The $1 iPhone Macro Lens

The $1 iPhone Macro Lens

Even that crappy dime-store laser-pointer can be useful.

Was the $14 iPhone macro lens a little too rich for you? If you can’t afford to drop the price of a cheap lunch onto a DIY photo accessory for your $650 phone, then perhaps I can interest you in Zaheer Mohiuddin’s $1 version.

That’s right: a $1 macro lens for the iPhone (or iPad). The only work you’ll need to do is take a walk to the dime store and find a roll of tape.

The lens for this little hack comes from a $1 laser pointer, an item I never knew existed. In fact, it’s a little worrying that we live in a world where a tiny terrestrial version of a lightsaber can be assembled by a human being from individually-machined parts, then shipped to the other side of the world and sell for a buck. All while (presumably) making a little money for every middleman along the way.

Once you have secured this miracle of modern supply organization, you need to pop it open, remove the lens and and tape it in front of your iPhone’s lens. If you’re already using a magnetic mount for other accessory lenses, you might consider supergluing this lens into a metal washer, but tape seems to do just fine going by Zaheer’s excellent results.

And you’re done. Not only have you just saved $12, you got a little exercise when you walked to the car to drive to the store, and you put a tiny little piece of food on the table of a Chinese factory worker. You should celebrate by driving to an all-you-can-eat diner and photographing each fatty dish in minute detail.

The Focus

  • Thanks Zaheer!

  • picky

    Thank you. I have been a little weary of the water drop/glycerine drop method.

  • nolavabo

    I wonder what the work conditions are like at the factory that can churn out laser pointers that retail for a buck. Since they’re not badged with Apples we will never find out.

  • hceylan

    For hardware 200$, for software 200$, for Apple logo on it 200$, you are enthusiastic about macro pictures, yet you can’t afford 14$. [sigh]

  • Zaheer Mohiuddin

    For hardware 200$, for software 200$, for Apple logo on it 200$, you are enthusiastic about macro pictures, yet you can’t afford 14$. [sigh]

    I think you can say that about anything really. Should I spend an extra $80 on synthetic oil for my $25k car when I can just use normal oil? Sure compared to the price of the car the addition $80 is nothing. But it gets the job done fine. The $1 macro lens is ridiculously simple to make. In fact, all you’re doing is disassembling a laser pointer.

  • sderic

    That post really made me laugh. Thanks.

About the author

Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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