Friday, December 28, 2007

Update: Using a Binocular Objective lens as a magnifier

The roof prism in my small cheap Bushnell binocular got misaligned so I took apart the binoculars to fix it. It wasn't easy to put back together again so I just discarded the binocular but kept the objective lens. I read somewhere in my wanderings through the Web that the objective lens and actually any cheap magnifying lens could be held up to the camera lens to provide a cheap macro arrangement. Since my tiny Panasonic FX3 that I prefer to use over other cameras I own doesn't have filter mounting ring threads, the objective lens held up to the camera lens was a good solution for adding more macro power to the in camera macro.

I just handhold the binocular lens in contact with the cameras lens housing - see photo below. It works well probably doubling the power of the in camera macro. Of course different objective lenses would give more or less magnification. The binocular lens are also color corrected so color fringing is less of a problem than using a magnifying lens. The depth of field (DOF)seems to remain the same as with the in camera macro but the objects in the background are very nicely blurred much more so than with only the camera's macro. Definitely an improvement.

I also understand why these Bushnell binoculars were so cheap. Both objective lens are scratched. The scratches were unnoticeable when using it as a binocular and it doesn't seem to affect the photos either. I guess rather than throwing out flawed lenses they just created a bargain basement binocular.

Here's the objective lens of the binoculars and how it is hand held in front of the normal camera lens. Notice the lens has two elements or pieces of glass glued together. It also has a color corrected coating for truer colors and less color fringing.

You can see why I would prefer to use the Panasonic since it's much, much, lighter in weight, smaller, thinner and definitely more portable than the Canon especially when the lens adapter tube is attached to Canon so it can accept macro lenses.


MrBrownThumb said...

Hey Ki,

Do you happen to go to I saw an instructable recently on using a microscope and a digicam to photograph some small things. It was pretty cool now I just need a microscope.

Ki said...

Hi Mr. Brownthumb,
Sorry for this late response. I just happened upon the Instructables site just last month. It is amazing how inventive people are. Makes me overjoyed as a DIY advocate.

I did see the digicam microscope article. Actually I think there were two. Very cool but you couldn't get too many live thing to hold still unless you glued them onto a slide! But if you had a video cam that would be even cooler.