A clip-on lens for your smartphone instantly transforms it into a mini-microscope that will show you the world as you’ve never seen it before. One click and you can photograph it, too. It’s a great and inexpensive hobby for adults and a wonderful way to encourage children’s curiosity and zest for learning.
The clip on lens I used on my Android S7 Edge to take the photo at the top of this post only costs $20.99 via Amazon…
Clip-on lens kits for smartphones are widely available, for a surprisingly small amount of money. A basic kit that includes a macro, fish-eye and wide-angle lens costs around ten dollars, and for three times that you can buy a high-quality set. When shopping, bear in mind that the results are only as good as the picture quality your smartphone can deliver – so it’s probably not worth buying the more expensive lenses if your camera only takes low-resolution photographs.
“To see a world in a grain of sand. And a heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand. And eternity in an hour.”
Affordable macro lenses for smartphones typically magnify around 10-15 times, though both higher and lower strengths are available. For maximum magnification, there are products that zoom in as much as 400x. For beginners and casual hobbyists, it’s best to start with an inexpensive model that magnifies about 10x and then add additional (or lower) power units to the collection as required.
Clip it onto your phone and the fun can begin. The only limit is your imagination. Macro photography is especially rewarding for seeing the marvels of the natural world up close. Flowers, insects, feathers and water droplets are always astonishing just to see them as you’ve never seen them before. A pinch of sand or soil from your last vacation destination magnified can also reveal hidden wonders. Many sediments include tiny fossils called of micro-organisms called foraminifera in an astonishing range of fantastic forms. (You might even discover a new species.) Close-ups of human-made objects can be just as interesting to view and photograph. The textures of everyday items, such as fabric or a rusty metal hinge on a door, the shades of color in a bead from a necklace or the color refracting in a drop of condensation on a wine glass, can be fascinating to behold. And the human body offers other possibilities: the whorls on a fingertip; a hair follicle; or even the buds on a tongue.
A macro lens attachment for your phone can be used just for looking at the things around you in a different way, but it can also be an art form. Unusual views of familiar subjects are often exciting to see, but macro photography with good quality equipment can also generate startling and beautiful images worthy of framing. As well as texture, macro photography can reveal the striking hidden geometry of both natural and manufactured objects.
Shooting videos using a macro lens and your smartphone can have some really interesting effects as well!
Clip it onto your phone and the fun can begin.
With a minimum spend, a smartphone macro lens is your portable window to a new world. As well as being fun, it can be useful in other domains, too. If you sell commercial goods, a magnified view of your product can be visually arresting and a useful sales tool, for example. For most people though, it’s an engaging hobby, and part of the fun is finding new subjects and experiencing the thrill of seeing remarkable things. For kids, it’s a great way to foster creativity and lateral thinking.
The poet William Blake lived long before such technological miracles were invented, but he could have been thinking of macrophotography when he wrote: “To see a world in a grain of sand. And a heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand. And eternity in an hour.”
For a few dollars, a clip-on macro lens that magnifies your pictures can turn your smartphone into a window on new worlds. Tiny planets. For a very inexpensive purchase, a macro lens is a really fun accessory for nature lovers and amateur photographers. Macrophotography is an affordable and entertaining hobby for adults and a fantastic way to stimulate kids’ interest in the world around them.
Oh yeah – it makes a great magnifying glass out of your mobile phone that is small and super easy to carry around, too!