If you have not noticed it yet, I really like Kickstarter. One can find so many new and interesting stuff there. Always. And when one actually understands that it’s not an online store, it can be a lot of enjoyment seeing on how projects unfold.
But why I mention it today? It’s because I received a reward from one of my recently backed projects, Blilps.
What are Blips?
Blips are small microscopic lenses that you stick on the back of you smartphone, to radically change the magnification level you are getting. There are three lenses, a macro, micro and ultra, each one with different magnification. I got only the first two, as ultra was added later, and I did not change my pledge.
How to use them?
The lenses come in a tiny package, with few instructions. Not that you need anything more. To use the lens, you just unstick it from the package and stick it onto the phone camera. Hard to say how many times you can stick and unstick them, but the maybe 20 times I tried it worked fine. They held fine when directly on the phone, but on phone with a skin applied they tended to get loose.
There is a special camera app from the manufacturer, but you don’t really need it. The one thing that it does is to allow to lock focus, but you can get the exact same thing by just using manual focus in any other photo app.
So the best way to focus is not to use autofocus, but to lock the focus at one distance and then just move closer or further with the phone, until you get the focus you want. I personally had quite problems with this, as my hands just shake too much, and with such shallow DOF it’s easy to just move the phone by a tiny bit and loose the focus. Doing this from a holder or a small tripod would result in much better results. Also using a burst mode can help, as the phone takes many photos quickly, so you get shots with different planes of focus.
Macro & Micro
The focus distance for the macro lens is 10-12mm and micro is 6mm. That really is close. Depending on the camera position on your phone, it can result that you are shading your own subject.
Here are some of my results. All show a normal photo (around 10cm from the subject), a photo with the macro lens attached, and a photo with the micro lens attached.
I need to experiment more with them, trying to get better results (and I usually don’t shoot macro :)), and if I get some good ones, you will see them on this blog.
Blips are an interesting product. I don’t think the goal here is to get a pro level macro shots, but more about having fun with a new stile of photography, without having to buy a very pricey macro lens. You can find out more about blips on the Smartmicrooptics website.