Pro Tip #5: Create interresting micro closeup shots with your phone

Thanks to my friends over at Tested for this tip.

Here is an interesting hack for your phone that anybody can do. Using just a drop of water, you can turn your smartphone into a capable microscope, letting you take photos of objects right up to the lens. Image quality is not as sharp as that provided by solid, commercially available clip-on lenses, but is still fun. This works with both iPhones and Android devices:

You can use an eyedropper if you have one; I didn't have access to one at the time so I used a coffee stirrer. Place a small drop of water in the center of the lens of your phone. This creates what is known as a compound lens. It doesn't have to be a big drop, but you can experiment with different sizes. Be careful not to get water inside your phone as they do not like it very much.

Flip the phone over quickly to avoid the water sliding off the lens ring. With a drop of water on the lens, you actually have to place your subjects much closer to the lens than you thought possible. Everything further than 1 cm away from the lens will be a blur.

  • Larger, rounder droplets lead to higher magnification, and as the droplet evaporates and shrinks magnification decreases.
  • The liquid lens is jiggly and sensitive to vibrations. The phone should be placed on a stable platform for maximum clarity.

Here is a photo of a pistachio nut that I took:

--Solar1 is all about "Fun and helpful things" so these tips encompass a wide variety of topics.