DIY - macro lens for 10$
English is not my major language, so be prepared for some gramatical errors. If You find some, please mail me. Thanks!
10$ for macro lens, sounds impossible, isn't it? But it is possible. In my 'on the cheap' tutorial I'll show You how to create macro lens with magnification ~1:1.16, and the total price shouln't raise above 10$. For who is this project designed? I've made this lens for my canon DSLR (eos 400D, also known as Rebel XTi) it should work with other canon DSLR and SLR cameras. The macro lens does not have auto focus, so You have to move Your camera to find the sharp focusing point. You will get that point moving the camera lens about 10cm to the photographed object.
What will You get? Take a look at some of my macro photos made with this lens (click for more):
What You will need?
- Smena (smiena/cmeha) model 'symbol' - popular 80's soviet camera,
- Canon body cap,
- Some (precise) screwdrivers,
- Small drill (I got 2mm),
- Big drill - 25mm,
- If You do not have big drill - file,
- Glue - epidan/poxipol - two component epoxide glue, or sth similar,
- Time (~1h) still depending on skills You have,
- Accuracy, two hands,
It is quite easy to get the canon's body cap, but it can be harder to get smena (smiena/cmeha) 'symbol' camera... how I got it? I bought it through allegro - my national service similar to ebay. How much does it costs? I paid 15PLN with transport (all in all about 5$) - the price varies from 10 to 40 PLN for smena symbol (check actual prices).
Ok, so we have all the things we need. Lets rock!
If You have succesfuly removed the lens from the body take a closer look at the lens. There are some unimportant parts, and we are going to remove them. It is easier than You think - there is a nut in the center of the lens. You have to unscrew it and two useless things will fall out of that easily. Well we can use one of them in the future.
There is another point, we need to remove the shutter - I didn't have enough small screwdrivers to unscrew the other screws and remove shutter the better way. I removed it in more brutal way - pilers helped me - If you want to use my method remember that You should be careful about the glass - if You scratch it with pillers all precious work will be lost and the lens will be useless. After removing shutter, screw the lens with the nut from previous point and change the subject of work.
Now it is time to take the cap, find the center of it, and drill smal hole in the center of it. There are few ways of finding the center of the cap - the more accurate the better, it is important so do not hurry with that - unaccuracy can destroy overall quality of prepared macro lens. If You have big drill use it to enlarge the small hole in cap - remember that the cap is quite fraigle, do not destroy it. If You do not have the 25mm drill find another way of making 25mm hole centered on the cap - I've used circle to draw the edge of 25mm round on the cap, and then drill it with 2mm drill - file will be helpful in getting the proper one, final shape. The more accurate the better - do not waste it all!
Ok, is is done, if You made everything precisely You can screw Your lens into the nut glued with the cap - and test Your brand new macro :)As You can see, it wasn't as hard as it could seem to be. You can change the scale by screwing or unscrewing the lens from cap, and by moving it's original built in regulation. You can also change the aperture size (move small round in the front of lens, it has two white marks on it. You should remove all the dust before mounting your brand new lens onto Your camera.
There are some images made with this lens 'on the fly', when I'll shoot some good macros I'll put them here too. I've resized them in photoshop, didn't correct anything. Camera: Canon EOS400D, lens: the one from this article. After few shots with this lens it will become easier to focus by 'moving' it.
To make it easier to understand I've recorded the entire process, here it goes: