Home-Made Macro Lenses

Started Oct 23, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Stephen Barrett Contributing Member • Posts: 683
Home-Made Macro Lenses

I have made a couple of Macro lenses, having been inspired by others in the thread "Challenge: How Small Can You See?"
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/50011528
(The leader so far is  MissingLinkie, who has achieved 6 microns with a reverse-mounted 50 mm lens on a Panasonic FZ150.  He is still trying for smaller.)
Here are a couple lenses that I have cobbled together from junk that I had lying around:

200 mm Binocular Objective and 600 mm Telescope Objective with "Grabbers" added.

On the left is a 200 mm binocular objective that is a plano-concave and a double-convex lens cemented together.  I built up the diameter with masking tape and added a couple of "grabbers" that lock into the front of the lens-barrel on my Canon SX30, without interfering with its operation.  The grabbers were made from aluminum siding.
On the right is a 600 mm telescope objective (50 mm diameter) that is also plano-concave + double-convex, but not cemented together, just sandwiched by the telescope's lens holder.  Grabbers have been attached with electrical tape.
Here is a picture of my computer's monitor-pixels using the 200 mm lens with full optical zoom and infinite focus, using a tripod, from a distance of 197 mm (7.75 inch).  The pixel-filaments have a line-pair spacing of 13 microns.  (Check out the thread above - I am just copying Cyril Catt and Biff Exploder there, who did a better job than mine.)

13 Micron Monitor Filaments - 200 mm Add-On Lens from 197 mm

This grasshopper was taken with the 600 mm lens from 0.6 m (23 inches) away with 105.4 mm (approx 611 mm equiv.), autofocus.  Full zoom was too much to get the whole grasshopper.

Grasshopper - 600 mm Add-On Lens from 0.6 m (23 inches)

This little flower (approx 1 cm long) is taken using Macro from a distance of 2 cm from the lens-barrel:

Macro from a distance of 2 cm

Here is the same flower taken with the 600 mm lens, camera at full optical zoom from a distance of 0.6 m (23 inches).  There is some blur because this was hand-held and I am still learning how to handle the depth-of-field.

600 mm Add-On Lens from a distance of 0.6 m (23 inches)

This spider was taken with the 200 mm lens with a zoom of 19.6 mm (114 mm equiv.)  This lens is difficult to use hand-held at full optical zoom because the depth-of-field is less than 1 mm.  At less zoom, however, I am finding that the lens is quite a pleasure to use hand-held.  The depth-of-field is greater and both the autofocus and image stabilization operate well.

Spider - 200 mm Add-On Lens - Much Less Than Full Zoom

This photo shows the seed-pods of a portulaca (moss rose).  It was taken with the 200 mm lens with the camera focal length at 30.5 mm (177 mm equiv.):

Portulaca Seed Pods - 200 mm Add-On Lens

Judging by the 197 mm (7.75 inch) focus distance of the 200 mm lens at full zoom and infinite focus, it seems to be comparable to the Raynox 150, which is an engineered camera lens with some space between the lens elements.  Perhaps such real macro lenses can achieve better image quality than I am getting, but it is still fun to experiment and begin to learn some techniques.

Judging by the 197 mm (7.75 inch) focus distance of the 200 mm lens at full zoom and infinite focus, it seems to be comparable to the Raynox 150, which is an engineered camera lens with some space between the lens elements.  Perhaps such real macro lenses can achieve better image quality than I am getting, but it is still fun to experiment and begin to learn some techniques.

 Stephen Barrett's gear list:Stephen Barrett's gear list
Canon PowerShot SX30 IS +3 more
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150
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