Easy-Macro Lens Review by Annette Osborn & Nicki Lautemann
‘Macro Photography & Your Cell Phone… Friends at Last’
Are you a fan of macro photography? Have you found yourself wanting to take photos of the little things in life when and where you’d like? If you answered yes, and you have a cell phone with a camera, you’re gonna want to check this out. It’s the Easy Macro! It’s essentially a wide rubber band (think about those cause bracelets…it looks like one of those) with a little lens in it. Just stretch the band over your phone so that the lens is over your camera lens, and you’ve got yourself the ability to take nice macro shots whenever you want!
Annette: My name is Annette Osborn. I am a photography enthusiast with macro photography being a true passion for the past few decades. I had the opportunity to test and review the Easy-Macro Lens; a small, ultra portable, inexpensive, macro lens that attaches to your smart phone by way of an elastic band.
Nicki: My name is Nicki and I am many things. Among them, I’m a fan of macro photography, and I’ve gotten more seriously into it this past year, when my husband got me my first DSLR. I live in beautiful Colorado with my husband and our daughters, and we take every opportunity to explore the wonders of our state, including the fine details.
Annette: Upon receiving the Easy-Macro Lens I opened the package with great anticipation with my 13 year old son, as he is interested in photography and loves macro photography. The little phone shaped cards, one being a place to store the lens and the other with the instructions printed on it, were very clever and cute. My son’s first words after reading the instruction card was “which way is right side out”. Now, I knew that the lens is “correct” whichever way it is put on, but my son, who I was using for a test “kid on the street” purchaser, didn’t, and the instructions didn’t state that either way forward was ok. Not an important point, but something that a non-photographer might be confused about.
Nicki: My first impression of the Easy Macro was two-fold. I immediately adored the packaging. I’m a sucker for fun, and I found the presentation of the Easy Macro to be fun. There’s a little card– smaller than a credit card or business card–which the band can “live” on when you’re not using it. It can then fit nicely into your pocket, wallet, purse, camera bag, phone wristlet, etc. Wherever you’d put your phone. However, my second thought was that this thing is not going to last. At least not with me and my ways. I’m more of a stuffer of bags, as opposed to a nice, neat tucker. Maybe if I’m extra careful….
Ease of use
Annette: The instructions are simple and concise and I was excited to be taking quite wonderful, macro shots just a few minutes after strapping it on to my phone. There is a learning curve, mostly having to do with the best way to hold the phone and back away from the object in order for it to focus on the subject properly, but with a little patience it was an easy and fun experience.
Nicki: After a slight learning curve, I found the Easy Macro to truly be easy to use. It takes a steady hand, and a bit of patience as the camera focuses, but it still boils down to pointing and clicking. With a little practice, you begin to realize how close you should/ shouldn’t be to get focused, which the phone does for you once it’s in the right range. If you’re simply too close, very slowly pull the phone away from the subject until focus is achieved. (Do note, you can’t use the light/flash on your phone, so you will need to think about the light available wherever you are. We have a snake-like light that’s bendable; I used that for a couple photos. You can get creative with lighting; like you would with your regular camera!) I use an iPhone 5 and I think the Easy Macro fits best with a case. I was playing around with another camera for my phone as well, one which needs the case off, and I found that the Easy Macro seemed a bit loose without the case. This caused a soft fogginess and I felt the need to press the band closer to the phone, to make the lenses more flush with one another. Once I put my case back on, I didn’t find this to be so much of a problem. I personally like to have a case on my phone, so I think the ability to use the band with a case is a huge bonus for the Easy-Macro.
Quality / Durability
Annette: Having only had it a week, I’m not sure how well the elastic will hold up in the long run. Heat, cold, UV rays, and constant stretching plays havoc on regular rubber bands and I assume will do a number on this as well. As can be seen in the photo, there is a little fraying of the rubber on the top and bottom of the lens where it attaches. It remains to be seen how well it will hold up with enthusiastic usage by myself and my children. I will say that even with constant use this week, the lens shows no sign of separating from the elastic.
I found that the Easy-Macro Lens takes very respectable, pretty, macro pictures. Although the photos taken with the lens don’t have the crispness of macro shots taken with my digital camera and macro gear, the pictures are of good quality, and definitely worth uploading, editing, and sharing just as I do with my regular macro shots. I have not yet tested the Easy-Macro against other clip-on-your-phone lenses, but I find them very good.
