We all love a good macro shot, but most of our toy cameras do not allow for in-focus close-ups. In the past, I have experimented with using a hand-held magnifying glass to obtain some close-ups with the LC-A+. However, the focal length was always estimated, and often wrong. I wanted a way to use a magnifying glass and always obtain an in-focus close-up despite using a camera that doesn't have true viewfinder.
We all know that the minimum distance for in-focus images using Lomography cameras (LC-A+, Sprocket Rocket, Lubitel, etc.) is 60cm to 80cm, or about an arm’s length. But sometimes, that is not not close enough. In the tipster section of the LC-A+ book, there is a quickie-tipster on using a magnifying lens to take close-up photos. When I saw this, I knew I had to try it. I remembered reading this tipster by mapix which describes how to test the focusing distance when you don’t have a true viewfinder.
I bought a hand-held magnifying lens (5x magnification) from the dollar store and applied the tipster by mapix. For this particular magnifying lens, the focus distance ended up being approximately 10cm. By holding the magnifying lens directly against the camera – in this case I used the LC-A+ and holding them both approximately 10 cm from the object I wanted to shoot (Note: this takes a lot of coordination and patience), I was able to obtain images like this:
Although I was happy with these results and this technique, I still wanted to be able to get closer. I also wanted to be able get sharp images every time. With the above technique, there is very little room for error in terms of the distance, so even being off by 1 cm will cause the photos to be out of focus.
One day while buying film at the lab, I noticed they were selling magnifying glasses that were shaped like a small cup. I took a look at it and realized that the base of the “cup” acts as a focal-distance guide – so by holding the magnifying glass directly against the item you want to look at, and looking through the lens, it would be magnified by a factor of 10 and would be in focus.
In this case, the focal distance is approximately 4 cm.
One important thing to keep in mind while using this technique is that since your focal distance will be much shorter than your camera is designed for, you will need to introduce an additional light source for proper exposure. I used a flashlight.
All you need to do now is:
1. Select the item you want to take a close-up photo of.
2. Place the magnifier against it.
3. Set your camera (should work with any camera) on the closes focal length it allows for (for the LC-A+ 0.8 m), and place the camera lens directly on top of the magnifying lens.
4. Turn the flash light (or other light source) on.
5. Click the shutter to capture the image.
Have fun experimenting with magnifying lenses :)