Double dose of iPhone camera hacks

Why take an iPhone, a slim device that already takes decent photographs and add several macro magnifying lenses? For [Mathijs], simply because he could, But now he can take some awesome macro pictures.

[Bhautik] (maker of the tilt-shift Plungercam) took the concept further. With some more trademark plumbing supplies and a lot of duct tape, secured an interchangeable SLR lense assembly to the back of his iPhone.

Check out some photos from both setups after the break.


[Bhautik's] (Before hack/After)


  1. HIrudinea says:

    Is that a telephoto lense on your iPhone are are you just happy to se me?

  2. Godi says:

    Mathijs’ hack is really awesome, unbelievable that is taken with a phone camera (not iPhone btw)

  3. ThunderBird says:

    Very nice, although I do note one hell of a chromatic aberration on the latter two pics, more visible on the second (the fountain), and the skyscraper features a bit of spherical distortion.

    Think the axes and focal lengths could be matched up better to reduce these?

  4. pod says:

    the fingertip one is especially awesome

  5. Skitchin says:

    I’ve actually taken photos through the lens of both a pocket magnifying glass, as well as a kaleidoscope using my crappy Motorola SLVR(funny story why I still have one actually :P), used my cheapo digital camera as well, though it was harder to keep everything lined up.

  6. jim says:

    I never realized how clean my fingers are…

  7. stunmonkey says:

    WTF? I mean really. WTF?

    It invalidates any benefits of either a camera phone or a full-sized camera, while keeping not only all of the disadvantages of both simultaneously but even managing to throw in a few more for good measure.

    I love screwing around but what really is the point here?

  8. tom says:

    There’s an ancient saying ‘Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!’

    Oh and what stunmonkey said.

  9. mikeymike says:

    wow thats not an iphone im pretty sure thats an htc of some sort

  10. jd says:

    The point is that he creates, while you complain.

  11. andrew says:

    haha yea it looks like it actually is an iphone but with a really fatty case

  12. oxanita11 says:

    I don’t like this.

  13. therian says:

    sorry but holding lenses, (binoculars telescope or etc) next to camera do not make it into hack, something useful or creative.

  14. Gerd says:

    He can, that’s right. But why shouldn’t he? If he’s got the time and the idea, what’s the problem?

  15. Smonson says:

    It’s spelled “lens”. Why do people keep making this error?

  16. HEI says:

    O RLY?

    Noun 1. lense – a transparent optical device used to converge or diverge transmitted light and to form images

  17. tom says:

    Ok he can, and he did. But I don’t consider ductaping an expensive SLR lense to an expensive camera phone a hack. Escpecially when the end product is impractical to use and the end result is far worse then any of the products original uses.

  18. Steve says:

    wow thats not an iphone im pretty sure thats an htc of some sort

    Posted at 11:26 pm on Dec 1st, 2009 by mikeymike

    having one myself it is an iphone in a protective case….. moron

  19. therian says:

    So mikeymike didnt recognize iphone in a protective case, and Steve own iphone.. so who is a moron ?

  20. arcnemisis says:
  21. Niko says:

    The phone with the macro lens is a htc hero (Euro version).

  22. MS3FGX says:

    Not to burst Bhautik’s bubble (as he says on the page he thinks this is the first time anyone has done this), but a nearly identical commercial product has been around for awhile:

    Granted it isn’t using a high-quality SLR lens…but the example shots are about 100x times better than what he is currently getting with his setup (assuming that shot is legitimate and not a mock-up from the manufacturer, the page doesn’t say).

  23. Bhautik says:

    @ThunderBird: Yeah, first off the alignment of the optical elements could be a _lot_ better – I’m tweaking that now. Also, the little DVD lenses I’m using aren’t tweaked for visible light – the coating they’ve got on them are for laser wavelengths, so they are a likely contributor to the chromatic artifacts in the image.

    @MS3FGX: Yeah, I’ve seen quite a few of the cases – some really nice ones with sets of interchangeable lenses too. It’s what inspired me to put an actual EF-mount on the coupler :)

    The main point of the hack was an exercise in seeing what it takes to build an optical coupler – what works, what doesn’t. Plus it’s much more interesting than getting that info out of a textbook :)

  24. bobob says:

    what a waste of good duct tape.

  25. Hatey McHatesalot says:

    For small values of “decent”… the iCam is on the mediocre side to begin with and those are some pretty distorted pictures! G1 has a fairly nice camera for a phone. Personally I use my SLR lenses on my SLRs, it works surprisingly well.

    As for originality I suppose some Macolytes might think Apple invented digital cameras with the iPhone because until Apple copies an idea it doesn’t register, but people have been aiming various digicams through their binoculars to see what happens for at least 1,000 years.

  26. stunmonkey says:

    Someone else on another site put it beautifully;
    “It’s like hooking Bose speakers up to your Gameboy”

  27. tom says:

    Preferably using duct tape.

  28. bluefoxx says:

    The iphone’s excuse for a camera is bad enough without adding to the awful quality.
    And what a waste of perfectly usable EF-S lenses!
    I’ll admit that the wonky photos can be neat, but you can make them look wacky in software afterwards, especially if you have a camera that uses the EF-S lenses.

  29. ryan harkins says:

    thats def a iphone in the pic

  30. Mr Foo says:


    Why would anyone who cares about audio hook Bose speakers up to anything, anyway?

    Personally, I think it’s a nice enough hack. The distortion and colour shift adds to it, rather than taking away. And, you may not have noticed, but it gives DOF, manual focus, and all the other good stuff that decent lenses give.

    It’s neat.

  31. tom says:

    @Mr Foo:

    ‘The distortion and colour shift adds to it, rather than taking away. And, you may not have noticed, but it gives DOF, manual focus, and all the other good stuff that decent lenses give.’

    You have to be joking right? If by adding you refer to a – b = a + (-b) I totally agree.

  32. KnowOrange says:

    Thanks allot for sharing this great post.!
    Here, I found a youtube video about xbox live hacks- that I would like to share- xbox live hacks
    but seriously, great post and thanks allot !!
    I look ahead to your next article !!

  33. Damian says: <– here are some photos taken with a phone camera and a dvd lens. And the result… hope u like it :)

  34. Steve says:

    Sure doesnt seem like a hack more like a mod would be nice to see someone build an injection molded case to acvtually receive the lense properly so as to eliminate abberation and undesirable effects

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