Sometimes the simplest solution is the best, and when it comes to high technology it’s surprising how often that proves to be the truth. Take camera phones, for example. They’ve been around a long time now, and every year people introduce new products and gadgets to extend their value, most of which are either boring (oh look another iPhone case) or too complicated for their own good. But now and again, thankfully, we get something which is brilliant, simple and cheap, and it renews our faith in human ingenuity all over again.
The Easy-Macro Lens is one such product. We first learned about this device from a Reddit forum, and had to buy one and test it ourselves to see whether it really worked as advertised. Surely taking macro shots with a phone couldn’t be as simple as this?
The concept is so clever. Embed a macro lens in an elastic band and then you can attach it to just about every camera ever made, simply by wrapping it around the handset body. Not only that, but you can make the product so thin that it can be carried around in a wallet, ready for instant use when you’re out and about.
So that’s the theory, and although simple, most of you will spot the obvious potential problems. Is the lens good enough, will the elastic stretch to fit all handsets? What about wear and tear over time? The list is fairly long, and we’ve got to say that so far we’re totally blown away by how well this product works.
First, as far as fitting goes, it seems to work brilliantly with just about any size of phone. On the left above, a Samsung Note, one of the widest smartphones on the market, and on the right above an old Nokia N series, which is about as narrow as an ancient cell phone can be. The makers claim that the product is designed to fit devices with circumferences from 4.75 inches (12 cm) to 16 inches (40.6 cm). First test, passed.
So what about wear and tear and lens quality. Well to the first, we’ll have to admit that we’ve only been testing it for a few days, and so far there’s no sign that the product is likely to fall apart. The plastic lens has remained clear, although the makers recommend you keep it wrapped in some way while in your wallet. We keep ours in the plastic wrap it came in to avoid scratches.
As for lens quality, we’ll let the results speak for themselves. Bear in mind that this is a $15 product, which is designed more for convenience than top quality photography, but even so, we’re again incredibly impressed by how well it works. Sure, there’s a significant softening in the corners of the image, but for some reason we think that actually adds to the results. In a kind of quirky characterful way.
Click on the photos for a larger view. Note, we have cropped and resized these images for the web, but otherwise they are untouched and straight from the camera.
What do you think? We think these are pretty good, and for $15, we’re going to go with outstanding. We’ve got to admit a soft spot for macro photography, it’s kind of like having your own microscope in your pocket, but up till now it was too much hassle to carry one around with you. Now this little product has given us just what we need to indulge our hobby at any time and any place. Fabulous!
Verdict: Outstanding use of high tech ghetto principles to craft a genuinely useful cell phone accessory.