Water Drop Macro Lens

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About: My name is Christian, and I am an 18 years old Dane. I like gaming, cooking and experimenting. I also like the small, cheap and easy instructables.

In this instructable I will show you, how you can take really cool macro pictures with a drop of water as a lens for your smartphone / tablet.

We are putting water directly onto the smartphone / tablet, so don't do this, if you are worried, that it will cause damages. I am not worried at all, as I have done it a lot of times, but I won't take responsibility if something happens when you do it :)

I was really amazed how the pictures turned out, and I hope you will have just as much fun doing this, as I had making this instructable.

Let's go!

Step 1: What You'll Need

  • A smartphone or tablet
  • A cloth for drying your camera / spilled water - We are working with water and electronics at the same time, so you have to be careful!
  • Headphones with volume buttons OR a bluetooth remote control if you have one - i got mine from a selfie stick... Don't judge me...
  • Cotton swabs or a syringe
  • Glass of water
  • Something interesting to take macro pictures of

Step 2: There Are Two Ways to Do It

I am using my iPhone and my iPad to take these macro pictures.

There is two cameras on most of the phones out there. One on the front and one on the back.

Camera on the back

If you want to use your iPhone, i recommend that you use the camera on the back. The iPhone's front camera is too close to the microphone, so the water drop might run down there, and we really don't want that! The back camera is pretty much isolated from open spaces into the iPhone.

If you want to use the back camera, see next step.


Camera on the front

If you have a phone / tablet, where you are able to put a drop of water on the front camera, or if you think that you can handle a drop of water on the iPhone's front camera, I recommend that you use the front camera.

The water drop macro lens is much funnier and easier to use, if you use it on the front camera, because it is easier to control, and because there is glass covering the camera completely. I am using my iPad to take pictures from the front camera.

If you want to use the front camera, see step 5.

Step 3: Preparing the Camera on the Back

Place your smartphone flat, so that you can put a drop of water on top of the camera lens.

You can either use the syringe or the cotton swabs, but I prefer the cotton swabs. You can also use your finger, but you can't control that as good, as with a cotton swab.

Take the syringe or the cotton swab, and put a drop on the lens. Be careful not to put too much water on it. The camera has some sort of "ring" around it, that can hold the water in place. If you make the drop too large, the water will run off the phone, before you can turn it over.

Quickly turn the phone around before the water runs off.

Now we are ready!

Step 4: Using the Camera on the Back

I recommend that you put the phone on the edge of the cloth, so that you can tilt the phone closer to the object. In this way, you get more stability.

You can either use your headphones as triggers, or you can buy a selfiestick, if you don't mind losing your dignity ;)

The first picture is a GIF, where you can see, how I take my pictures. (I had to do it with one hand, because I used the other hand to record..)

Step 5: A Mosquito Larvae

We have a bassin where I managed to catch this small mosquito larvae. I am very impressed, that the macro lens could show such a detailed photo. The 2nd last picture shows, how close the iPhone could come without a water drop, and the last picture is with the water drop.

The first picture is a GIF, and you can even see something moving inside the larvae's body!

Step 6: Using the Camera on the Front

Use the syringe or a cotton swab to put a drop on top of the front camera.

Unlike the camera on the back, there isn't a "ring" around the front camera. This means, that the water won't be hold in place, and you can make a bigger variety of water drop sizes.

If you want to see, how the size of the water drops affects the pictures, go to next step!

This method is easier than using the camera on the back, because you can move the object back an forth, instead of trying to keep the whole camera stabilized. Take your object, and hold it close to the camera.

Another sweet opportunity of using the front camera, is that you can hold a flashlight above your object, and light it up from the back. I turns out to really cool, when you are doing it with leafs, because the backlight reveals the pattern inside the leaf much better. Check out the last to pictures to see the difference between the leaf without backlight, and the leaf with.

Step 7: Size Matters

The smaller the drop is, the closer you can focus on your object.

When you put the drop on the camera, be sure to put it right in the middle. Especially when you are making small drops.

The bigger the drop gets, the more it flattens out. When the drop flattens out, we lose the effect of a lens, as the drop has to be in a "dome" shape.

Try and see on the first picture, how the size affects the pictures.

Step 8: Please Share Your Photos!

Thank you for viewing this instructable!

I hope you liked it!

Please share your photos, if you try this. I can't wait to see them!

P. S. if you liked this instructable, I would be so happy, if you would vote for me in the Photography, Tips and Tricks Contest or / and in the Phone Contest.

Thanks!

Phone Contest

Second Prize in the
Phone Contest

Photography Tips and Tricks Contest

Second Prize in the
Photography Tips and Tricks Contest

5 People Made This Project!

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80 Discussions

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ZnaffiDoc Penguin

Reply 2 years ago

Haha, you'll discover a whole new world!

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yosanatanm

3 years ago

i love it, thanks four your idea

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Linkin_J_Knex

3 years ago

This is so cool!! favourited!

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volkvanmyn25

3 years ago

This is very cool but you can get a better effect using a laser lens from an old dvd or cd player/drive or laser pointer pressed into a hole into a piece of plastic with the phone camera on top of that.

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Znaffivolkvanmyn25

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

It's a good idea for a lens, but I think the water drop can "zoom" much closer to the object. But thanks for the tip :)

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schabanow

3 years ago on Introduction

Great! Ben Krasnow on YouTube shows how to control the water drop curve (!!!) in order to take several pictures (each one like a frame in video footage ~ 10 .. 20 fps) of the same moveless object (mosquito's eye as far as I remember) with different focuses (consequent values with a step assigned). Then all pictures are to compose into one (PhotoShop) that represent just HUGE range of sharpen depth.

This way he solves the main disadvantage of macro pictures - tiny sharpen depth, here you are:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvMv6WiWMHA&feature=iv&src_vid=NjLJ77IuBdM&annotation_id=annotation_874076

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Znaffischabanow

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

Coooooooooooooooooooooooool!!!!!!! That is really amazing!! Thank you for sharing!

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easy94

3 years ago on Step 8

very nice. I've a samsung note 2 and an ipad. I will try it on both this week.

Thank you very much.

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schabanow

3 years ago on Introduction

That trick is called 'focus stacking' means combining several macro images of short sharpen depths shifted with a step assigned into one super image of the whole macro object of perfect sharpen.

Liquid lens allows you to do that VERY quickly, as far as I could hear - near a thousand times per second. In other words you can not only take an amazing macro pictures - PORTRAITS - this way, but macro VIDEO of premium class, or even high speed macro video (many hundred fps).

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schabanow

3 years ago on Introduction

It's me again... Here is the exact video of Ben Krasnow I just mentioned:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVSjUW2qQ6U&index=10&list=PLA9renIgK3NasJ2q5cXnm4HlN1Dq56ssW

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psezulfe

3 years ago on Step 8

Hi, it's great that sometimes something very simple like this has such a fantastic result! But this method is not very practical, it would be great to have some kind of lens reproducing this method.

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dpinkstonpsezulfe

Reply 3 years ago on Step 8

psezulfe, Go to your local home improvement store and get a peephole/doorviewer. One of the lenses in the peephole will act as a macro lens and can be affixed to the phone. (https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-take-Macro-Pictures-with-Blackberry-Camera-/?ALLSTEPS) You can also use the lens from an DVD drive.

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psezulfedpinkston

Reply 3 years ago on Step 8

Great idea!!! I have a bunch of CD/DVD drives in work laying around, I will try one! Maybe I make an instrutable if I get good results! Thank you