Monday, 12 December 2011

Macro on Monday - Guess What + iPhone Microscope Revisited

Yes folks, last weeks 'Guess What' was a fungus, whether it would be classified as a toadstool or as a mushroom I have no idea. Either way congratulations and  gold star  go to Adrian, Keith, John, Wilma and Glo.

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The best identification I could come up with is the Sphagnum Brownie (Hypholoma elongatum) which, along with dozens of others, was growing in the moss in my back garden.

I was at a loss until the last minute this morning as to what to use for this week's puzzle picture. A while ago I showed how a cheap tiny hand held microscope could be used with an iPhone to get quite reasonable micro / macro photos. At that time I had to hold the microscope next to the phone's camera lens. Since then I bought a package which included another microscope and a purpose made holder which clips on the phone.

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The plate which holds the microscope just clips on the phone and the eyepiece of the microscope plugs in the hole. The fit is quite stiff and needs some pressure but as the plastic of the holder is flexible and not brittle pressure can be applied without fear of cracking it.

The new microscope was advertised as 60x magnification. The first one I bought was 45x. Now these are area magnifications. i.e. 45x bigger area which is about 6.7x linear. A 1mm long object should appear about 6.7mm long when viewed through the magnifier. Others who have reviewed these things have stated that the figures seem optimistic and in reality probably somewhat smaller in real life.

After a few test shots I found the 45x gave superior results. I found it difficult to get the 60x in focus and the results were not as sharp. These things do not have a manufacturers name and may have come from different sources or there may be little in the way of quality control. It is possible to buy the holding plate by itself and I think some are advertised with the 45x microscope.

The bottom of the microscope consists of a clear plastic cylinder with part cut away to let the LEDs shine through. The unit is in focus when this is resting on the object to be photographed which makes it easy to use. So far I haven't needed to use the LEDs as the phone camera is quite sensitive and there has been enough external daylight.

At last I get round to this week's mystery photo (sighs of relief all round) taken with the above set up using the 45x magnifier and the Camera+ app.
Guess What:

Clue: The Beatles said it can't buy me love.

No prizes. Just for fun.


  1. It has to be a five pence piece. I can't find one with the punch marks so perhaps not.

  2. Well, it's money, but without checking my small change, I've no idea which denomination.
    Good result from that set up though John.

  3. a 5 pence coin. "Money can't buy me love." very good resolution and lighting with that set up!


  4. Thought id leave a comment on your blog and say hello. Richard from an Amish settlement in Pennsylvania.

  5. Hello Richard. Thank you for visiting and for leaving a comment. I have found it fascinating reading through your blog.

  6. No idea the five pence was so holey and pitted! amazing shot!

  7. Okay ~ huff puff ~ did I make it in time? Time is money ~ so it must be coinage. We call five pence 'a nickel' over here :)


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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