For about three years I used a Nikon Coolpix and enjoyed taking photos of snowflakes in the winter. I struggled with the autofocus, so I figured I would invest in a digital camera with manual focus and macro. After much time and web surfing, I found the Canon SX130IS which has very good reviews, manual focus, and a reasonable price.
I received my camera and was pleased with the quality and features, but I was disappointed to find that it would not allow zooming in the macro mode. I could not get close to small things (snowflakes, insects, or anything else).
I thought of the idea of making an extension tube from PVC pipe. I measured the outside diameter (OD) of my lens and found it to be 2 1/4″. At Lowes I found that the inside diameter (ID) of ABS (sewer) fittings is just over 2 1/4″ and they are black to match my camera.
As you can see in my first photo, I purchased a coupler, female adapter, male adapter, and a length of 2″ PVC pipe (could use ABS). I cut a 1 3/8″ piece of PVC (use a hacksaw or other handsaw) and a 1/2″ piece.
My second photo starts the assembly process. I used a small piece of rubber drawer liner formed in a loop with duct tape and slipped it over the lens.
In the third photo I have glued (although with the tight fit glue may not be necessary) the coupler, the 1 3/8″ piece of PVC pipe, and the female adapter together. I also had a small good quality magnifying glass which I cut the sheath off and it fit nicely in the end of the male adapter. I pushed in (no glue) the 1/2″ piece of PVC pipe to hold the magnifying glass in place.
The fourth photo shows the extension tube attached to the camera.
The fifth photo shows the entire assembly on the camera. It looks a little nicer than a potato chip can and yet gives quality photos until the time I may choose to upgrade in the future.
Upon my first trial I found that my camera not only zooms in macro now, but I do not really need to have it in manual mode to take macro shots.
It works fantastic in the Easy Auto mode. I merely point, zoom (up to 48x), move the camera back or forward for partial focus, press the shutter part way to complete the focus, and then press the shutter to take the photo.
I also love using the two-second selftimer which prevents camera shake for taking my macro shots. I seem to have no problems with lighting. On occasion the camera says to raise the flash; I usually ignore this and the photo still looks good. (For snowflakes flash would not make the snowflakes as visible). For regular shots with the camera I can merely unthread the male adapter (containing the magnifying glass) from the camera.
I really enjoy taking photos of snowflakes, although I know there is a risk of ruining my camera in my cold garage. As you can see with my photos, I also enjoy taking photos of insects, plants, and other small things in God’s creation. I know I can buy extension tubes and lens, but until I upgrade I can still get some impressive shots with my inexpensive point and shoot. I trust you will enjoy macro with your digital camera as much as I am enjoying it
About The Author
Steven Burbank is a hobbyist photographer who is not afraid of hacking and experimenting.