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While you can use a mobile device's digital camera at the standard settings you can often see much more detail by using the macro setting on the camera.  A macro setting changes the focus of the camera so it can focus on very close objects. The macro setting is for photographing objects  within a few inches or feet away.  My phone's digital camera has a  macro setting that works within one centimeter, to get very close shots (light can be an issue when you get that close).  You can use the macro setting to improve your ability to see small details, similar to using a magnifying glass.  You might want to use a small tripod to hold the camera steady.    Don't forget to change away from the macro setting when you are finished (if the phone's camera doesn't do it automatically).  If the camera is set at macro and you are trying to take a normal picture then the focus will be set wrong and the image will be out of focus.   I know of one teacher who took a few pictures up close on the macro setting, and then forgot to change back to the normal setting, and she used up a lot of her device's memory space with the pictures all out of focus. 

    With the macro setting you can often get so close that you create a highly magnified image without any accessory lenses.  Use the macro and get a glimpse of worlds that you may not have noticed.


The two images to the right are of the micro printing on a twenty dollar bill, taken with a Casio 2800.  The surface of the lens was less than two centimeters away from the bill.  An additional light source was used because the camera was blocking the ambient light. macro of microprint on a twenty

macro of microprinting on a twenty
click to enlarge

Here the macro setting on the camera was used to capture an image of the Lincoln memorial on the back of a penny.  Notice that when enlarged you can see Lincoln inside the memorial. macro showing Lincoln in the penny
click to enlarge
The macro setting was used to view the detail of the stamens and pistils of this small blossom. macro of a flower with a ruler [flower_ruler.jpg 50279 bytes)

Macro of a flower's structure [flower.jpg 44862 bytes)

The tiny ant in this bright tropical flower was invisible until it was photographed using macro.

Many features of this small spider can now be observed thanks to macro.


The macro setting is perfect for zooming in progressively to reveal more and more detail in this mosquito. Image of a mosquito [mosq1.JPG 89336 bytes)

Image of a small mosquito [mosq2.JPG 89285 bytes)

image of a mosquito head [mosq3.JPG 78925 bytes)

macro1.JPG (606664 bytes) macro2.JPG (472631 bytes)

Digital cameras in education