Smartphone cameras have come a long way, but still aren't perfect in every situation. Reader David writes in with a tip on how to keep your closeup photos clear for just a few dollars — without any DIY work beforehand.
I wanted to share with you guys a cool trick I came up with a few days ago. I was at work and someone had posted a pretty funny comic strip on our cork board. I wanted to snap a picture of it with my iPhone 3G to share on Facebook but I couldn't get close enough for it to be legible and in focus at the same time (since there's no variable focus or macro in a non-3GS iPhone). It was not the first time this had happened to me, so I started thinking of a workaround.
I know there have been several Lifehacker posts where they mention ways of getting zoom shots or macro pics with the iPhone, but most of them involve some piece of hardware (either commercial or makeshift) that isn't practical to be carrying around. So I figured if it could be something I could carry in my wallet at all times, or even tucked under my iPhone protective case, it would be ideal. That's when I thought of this: with just one or two super-slim magnifying cards (such as these $US1 cards from Amazon) I was able to take the attached photos. Best of all, I got them for $US1.50 each (but I know I overpaid since I remember seeing them at dollar stores in packs of more than one).
The card is placed directly in front of the lens. You can also use two cards back to back for greater close-ups. I carry two of them in my wallet now at all times.
Here is David's attempt without the cards:
Using one card:
And using two cards:
Magnifier Credit Cards [Amazon]