review

Blips New Labkit 2 Review Macro Microscopic Phone Lenses

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Most mobile phones today come equipped with a myriad of tools at your hand's disposal, making phones much more than a communication tool! Photography, mobile gaming, video/audio streaming, online shopping...the list goes on and on.
Accessorizing a phone is a nifty way to make good use of a phone's capabilities, including the stock camera, which can be turned into a very capable microscopy instrument with a magnifying tool kit such as the new Blips Labkit 2, which contains four magnifying lenses of different magnifying power, including a 20x micro lens, a 33x Ultra lens, a 5x Macro Plus lens and a 10x Macro lens.
The Labkit 2 magnifying lenses are integrated within thin, sticky strips that are designed to be stuck on to the camera lens of a smart phone. The lens strips measure 43mm long and 7mm wide. The magnifying lens, itself, is a tiny bump that protrudes outwards approximately 2mm high. The weight of the lens strip is not even a gram so, it doesn't add any extra weight to a phone.
The Blips Labkit 2 magnifying lenses work on the same principle as phone camera stock lenses and, even external clip on lenses for telescoping and wide angle effects. Most stock camera phones, these days, come equipped with a telephoto camera and a wide angle camera, while some phones such as the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 and the Samsung S10 Lite are equipped with a macro camera lens, which is essentially a magnifying glass for a phone camera.
As you can see from the picture above, the Labkit 2 Macro Plus (lime) and Macro lenses (green) have different convex shapes, which creates a shorter and longer focal length distance.
The Labkit 2 Micro lens (blue) and Ultra lens (red) are microscope lenses, having shorter focal distance and more powerful magnification, enabling you to bring the hidden /macro/microscopic world upclose and personal.
All four Labkit 2 magnifying lenses are capable of providing extremely detailed and clear images of very close specimens.
The Labkit 2 magnifying lenses are stored inside the same packaging they come from, which is a thin cardboard sleeve with two foam stoppers to prevent the lenses from being squashed and/or compressed.
A few other things included with the new Blips Labkit 2 are a 4ml pipette that measures 60mm long and weighs less than a gram. There are also five glass slides included, each weighing 5 grams and measuring 80mm long, 25mm wide and 1mm thick.
The glass slides are fairly fragile so, you definitely want to use the included circular rubber feet to rest the glass slides on top.
The glass slides are stored inside the included plastic storage case. Two of the included glass slides are empty, while the other three glass slides contain a kidney sample, a morchella fungi sample and a twospotted spider mite sample.
The included flashlight weighs 14 grams and measures 45mm long, 36mm wide and 12mm thick. It is powered by a single CR2032 coin cell battery and has a plastic white frosted screen that acts as a diffuser to scatter the light evenly. The flash light is designed to fit inside the square base cut-out , providing upward lighting for the glass slides, which is needed for improving viewing visibility inside the specimen in the glass slides.
The long, flat head thumb screws that are included are designed as adjustment leg stands to support the included aluminium metal plate, which doubles as the microscope stage to rest the glass slides on top.
The aluminium metal plate weighs 14 grams and measures 120mm long, 30mm wide and 2mm thick. The metal plate has two threaded screw holes on either end and a small pinhole in the centre. The thumb screws are 35mm long, weigh 20 grams each and have a 30mm diameter.
The brown cut-out shape with two circles and a square is designed as the base to support and secure in place the thumb screw legs and metal stage. It is made of plexi-glass, weighs 14 grams and measures 140mm long, 55mm wide and 5mm thick.
The blue u-shape squares are made of plastic, weighing 9 grams and measuring 33mm high, 44mm long and 30mm wide. The blue squares are stands designed to support and keep the phone horizontally over the metal stage for comfortable, unshaken viewing.
The Blips Labkit 2 is nifty in its construction, allowing to create a portable makeshift solution to setup an adjustable microscope stand. Your own phone then, becomes the eyepiece for close-up observation. In terms of convenience, adjusting the viewing stand on Labkit 2 is a bit more fiddly than with a standard microscope, which can easily be adjusted on the fly by rotating a knob.
With Labkit 2 though, you have to manually do and undo each screw leg at a time. You also have to make sure you position the lens sticky strips right on the center of the camera lens to prevent an obscured view.
The focusing distance of the 5x Macro Plus and 10x Macro lenses is 20mm and 10mm respectively. The focusing distance of the 20x Micro and 33x Ultra lenses is 5mm and 3mm respectively.
The Micro and Ultra lenses have extremely short focal distance so, you won't be able to hold the phone in your hand steadily enough. For those with a knack for attention to detail will find the Labkit 2 a very useful tool for exploring what is hiding in plain sight.
Blips Labkit 2 is made in Italy and, it's iOS and Android compatible. The items come safely packaged inside a foam insert and can be bought via Amazon or via Smart Micro Optics.

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