If you’ve taken a biology course, chances are you used a dissecting microscope to study whole animals or plants. They magnify things 10 to 100 times and are standard lab tools. They are largely too expensive for home use & too bulky for field study. Ever wondered how to change your phone into a microscope? We offer the “Phone Camera Loupe” as an economical & portable solution.

Cell Phone Camera Loupe
“Dissecting Microscope”

Hand lenses (loupes) magnify in the 5-30 times range and can cost in the $5-30 range. Cell phone cameras can magnify about the same amount but cost a lot more while of course doing a lot more. It turns out you can combine them to achieve almost the same amount of magnification as a dissecting microscope and they’re portable. You probably already own a cell phone so for another $5.00 you can have a field “dissecting microscope”.

Phone Camera Loupe

The technique is straightforward. Simply open the hand lens, position it under the phone camera to align both lenses. Use the camera zoom to enlarge the subject, shoot, then save.


Phone Camera Loupe: Plants & Animals

The loupe-camera combo really comes into its own in biological field studies. Familiar objects go from ordinary to extraordinary as you enlarge details such as the compound eyes of insects, their mouthparts, or wings. Flies can be annoying but take a closer look and you’ll be amazed at these magnificent efficient flying machines.

Phone Camera Loupe Magnified Wasp

Wasps, bees, and ants are related; they all belong to the order Hymenoptera. Collect different ones and compare them. How are they the same? How do they differ?


Phone Camera Loupe Magnified Fly

You may find all sorts of flying insects outside. With a bit of practice, you may even be able to classify them Hemiptera, Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, or Orthoptera.


Autumn is here and leaves are starting to fall. We take them for granted as they convert the sun’s energy into food & fuel. Their structure makes them engineering wonders with veins to support & transport nutrients, hairs for sensing, and stomata for gas transfer.

Phone Camera Loupe Magnified Green Leaf

Leaf veins branch like our own to carry nutrients to tissues efficiently.


Portable Cell Phone Microscope Magnified Red Leaf

Compare the leaves of different plants. Are they structured differently?


Phone Camera Loupe: Rocks & Minerals

Rocks may be inanimate but they can be as individual as living things.  They are multifaceted and to truly appreciate them, you need to get a close-up view. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll even find a bit of gold or a fossil.

Phone Camera Loupe Magnified Rocks

A simple piece of rock reveals its many facets at higher magnification.


Fine mesh iron filings look like black powder to the naked eye. A small amount of magnification reveals a completely different character.

Cell Phone Portable Microscope Magnified Iron Filings

Iron filings ground from iron bars are used to demonstrate magnetic fields.

23mm 10X Loupe For Better Results

A casual walk through a field of thistles no doubt ended in your having to pluck burrs off your clothes. Take a close-up look at one and you can see the tiny hooks that inspired Velcro. The image below was taken with a 23mm diameter lens 10X loupe that has a better depth of field. We also recommend this better magnifier for flower identification. Counting sepals & petals or telling pistils from stamens can be a challenge to the unaided eye.

Phone Camera Loupe Magnified Thistle Burrs

Nature’s Velcro-tiny hooks to grab your clothing to spread seeds far & wide. This depth of field required a slightly better magnifier.


Need Ideas?

Visit our website to see some images we posted from Through The Microscope. We choose things you can find around the house you can explore using this technique. The possibilities are endless[ teabags and coffee grounds, cloth or clothing, tissue paper, pencils, and more.


10X Hand Lens: Promote Your School, Club

Promote your school or your local horticultural society; adding a logo does not have to be expensive.  Click on the image below to find out more or call.

10X Hand Lens w/ Logo, Promote Your School

10X hand lens emblazoned with full-color logo for annual school field study outing.

See promotional product ideas for more examples.

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