Turn the iPhone Camera Into a Macro Lens 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.
How to Use a Water Drop as Macro Photo Lens for iPhone
- Flip the iPhone over so the iPhone camera lens is visible (if the camera has multiple lenses, decide which lens to use, or put a water drop on all of them)
- Get a glass of clean water, and gently put barely the tip of your finger into the water so a tiny drop of water is on the tip of your finger
- Bring your finger close to the lens until the water drop transfers from your finger tip to the iPhone camera lens, it should be a tiny droplet that’s 1/4 to 1/2 a centimeter wide, just enough to fit on the lens but not go over the border
- Now carefully turn the iPhone back over so you don’t lose the water drop, and open the iPhone camera app to start using the water drop macro lens trick – you will need to get very close to objects for this to work
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.