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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.

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!

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:

Hope you enjoy working with this macro lens!

written by mapix


  1. bernizt


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

    almost 3 years ago · report as spam
  2. 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!

    almost 3 years ago · report as spam
  3. 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.

    almost 3 years ago · report as spam
  4. welliamancio


    is cool too to usemagnifying glass

    almost 3 years ago · report as spam
  5. mapix


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

    almost 3 years ago · report as spam
  6. raylemon


    great article! thanks!

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  7. abbsterocity


    Awesome! I have to try this

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  8. ping-junior


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

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  9. erbswurst


    great article, it works as I discovered!

    over 1 year ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Deutsch, Spanish & Italiano.