Turn the iPhone Camera Into a Macro Lens for Free Using a Water Drop
Want a free instant macro lens for your iPhone camera? Carefully apply a tiny drop of water to the lens, flip the iPhone over, and voila, you can suddenly take extreme close ups of just about anything. I know that sounds a little weird, but it works, and the results are fairly impressive.
The drop of water has to be tiny and fit pretty much perfectly on the camera lens, aim for a droplet between 1/4 and 1/2 a centimeter wide, just enough to fit on the lens but not go over its border. You’ll want the droplet to be as circular as possible too, otherwise you’ll end up with strange edge effects. I managed with a finger tip but it’s generally easiest to use the end of a pen or pencil to apply such a tiny water drop.
Here are a few sample images of extreme closeups of a $10 bill and another iPhone screen, taken with a good old iPhone 4 and a water droplet on the lens:
As you can see in the dollar bill images, the quality is good enough to see fibers in the paper and detailed ink lines.
You can also make out places where ink bled, something that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye.
Using the water droplet macro lens to take a picture of another iPhones screen was equally impressive, clearly showing pixel level details.
I got the idea from Scientific American, who calls it a “microscope”, which may be a bit of a stretch, though they did take some pretty interesting pictures of a few bugs and plants.
Give it a try yourself, just be very careful with water on the iPhone, you don’t want to accidentally trigger the water sensors or damage the phone.