Macro Lenses for Smartphone Cameras

Yes, and I can’t recommend it enough if you’ve got a phone that is compatible (there are several). I have the wolverine one for my iPhone XS. Used an older version for my previous iPhone 6S.

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I use one of these too, after Carrie recommended it. My one main complaint is it requires a specific case that is a pain to put on and off so if you want another case you can’t easily switch. That being said, you can take the set of lenses off so you don’t have to lug it around, and the case I got is a pretty solid metal one which is nice. Some of the lenses are pretty useless and in my version one of them detaches, I think it was the wide angle, and i just don’t use that because I will lose it in the field.
Overall i definitely recommend it, I use it for keying out plants, easier than a hand lens in a lot of ways since you can save the photo… here is my latest use, though not the prettiest overall:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/37079567

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So, I love the clip on lens, there are also phone cases that allow a small lens. I don’t have one right now.

However, I’ve found that I can mostly brace my quality Coddington 10x loupe against my phone in one hand, and take a photo. Sometimes awkward, but doable.

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I use a clip on macro lens by Black Eye.
https://blackeyelens.com/product/macro-g4/
This probably isn’t the exact one I am using but appearance wise thats how the one I have looks like. Served me pretty well in taking detailed shots, though personally I wish the depth-of-field could be bigger. Other downside is that to actually clip the lens onto my phone camera (I have an iPhone 7, “old school” lol) I need to remove my phone case to be able to fit my clip on lens snug onto the camera lens. Also there is no built in light so one needs an external light source to illuminate the subject when necessary.

Here are some of my observations that utilised my macro lens (quality of photos also depend on the fact that the observation subjects have a mind of their own and that the photographer gets lazy quickly):
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/29977611
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/36950606
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/20097848
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/13702337

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I bought a Xenvo Pro Lens Kit ahead of a trip to Panama and I couldn’t be happier with the results, best 30 something bucks I spent in my life. Excellent, sharp images and a much better option than a full macro camera for portability, since it fits in my pocket. I copy below some examples of photos I took this week, I also have HD video of insects and millipedes that I hope to post at some point.

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What magnification are you guys using? I have only tried one model so far, a 10x macro, and I feel with some patience and a steady hand the distance is (not always but more often than not) enough to also get shots of insects that are easily flushed.
Here are some diptera examples I managed to take with the lens on:

https://static.inaturalist.org/photos/58751583/original.jpeg?1577709846
https://static.inaturalist.org/photos/37790925/original.jpeg?1556892211
https://static.inaturalist.org/photos/52107663/original.jpeg?1569160182
https://static.inaturalist.org/photos/47972695/original.jpeg?1565632945

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What an interesting topic…I tried to use a cheap clip on lens bought on Aliexpress, but I wasn’t happy with the result…I seen that my mobile without lens could get better pics than with them on… Does anyone have some indication? I have a smartphone Lenovo K6 Plus…

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I have something like this, https://www.kamera-express.nl/product/12264415/black-eye-3-in-1-set-g4-met-wide-angle-macr but mine version includes a bag. It is a nice case. how else to store such a small lense? And today it is cheaper.

Also look for the post of robotpie, who also uses a Black Eye.

Black Eye 3-Pack Smartphone lenzen
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De Black Eye 3-Pack G4 bestaat uit een klem met 3 functies voor je smartphone. In deze set zit een fisheye lens, groothoeklens en een macrolens. De klem werkt als een wasknijper en plaats je over de camera van je smartphone. Voor verschillende camera effecten draai je er 1 van de meegeleverde lenzen op. De universele klem werkt met smartphones, tablets, laptops en apparaten met dubbele lenzen.

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If anyone is like me and has trouble getting phone macro photos to not be blurry, I recommend using video mode instead since you have a greater chance of getting some frames in focus. Then find a frame that’s in focus and save it as an image. I use MPC-HC on my computer to do this, but you could also just screenshot specific frames on your phone if you don’t care about the smaller resolution from doing it that way.

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One technique to use if the camera is having trouble auto focusing is to put the camera on focus lock (which often comes with exposure lock as well). Then the camera will stop trying to autofocus and you can just move the phone slightly further or closer to the subject until the focus is correct.

I’m not sure how to focus lock on Android, but on iOS, just keep your finger on the subject for a few seconds. It takes some practice but it can be really helpful.

