Eric Bailey Photography

Doing Science I: DIY Macro Lens ModJanuary 17, 2015

Part One: The Mod

Winter in New England is a great time to catch up on editing images or conducting photo experiments. Do not get me wrong. I go hiking and snow shoeing this time of year. I like being outside as much as possible. At the moment, the temperature keeps dropping for the weekend and there is not enough snow for snow shoeing. With conditions like this, I make a ton of coffee and get experimenting. I would rather tinker when it’s not that great to be outside, than spend a sunny summer day sweating inside trying to make the ideas in my head work in real life.

The idea I had was to modify an existing lens into a full-on macro lens. The lens I chose was a plastic lens combination composed on a Lomo Diana+ 55mm Lens and a Close-Up Attachment. The Diana+ lens is a toy camera lens. It came with a plastic lens that screws on and enables you to get closer to your subject. I like the Close-Up piece a lot. I have been experimenting with it lately to shoots landscape and create abstract imagery. It was named “Close-Up” rather than macro because you can only get about 6in to 7in from your subject. I wanted to push it a little further by adding another part to the assembly. I tried a few different magnifying glasses that I had from previous experiments. What I found was a plastic magnifying glass worked pretty well when held tight against the face of the Diana+ Close Up combo.

DIY-Macro-Lens-Breakdown

From Left to Right: Nikon Lens Piece for Diana+ Lenses, Diana+ 55mm Lens, Close-Up Attachment, Broken Magnifying Glass

DIY-Macro-Lens-Assembled-01

The Macro Lens Mod. Extremely professional looking, I know.

Part Two: Image Quality Study

What I did next was photograph a scene to show how the lens affects the image quality and focus. When I say “scene”, I mean “decorations in my living room”. As a control, I started by photographing the scene with a regular 50mm lens. Then I put on the Diana 55mm lens, and took an image for each time I added a piece of the Macro Assembly. If you are wondering, yes these things are really in my apartment. I know it looks like I live in a fun house.

Test  Scene  -01 - 50mm

Control Image – 50mm f/1.4 Nikon Lens

Test Scene 02 - Diana+ 55mm

Diana+ 55mm Lens

Test Scene 03 - Diana+ 55mm with Close Up Attachment

Diana+ 55mm Lens with Close-Up Attachment

Test Scene 04 - Diana+ 55mm-with-Close-Up-Attachment-and-DIY-Macro-Lens

DIY Macro Lens: Diana+ 55mm Lens with Magnifying Glass Taped to Close-Up Attachment

Part Three: Comparison Between Close-Up Lens and Macro Mod

With the scene in place, I took a set of photographs with the Close-Up Attachment and the Macro Assembly. I wanted to show what the lens can do, and how close you can get to the subject.

Natcho

Diana+ 55mm Lens with Close-Up Attachment

This distance from the face of the lens to the focal plane is roughly 7in to 7 1/4 in

Natcho - DIY - Macro Lens

Macro Mod

The distance from the face of the lens to the focal plane is roughly 3in

Natcho - DIY - Macro Lens with Scale

Macro Mod with Ruler

This is the same view as above, except I placed a ruler in the shot to measure the frame. The width of the frame with the subject in focus is 1 11/16in

Part Four: Who Cares?

I enjoy projects that involve a little tinkering with low-tech materials that result in the ability to create new imagery. The goal of this one was to modify a plastic lens to turn it into a macro lens. I think I was successful because I am now able to use an existing lens to get up to 3in away from a subject, only by adding a magnifying glass (that I got for free) and some electrical tape. Now that I know that the Macro Mod actually works, I want to bring it out into the field. It should not be too hard since it weights less than a Cliff Bar. Until then, here are some images I shot with the Macro Mod to take it for a test drive.

coffee, macro

2015: A Coffee Odyssey

Hans Solo, Lego

Lego Hans Solo

Luke Skywalker, Lego

Lego Luke

Boba Fett, Lego

Lego Boba Fett