Nicki: I’m pleasantly surprised with the quality of the images. I think it’s amazing that such crisp, close photos can be achieved on a phone! When you also factor in the affordability of this lens, it’s really quite remarkable. However, I’ve been careful with it so far, (and I’ve had it for about 5 days as I write this,) but I am already noticing small scratches and scuffs on the lens. Additionally, I’m fearful that the lens will break apart from the rubberband; it seems like it’s inevitable. I think I would feel a little better if there was extra rubberband encasing the lens. Rather, it’s like the lens is connecting two ends of rubberband.
Nicki: If you find taking quick photos of the details in your everyday life fun, you’ll find the fun factor to be high. If you like to take close ups of things and have your friends and family guess what it is, you’ll find the Easy Macro to be an essential part of your “gear.” If you find gadgetry to be fun, you’ll want to add this little gadget to your goods. It’s inexpensive too, and inexpensive is fun!
#wishlist: I do wonder about different colors for the bands, as coordinating your case and rubberband could also be fun!
#bonus: How about the FUNctionality Factor. This could be a very useful tool for all sorts of trades. It’s not always practical to carry around a DSLR with a macro lens, regardless of
your job or hobby.
Annette: High, high marks for fun. Everyone in my family has either a smart phone or an I pod and everyone was waiting for a turn to take pictures with it. With the Easy-Macro lens you can focus on objects that are not viewable with the naked eye. I see this as not only a great addition to my gear for on-the-move photography, but as an educational and non-couch related form of recreation for the kids.
Ease of Storage and Portability
Annette: I made it a point to take my Easy-Macro out with me. I put it on the storage card and put it in my wallet in my purse. I did find that with just the normal movement and rubbing while being carried, it picked up some scratches and a little hazing. One of the strengths of the Easy-Macro Lens is its portability, but a more protected way of carrying it would certainly be a plus. It need not add tremendously to the price point. A paper or cloth sleeve that the storage card fits in would probably protect it enough to be safely stored in a wallet or purse.
Nicki: I think this is the greatest feature of this lens. It’s flexible and unobtrusive. You can keep it on its card and tuck that away, you can keep it in your pocket, or stuffed in any small space, or if you’ve got a dainty wrist, you can even wear it! You can take it anywhere and always be ready to get awesome shots. And because of its stretchability, you can share it with your friends. It won’t matter whether they have the same phone or not. You’ll be the life of the party with your Easy-Macro!
How likely am I to use it again?
Annette: I plan on making the Easy-Macro Lens a regular item to take wherever I go. It is great fun to use and the price makes it easy to allow my children to use as well. I certainly plan on buying several for stocking stuffers or inexpensive gifts for friends with smart phones. (i.e. most of my friends have smart phones) I look forward to the Easy-Macro Lens being available for sale in multiple venues. I am excited for the possibility of a higher magnification lens as well.
Nicki: I’m certain I’ll use this again. (Probably my kids too!) I love macro photography, and while this won’t replace my camera and my favorite method of the reverse lens, this will be a very fun addition to my purse–no matter how stuffed full it is.
Annette: As described earlier:
- Scratches and hazes easily related to unprotected storage card
- Rubber band system may wear out easily
- Picture not as crisp as digital camera macro system
- Easily scuffed/scratched
- Not as clear as some macro lenses available
- Based on the wear and tear in less than a week, it seems likely to break, as most rubber bands eventually do.
Annette: Although I was able to find negatives to the Easy Macro Lens, the positives far outweigh the negatives in my assessment.
- It’s very affordable. With the cost of most macro devices and accessories, the Easy-Macro Lens is refreshingly inexpensive and I and my children can use it without worrying constantly about the cost of replacement.
- It’s ultra-portable. You can take it literally everywhere. With a little sheath for it to ride in, I see it making a stylish bracelet.
- It takes good quality, high magnification photographs, which, of course, is what macro is all about.
- Flexible, making it easy to store
- Stretchy, making it easy to share/use on different devices
- So easy, even kids can use it
- No need to remove your case
Without vs With the Easy Macro
Nicki: Capturing a photo on your phone is nice, but capturing a photo using the Easy Macro is nice MAGNIFIED. You can see the differences in the four side by side photos below.
Rating – Out of 5?
Annette: 4.5 out of 5
Nicki: 4 out of 5
To support Easy-Macro head on over to Kickstarter to help them fund their next project (it includes a new 10X lens!).