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On my android phone I downloaded a separate manual camera app (there are dozens of them) that allows me to manual focus, which allows me to lock focus and keep the phone from skittering off into the background,

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I have had success with the Moment case and lenses. They are pricier than the clip-on varieties but do a great job.

https://www.shopmoment.com/shop/macro-lens?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIjaiBo_fo5gIVS73ACh070QMAEAAYASAAEgIjPfD_BwE

Here are some shots I’ve done with it:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/31356009
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/22777523
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/20838456
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/24363935

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I’m using the KINGMAS 3-in-1 lens kit (with bag) that I picked up in a local store for around $4. It’s fit over a couple different phone cases that I’ve used and the lenses can easily be kept in a shirt or pants pocket. Does take a bit of practice to use and I still often find it difficult to get the focus right, but that’s the case with my DSLR as well. :-S

Some example photos with that lens:

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/15528076
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/18669834
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/24416846
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/36396237 (Pictures 1, 2)

Just keep in mind, when you buy a flat lens like the one I have seen above, that it forces to move the whole mobile close to the subject, which is scaring away insects and is kind of a pain when you have to shoot details of something between other stuff or on a leaf of a branchy plant, because you end up touching something else before getting to focus right
The clip on type I posted above allows to use as a probe. The lighting attachment is sometimes annoying indeed, but it is made so that it can be rotated axially, so it’s a problem which can be fixed.
I would probably get another one without lighting attachment though.

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I’ve been using a 2.8X Clip-on Macro Lens for a while, and one problem that I often have is lighting. Especially with captured small organisms that I bring home to photograph, the phone, being very close to the photoed subject, will often block off the light and I would have to move the light source to illuminate the organism from the side. This lighting is sometimes insufficient, resulting in darker photos (sometimes I will have photos of darker ants being pretty much a silhouette). So I’m wondering how do you illuminate the photoed subjects? I generally have less problem using natural light sources out in the field, so I’m planning on taking photos in the wild whenever I can (I only did that rarely before).

Some examples with clip-ons:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/37127080 (first 3)
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/28331942 (this one was photographed from the field and the natural light has a better effect)

This is why I sometimes use a hand lens (which has a lighting attachment around the object lens) to take photos. I usually have more successes with it so it can also be a substitution for people who don’t have clip-ons. Currently I’m using this method more often with captured organisms but it is very difficult to use in the field.

Some examples with hand lens:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/37127566
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/32630634
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/31033905

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My iPhone currently has an Otterbox case, and so I prefer to just clip-on a macro lens that will fit on over that rather thick casing. I wish I still had the original clip-on macro I bought as part of a three-lens set – it was super cheap, but it worked fine.

The lens that comes built into a rubber band (Easy MAcro) is cheap and also works surprisingly well, but I find it very fiddly to put on and off, unlike a clip-on.

I just now went onto Amazon and bought the cheapest set of clip-ons I could find, which was also the “Amazon’s Choice”. If I like it, I will buy a couple more sets to hold in reserve for when I lose the macro. I never use any other lens in the set but the macro.

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That also worked for me but I found that if I upload screenshots of a video I have to manually type back in the data (time, location etc.) again, so personally its not feasible for me.

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See this recent post for that:

https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/how-to-maintain-metadata-when-screen-shotting-video-observations/9114/

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I gave myself $60 5 years ago to try all of the little macos lenses I could find on Amazon at different price points and found that between $40 down to $1 there wasn’t a huge quality difference. I recommend typing in “Clip on macro lens” to Amazon and sort by price and look for the cheapest 3 lens set that has a macro lens in it. The biggest trick for using these lenses is that you need to move the phone to the subject to focus, don’t use your phones focus. Often times I will auto-lock my phones focus before even attempting to get close so that I don’t have to worry about it trying to focus while I move in. If you are unfamiliar with auto-locking your focus on your phone, most of the iphone and andriod systems will do it if you hold down on your screen while you have your camera on and you’ll get a “AF Lock” or similar message.

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I also really like my Moment lens. The ring “diffuser hood” is helpful as a guide to get the right distance with flat-ish things, but you can also shoot without it.
You have to use their iPhone case, but I the case is fine for me for general use. I’m afraid I’m going to lose the lens, cap, or diffuser all the time, but so far I haven’t. I need to work out a system for handling everything without dropping things.

Here are some examples of my shots:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/37166665
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/36817401
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/36745978
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/36766952

My husband is more interested in general photography and has done a lot with a regular DSLR camera. He’s using the Moment telephoto and wide angle lenses and likes them a lot.

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