in macro photography came about when I came into the possession
of a digital camera, an Olympus D-400z point and shoot, but was
unable to go places to take pictures because I'm disabled. That
limited me to what I could find in my yard. I experimented with
holding close up filters in front of the camera lens, and then
tried jewelers loupes. Both have limitations because they cast
a shadow on the pictures if you have to use the flash. I've settled
on using magnifying glasses. Any magnifying glass will do, and
can even be hand held in front of cameras whose lenses are flush
with the camera. They are thin, and cast no shadow if you use
the flash. You can also stack them to get even closer if you like.
The ones that seem to work best with my camera are the student
magnifying glasses that I ordered from Acorn Naturalists and are
a whole 67 cents each, but there are a number of sites on the
Internet that handle different sized magnifying glasses. Still,
taking pictures was a 2 handed job, and sometimes I simply needed
my other hand for something other than holding a magnifying glass
in front of the camera lens. Since my lens extends out from the
camera body it was not hard to come up with a way to "make"
a macro lens to slip over the extended lens tube.
What I used
is a simple toilet paper roll, but paper towel rolls, or even
the biscuit containers that you get at the grocery store could
be used. It depends on the diameter of the camera lens tube. You
need to use something light though because the zoom lenses on
the digital cameras are very delicate, and will not support much
step is to split the roll lengthwise so you can get at the
inside of it. There I lay out "stripes" of silicone
seal lengthwise. They help to form a buffer between the camera
lens, and the homemade macro lens. It also stays rubbery after
it is dry, and this helps to keep the macro lens from slipping
off. When the silicone seal is dry I wrap the roll around
the lens to get the idea of the length that I need, and then
cut it off.
to wrap that around the camera lens so it can be taped to
size. I use strapping tape for its strength. Be careful when
you do this part. You don't want the tube to be too tight.
You want it to slip on easily, but also stay there if you
have to point the camera downward. After that I generally
put on several layers of strapping tape to reinforce the whole
cut out a notch the size that will fit the handle of the magnifying
glass. You want the front of the magnifying glass pretty much
flush with the end of the tube you've made.
This is the
tricky part. Slip the tube onto your camera lens, and while
holding the magnifying glass so that it is centered on your
camera lens, fill in the gaps with silicone seal. It's reasonably
stiff, and doesn't run, but be careful not to get it on your
camera lens. You will also want to make sure that the magnifying
glass sits flush with the camera lens. Once the glue has started
to set up some you can take it off the camera, and set it
As a final
step I generally add a layer or two of silicone seal to the
outside of the paper tube. It helps to hold everything together,
even under heavy use, and strengthens the whole assembly.
When it's dry you're ready to take pictures with it. I've
made 2 lenses so far. One contains a single magnifying glass,
and the other has 2 magnifying glasses stacked on top of each
other. I've stacked as many as 5 of the magnifying glasses
together, but your depth of field drops to about the thickness
of a sheet of paper, and is not very practical in use. 3 of
them stacked will have you taking pictures of butterfly eggs
hatching, or tiny things like aphids. It's the single one
that I use the most, and the double one comes in handy for
such things as getting really close to bees or wasp.
of using this with a digital camera is that you can use the
LCD screen for focusing on your subject. That can take some
getting use to, and with really small objects it is more guess
work than anything else. You learn how to look for the things
that you can see well enough to focus on. I've also started
to use the kind of reading glasses that only magnify. They
are available most anywhere. I got mine at the grocery store.
They will magnify the LCD screen for you so you can get a
better focus. My success rate tripled when I started using
problem is with the flash. They were not made to work very
well at a half inch away from something. I have no answer
yet for the flush mounted flashes, but my camera uses the
pop up kind, and that was easily dealt with. I used the semi
clear plastic cut from a milk jug, and notched it, folded
it to size and shape, and then taped it with strapping tape
to hold it together. The end result looks something like a
box with an open end that slides down over the pop up flash.
I've made 2 of these to handle differing lighting needs, but
both of them have a sheet of paper that is cut to size, and
placed between the plastic, and the tape. I have several layers
of tape wrapped around it, and also a layer of silicone seal
to dampen it even more. There might be better ideas for this,
but this one works, and is easy to make.
simple point and shoot doesn't have much in the way of manual
adjustments, but it does close down the aperture more when
you use the flash, and that gives you a better depth of
field to work with. The flash also helps to stop any action
since what I mostly take pictures of are bugs. They don't
exactly pose for you. I have found macro photography to
be down right addicting, and with these easy to make attachments,
just about anyone can join in on the fun.