For the past few weeks I have been playing around with the four different lenses from Blips’ LabKit 2. This allowed me to do macrophotography with my phone, as well as turn it into a small microscope.
The first time I found the lenses online and saw some pictures and clips made with them I was a bit skeptical, and of course had to try it out for myself. So, i immediately got my hands on the LabKit 2 and started to test it out.
The LabKit 2 comes with some different stuff:
- Four lenses with different magnification: The Macro Plus lens (5x), the Macro lens (10x), the Micro lens (20x), and the Ultra lens (33x)
- Three prepared glass slides (1 botanical, 1 histological, 1 zoological) and 2 plain glasses
- A stage for the specimen and a stage for your phone or tablet
- One pipette (4ml)
- One light source
The first thing I tested was the macro lenses; the Macro Plus lens (5x) and the Macro lens (10x). The macro lenses took a few minutes to get used to and learn how far away from an object I should be to get a sharp image. But, after practicing for some time, I was able to get some really nice pictures. A trick that helped a lot with the focus was to disable the cameras auto focus. On an iPhone this is done by tapping and holding on the camera screen, and don’t worry. The camera will be back to normal the next time you open it, and you can also enable the auto focus againg by tapping on the screen.
During my first "macro-adventure" I found that medium sized insects like flies and beetles, as well as small flowers and other things of that size was the best size for the Macro Plus lens (5x). The best object size for the Macro lens (10x) was aphids, ants and other tiny insects.
The far easiest was to photograph and film objects that moved slowly or not at all and being able to hold them in/on my hand improved the stability of the shoots quite a bit.
In my opinion the Macro Plus lens (5x) was the best and easiest to use for macro photography because the Macro lens (10x) had to be very close to the object, so holding the phone and specimen still and in the right focus distance became slightly more difficult. To use the Macro lens (10x) properly, the best thing is to look at completely still samples you are able to bring home where there is no wind and the only thing you need to worry about is keeping the phone still and at the right distance.
When I first started to look for insects and other stuff to take pictures of, I had a hard time stopping again because it was such a fun, easy and amazing way to look at the world. If I had the time I am sure I could spend hours looking for new and exciting insects and other beautiful things to photograph. The macro lensees was so easy to use that it would be an educational and fun thing to do for kids or the whole family.
The next thing I tested was the micro lenses; the Micro lens (20x) and the Ultra lens (33x). To use these, the LabKit 2 comes with a small stage for the phone as well as one for the specimen, where you are able to fit the light source under. It is possible to use them free hand, but this is very difficult and requires a steady hand.
The first thing I looked at with the micro lenses was the three prepared slides that comes with the LabKit 2. One thing I noticed was that I was able to resolve more detail if I added a drop of water on top of the slide before looking at it. This has to do with the refractive index of water vs. air and the way the lens is curved, but I will spare you the details. This also means that observing a water sample from e.g. a pond is no problem since the lenses works well with things in water. The quality of the footage from this kind of sample actually surprised me a lot, in a good way. The magnification resembles that of a regular microscope on a total magnification of around 100x, and when you get the focus right it actually looked close to a real microscope which is amazing considering that this is achieved only with a plastic blob on your phone camera.
I have really enjoyed using the Blips lenses for the past few weeks, and I will keep using the macro lenses for macro photography. I now carry them with me in my pocket almost every time I leave the house! The micro lenses are a simple way of looking at the microscopic organisms in e.g. a pond water sample. The LabKit 2 comes with all four lenses and is a cheap and easy way of getting started in both microscopy and macro photography. With these lenses you are able to look at the world around you in an entirely new way, and the only thing you need to do so, is your phone and endless amounts of curiosity.
Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored by Blips and I am not getting paid in any way by the company for writing this review. It was my own idea and the thoughts on the products are my own personal views and experiences.