable here I can see significant differences in the construction methods and functionality of each lens.

    In any case the other of this one set their intentions clear from the beginning this is about $10 of supplies and gets the job done using a creative and simple method.



    12 years ago on Introduction

    a bit of paint and it look like the real thing! Very nice idea!


    12 years ago on Step 6

    just awesome?:)) unreal:)) cool stuff dude!!! nice job I really have to try it:))


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Be very careful if you don't have a dust resistant sensor. I do some stuff like this but I have a stock pile of green clean supplies :D Awesome idea