Macro or Close-Up Lomography with DIY Lens


This is a no-cost way to get into macro photography. You only need a string, little tape, used up glasses, and a tripod. If you like to make surprising experiments with your analog darling, you've got to try it out!

You may use almost any camera for this! It’s only necessary to get the back opened (so e.g. no instant cam). Medium format is advantageous, because its easier to focus, so I took my Zeiss Ikonta.

Prepared Zeiss Ikonta III

Here’s how to practice the technique:

Just look for a simple eyeglass lens and tape it in front of the camera lens (my one was very old and completely scratched). Then, you need a matt screen: it’s easy to make one using a carton of cardboard box and parchment paper.

String with spectacle glass

Screw the prepared camera on a tripod and search for something with high contrast and bright colour (I used yellow gloves here). Make sure there is no film in the camera, then open the back. Take the carton frame with parchment paper and press it close to the film guide rail. Now, it must be possible to focus the new “lens”: gently vary the distance between the camera and the close-up object and watch the image on the screen until it’s sharp. If you can’t see enough, put a dark fabric upon your head as photographers did in former times!

Carton frame with parchment paper

The ascertained distance now may be fixed by the length of a string!

Holding a string

To take photos with this “apperatur:” just stretch the string until you reach the object, then put the string aside and press the button! It’s not essential to use the tripod. The following pictures are made without using one:

Except the first of course!

Hope you enjoy working with this macro lens!

written by mapix on 2012-04-11 in #gear #tipster #handmade #close-up #eyeglasses #camera-modification #macro #ophthalmic-lens #lens-alternative #tipster #tip #spectacles-glass #handgefertigt #eyeglass #lomography


  1. bernizt
    bernizt ·

    I was thinking about the matt screen trick some time ago... nice to see it works! Great article

  2. mapix
    mapix ·

    @bernizt yes its simple but works fine! used it at school to show how photography works: made some little holes into the window blinds (must be wery dark) and hold the matt screen in front: immediatly there is the outside world in small and upside down on the screen!

  3. mafiosa
    mafiosa ·

    Wow, i never knew about the matte screen technique before, but I just tried it. Very cool. I can see that technique coming in very handy. Thank you for sharing. And great photos you've presented in this tipster.

  4. welliamancio
    welliamancio ·

    is cool too to usemagnifying glass

  5. mapix
    mapix ·

    @welliamancio - thanks! yes, this should work too!

  6. raylemon
    raylemon ·

    great article! thanks!

  7. abbsterocity
    abbsterocity ·

    Awesome! I have to try this

  8. ping-junior
    ping-junior ·

    This experiment is very interesting, makes me very ingen try it now.

  9. erbswurst
    erbswurst ·

    great article, it works as I discovered!

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