Using Quality Optics With A Webcam

[Devon Croy] built a case to join a webcam sensor with a camera lens. The box is a PVC conduit box you’d find at a home center. He used JB Weld to attach four bolts to the back of the box. These are used to fine-tune the mounting plate for the webcam sensor to ensure it’s at the focal point of the lens. The lens connects through a couple of extension tubes to an adapter mounted in the center of the box’s cover plate. The setup above shows a macro lens that takes pretty good pictures.

If you need images of really tiny things you should look into a microscope adapter for your camera.

16 thoughts on “Using Quality Optics With A Webcam

  1. Sad… not only did I immediately recognize the KMZ-build Zenit lens, but I also used the same lens (and a Zenit 12XP) in a similar experiment, mounting a cheap webcam sensor behind the shutter curtain with gaffer’s tape.

  2. Why is it that when someone does this particular hack, they either turn out to be an entomologist. A huge picture of some insect is the second-to-last thing on earth I want to see when I follow a link to someone’s site, imho.

  3. @signal7: a picture of an insect is the best example for macro-optics. You can see, how close you can get (insects are very small…usually) and how good the focusing and DoF is (has the picture some nice sharp focus? Does the DoF go deep enough?)

    What you can’t see on a picture of an insect, but on that one of the NEC µC, is the distortion of the whole rig. I don’t know if its the lens (probably not), the Webcam guts or the rest of the setup, but you clearly can see how straight lines get bond at the edges of the picture.

  4. This thing has some major distortion issues.

    It’s clearly visible, that only the center of the image is focused, although the chips are photographed in parallel to the image plane.

    Was any of the pictures made with a small aperture? (high aperture value) E.g. higher than 8?

  5. Put this on the Spy Video TRAKR to fix the camera! And you where wondering what the flat bay was for on the TRACKR…

    Those Helios 44-2 lenses typically go on old Russian Zenit cameras (ebaY is your friend). They will fit Pentax cameras too, or so I’m told. The Helios 44 series of lenses are famous for their Bokeh effect in creative photography (Wikipedia knows about this).

    Drifting further into the sunset… The Helios 44M is auto-aperture capable and mates nicely with the very popular Zenit-TTL. Unfortunately you can’t get the 1.3x Volt battery for the Zenit-TTL any more but you can get 1.5V cells. This makes the light meter off by one stop or so (now there’s something to hack).

    Used to be you could find Zenit-TTL bodies (the black ones with non-Cyrillic writing are prolific and typically good buys) with 44M lenses for around $50 bucks plus shipping, if you look a bit.

    Now… where was I? Ah yes, time for my medication.

  6. @asheets i didn’t have the proper tap on hand when i did this but i did have a tube of jb and the right bolts

    @signal7 actually im a CS major, and other than that 8052 mcu all i have is a hundred or so boring eproms and some random insects that happened to be unfortunate enough to cross my path

    ill try to round up some old pic mcu’s with windows sometime but im in the middle of building a cross slide for the camera

    i might try this someday too

  7. @Nomad i usually used f10 to f16 to get enough contrast, makes everything really noticeable with the narrow depth of field

    taking pictures of eproms and mcus through the window is problematic because the quartz window usually isn’t flat but more of a bubble which causes the edges to bend, at some point ill try with bare silicon

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