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Even if you’ve got a newer phone with an auto-focus lens you may still be able to take advantage of this resourceful macro lens hack. Disassemble an old DVD player for the lens, fabricate a lens holder out of cardboard, and place it before the standard lens with some poster mount, and you’ve got yourself a decent DIY macro lens.

[cnflikt via DIYphotography]

Adam Flaherty

Adam Flaherty

I make cool stuff and write about other people making cool stuff on If you have something you think I should see, send me a tip.

  • salsa

    Very nice! I like the vignetting on these shots. I’ve gotten great results with my iPhone using a lens from a disposable camera– it’s a little plastic dome with a lip, so it’s easy to keep one nearby with a little duct or gaffer tape. Example close-up here:
    (yes, makers always seem to have scrap PCBs around…:)
    Stores with photo developing stations usually have a bin of disposable cameras, and people who work there have been happy to hand over a few when I explain I’m working on projects. CAREFUL when taking them apart since they have big capacitors which are usually partially charged– easy to discharge with a screwdriver.

  • Anonymous

    Does this work with CD player lenses, too?

  • NERD

    Will this work with a lens from a gaming system?

    Ex: PS3, PS2, Xbox.. etc.

  • Morten Skogly

    Nice! I tried this with my iPhone and it works great. The pictures turned out really interesting, you can see them on my blog over at

    I used the lens from an older cd-rom drive, but it magnified the image way more than the examples on this page, which I find really interesting. I think I will have to test different lenses, and perhaps try to find some kind of solution for holding several different lenses to make it easy to swap them?

    I am also curious about the black vignette around the edges. I just taped my lens with clear tape straight to the phone, which works well, but I like the effect of the vignette here, I suppose it comes from the cardboard that perhaps is a little higher than the lens and therefore casts a shadow? Must be experiented with!

  • Damian

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