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A drop of water adds macro depth to your iPhone's camera

Posted: , by Victor H.

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A drop of water adds macro depth to your iPhone's camera
The iPhone 4S has an amazing camera. You probably know this already - that should have been one of the reasons for you upgrading or buying the handset in the first place, but when it comes to macro photographs it could use a little boost to become even better. Alex Wild of the Scientific American proposes the simplest solution to excellent macro shots on the iPhone - put a droplet of water or similar liquid on the camera and shoot the picture through it.

The trick is of course to keep the droplet in the right place, so you’d need to carefully turn the handset around. Of course, this will work with other handsets, but with one important consideration. The iPhone’s camera is surrounded by glass so the water can’t get in the phone, but on other handset there’s the possibility of leaking water inside your device which could fatally damage it. So, use it with caution.

Overall, the pictures look stunning. “Dreamy, blurred at the periphery, and just a little bit…wet,” that’s the effect you get in Wild's words. Here’s two more tips for making the best out of your experiments:

  • Larger, rounder droplets lead to higher magnification, and as the droplet evaporates and shrinks magnification decreases.
  • The liquid lens is jiggly and sensitive to vibrations. The phone should be placed on a stable platform for maximum clarity.

Let us know whether you’ve tried this and how it worked for you - do you have any images to show off? Let us know in the comments below.


A drop of water adds macro depth to your iPhone's camera

26 Comments
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posted on 13 Mar 2012, 10:34 15

1. dejahu (Posts: 35; Member since: 01 Feb 2012)


Good to know Macgyver is still getting work these years.

posted on 13 Mar 2012, 10:34 25

2. andro. (Posts: 1935; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)


OMG! Carnage! Thousands of iphones are going to get water damaged by ifans pouring water on their iphones now. Looks like apple will be drumming up Alot more replacement iphone sales

posted on 13 Mar 2012, 10:35 18

3. -box- (Posts: 3714; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


"Amazing" camera? Sure it's good, but hardly amazing. It's no Nokia 808 PureView, which can be considered "amazing". That being said, neat idea and execution using fluid dynamics to get a different image

posted on 13 Mar 2012, 13:01 3

15. -RVM- (Posts: 329; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


Well, iPhone 4S camera is amazing, especially for its small size. Nokia 808's camera however, is from other world :)

posted on 14 Mar 2012, 10:49

26. deago78 (Posts: 156; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


PureView doesn't fall into the same category as any other phone camera. It should be compared to professional cameras. For a phone the 8MP camera on the iPhone 4S is a very clean and color temp accurate camera.

posted on 13 Mar 2012, 10:59 3

4. babyk (Posts: 221; Member since: 03 Nov 2011)


And of course the HTC Amaze camera in my opinion takes better photos than both iphone 4 and 4S

posted on 13 Mar 2012, 11:05 16

5. flopjoke (Posts: 42; Member since: 05 Jan 2012)


LOL why does it sound like Phone Arena is desperately trying to be on Apple's side all the time? It's just a phone and doesn't have an "amazing" camera. My four year old Nokia N82 performs way better.

There's no point in adding water on any lens in any camera in the world. That just ruins the device, period. You paid hundreds of dollars for it and you want to put water on it?

OH WAIT! I got it! Adding water "blurs" most of the image.. which means it hides the noise which all iPhone pics have! Ahh.. yes, very useful. Except more crap on flickr from now on.

posted on 13 Mar 2012, 11:20 3

6. REYNER (Posts: 187; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


phone arena giving apple much of an exposure compared to other manufacturers. every detail of it, phonearena never misses the chance of making an article about it! hmm.. do i hear someone saying unfair? yep thats what i feel also hahaha!

posted on 13 Mar 2012, 11:32 1

7. good2great (Posts: 1039; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)


i'm glad they are trying to even out the field on this site... it needs more apple users... its very unbalanced in the comment sections of each article

posted on 13 Mar 2012, 11:36 4

8. jmoita2 (Posts: 930; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)


They should just change it from Phonearena.com to iPhonearena.com...
This site is beginning to be as impartial as Fox news.

posted on 13 Mar 2012, 11:47 3

10. jd829 (Posts: 155; Member since: 24 Feb 2010)


Must be a slow news day

posted on 13 Mar 2012, 12:23 8

12. Obviously (Posts: 29; Member since: 29 Feb 2012)


This just in... Cup your hands around the microphone on your phone for ultimate sound quality!!

posted on 13 Mar 2012, 12:41

13. alpinejason (Posts: 260; Member since: 06 Sep 2011)


lol lol

posted on 13 Mar 2012, 12:44

14. alpinejason (Posts: 260; Member since: 06 Sep 2011)


lol lol

posted on 13 Mar 2012, 13:03

16. 1701nino (Posts: 228; Member since: 07 Dec 2010)


iphone 4S has the best camera,period.

posted on 13 Mar 2012, 13:18 3

18. Obviously (Posts: 29; Member since: 29 Feb 2012)


The fact that you enjoy all those pictures you're taking of yourself is not because the camera is good, in fact it is the diminished quality of the shots that's making your ugly mug a bit blurred and therefore more appealing :)

posted on 13 Mar 2012, 13:21 1

19. Dark4o90 (Posts: 205; Member since: 20 Feb 2011)


if that is the result (the flower) it's crap

posted on 14 Mar 2012, 04:36 1

24. whatevs (Posts: 18; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


Every time there is an article about an apple device on this website, tons of jealous d-bags post hate towards the device. Apple is ahead, by far, of all the competition. Nokia, Android, windows - whatever - all of these companies wish when it comes to mobile devices. iPhone by far smashes all other phones out there. Go ahead and come out with all the quad core madness. It doesn't matter, they will still glitch, lag, hesitate, hiccup and be unoptimized. You don't have to use the iphone, but don't be jealous because your POS doesn't perform to spec! Ha! Get off the apple articles! Go post on your laggy devices!! Haha!

posted on 14 Mar 2012, 06:10

25. frydaexiii (Posts: 1176; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)


"iPhone by far smashes all other phones out there",

Made out of glass? I don't think the other phones need to bother, the stupid owner will probably drop it and smash it to bits easily.

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