Make Microscopic Pictures Using Watchmaker Magnifing Glasses




Introduction: Make Microscopic Pictures Using Watchmaker Magnifing Glasses

I have bought myself a nice camera. And I was thinking about buying a macro lens too. But after seeing the prices, I had to think of a DIY version. So that's what I came up with.

I bought a set of watchmaker magnifing glasses. It contains glasses with 5x, 7x and 9x magnification. They are quite cheap and easy to get. Just put them in front of the camera and search your motive.

After testing them a while there is to say that the 9x glass is not very useful. Bechause of its strongly convex shape, you will end with quite blurry edges. But the othe two work fine.

Note: I would never dare to say that the picture you get this way are as good as with a proper macro lens, but considering they cost fraction, they are quite nice. The biggest drawback is that you can't focus with your camera but only with the distance to the motive. So a tripod is essential.

Step 1: How to Fix Them on Your Camera

Especially for these close up pictures you need to use a tripod and will not be able to hold the glass by hand. There are different options to fix the glass to the camera.
For DSLR and DSLM cameras you will need to make a cap to hold the glass in place. For compact cameras you will probably able to just put it on the lens. If the diameter of the magnifing glasses is to big put some small dots of sugru or hot glue on the inside of the tube.

Step 2: Make the Cap for Bigger Cameras - Using Sugru

I uses sugru to make the cap because it's easy to shape and flexible when dried. That way you can pull it over the lens of your camera. If you don't have sugru (why? some it's great ;-) ), you could cut a piece of Styrofoam or some rings of rubber foam.

It took me about 1,5 packs of sugru (1 black + 1 white = a deep grey). Make a roll, that reaches around the base of the magnifing glass tube. You could put plastic wrap over the objective to keep it clean, but the sugru sticks very good the the wrap and its hard to remove afterwards.

Place the glass on the fully extended lens ( set the auto-off on the highest time). Place the roll of sugru around the glass and press it on the side of the glass and the top of the lens. Pull the sugru about 5-10mm over the edge of the lens to make a rim.

Now the tricky (or sticky) part. Carefully remove the sugru from the lens, maybe a bit of drying time will help. So you get the cap with the glass in it. Cut around the magnifing glass with a knive to get the sugru of it. You should end up with the ring cap. Make some small folds in the rim to make it a bit smaller than the diameter of your lens. Because sugru ist elastic it will hold tightly to the lens that way. Now let it dry.

After 24 hours you will end up with a nicely fitting cap to put the different magnifing glasses on your camera. If the diameter is still to big, you can add some small dots or a thin roll of sugru on the inside to make it smaller.

Step 3: Example 1 - 5 Rappen Coin

Pictures without, with 5x, 7x and 9x magnifing glasses.

The smallest coin in Swiss francs a "Föifi". The diameter is 17mm.

Interesting fact: Depending on the current price of copper the production of one coin costs more than it is worth.

Step 4: Example 2 - Wooden Table

Thanks to IKEA :-)

Step 5: Example 3 - Branch

Step 6: Example 4 - Frangipani

Now go out and try it yourself. Have fun.

I am also putting this on the photography conest, so I would appreciate your votes. Tanks



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    14 Discussions

    Extension tubes are a nice --and rather cheap-- alternative. Pick one with the electronic coupling so that you have the autofocus and image stabilisation

    You'll have a better image quality, tho you won't have the DIY satisfaction.

    2 replies

    Thank you for the advise. I'll check if I find one fitting my camera. Until now I just found coupling rings. It's difficult to find things you have in your mind if you don't know the official name for it.

    But DIY is always more fun ;-)

    if you are careful you can modify the cameras plastic dust cover and use it as a coupler...

    I have done similar making extention tubes out of paper towel roll holders...they work but very impractical to keep still.


    3 years ago

    Great instructable. What else do u think would work instead of a jewellers magnifying glass?

    2 replies

    You could also use a normal magnifing glass. But the distance between the lens and the glass gives you more magnification.

    Lol. I was all looking closely at the coin, wanting to see the microscopic picture you had put on it.

    I'm not trying to be rude with this comment, but there is a difference between micro and macro. these are more macroscopic :) micro is cellular level in the field of biology; and these are perfect examples of what a really expensive macroscope can do! Nice ible! :)

    1 reply

    You totally right, I work with proper microscope almost every day, there es a huge difference :-). It's just that with some macro lenses on the market you still don't get such close ups. It's artistic freedom :-)

    Quick edit: "bit of drying time will helt." I think you meant "help."

    1 reply

    Cool. I love the idea to use Sugru for that. Thanks or Dankä vielmals

    Great Instructible!
    I had recently discovered using the same technique using my phone's camera: (galaxy note 3)