About this project
What is Easy-Macro?
Easy-Macro is the simplest, most convenient and easiest to use macro lens available for smartphones. Its 4x magnification gives your phone's camera close-up powers that you never thought possible and its unique, patented design means that it will fit on any smartphone available today (and tomorrow!) with or without a case. It is also the only smartphone lens that stores in your wallet so you never leave it behind. If you take photos with your phone, you need an Easy-Macro!
Since we launched the original product in 2011, Easy-Macro has been a hit! Easy-Macro was started by my wife and I after I couldn't find a close-up lens for my smartphone that was convenient to keep with me. I enjoy taking close-up photos, but I rarely know when I'm going to see something that I want to photograph. If I don't want to miss a shot, I have to carry the lens with me all of the time. I also hate carrying extra stuff in my pockets. I hate it! No way am I going to carry a bulky lens around with me all of the time and, if I'm not going to carry it all of the time, it will have one predictable fate: getting lost in a drawer of miscellaneous items.
After a bit of thinking, I had it: a simple objective lens mounted in an elastic band. This design would fit around any smartphone (no need for a new accessory every time I upgrade my phone!) and be thin enough to fit in the slimmest of wallets without adding noticeable bulk! All I had to do was make a working prototype.
A trip to the drug store provided me with all I needed to prove the concept. There were pieces of material everywhere: hair bands, bracelets, sew-in elastic strips, and the winner: the under-appreciated but trusty office supply rubber band. The result was amazing! Not only would this one-of-a-kind macro lens fit any smartphone, it fit every device from an iPod Touch to a 10" iPad! The photographic results were equally dramatic. We had something!
Since 2011, Easy-Macro has received many glowing reviews from the likes of Gizmodo, Wired, DPReview, AndroidPolice, 9to5Mac, MacLife, GottaBeMobile, iPhoneAlley, and the list goes on! We have several online retailers selling our current version of the product around the world including Photojojo.com and ThinkGeek.com. When Photojojo debuted Easy-Macro in their online store in 2011, they sold-out of their first 2000 units in just a couple of days and were backordered for 4 months due to the incredible demand!
More recently, Lancôme Paris has purchased a large quantity of Easy-Macros which they will be using to demonstrate their skincare products' effectiveness at makeup counters worldwide! Easy-Macro was chosen over all other available macro lenses for smartphones due to its ability to quickly attach to any smartphone (even over a bulky case) in addition to its good looks and ease of use.
Where Kickstarter Comes In
Fast forward 2 years and over 35,000 Easy-Macros have been produced! There's only one problem: we can't keep up with demand.
You see, every single Easy-Macro is hand-made to exacting standards. In fact, we throw out about 25% of the units that we make because they do not meet our high expectations for the product. Production is a difficult and time-consuming task that takes patience and skill. This is where Kickstarter comes in: through countless hours (and weeks and months) of hand making Easy-Macro, we have developed an updated design that not only retains all of the function and convenience of the original product, it makes it stronger, better looking, and easier to produce! The new design will also reduce the material wasted on units that do not meet our quality standard. This is what some might call a win-win-win-win.
Finally, our hope is that production will become easy and efficient enough to bring it back to the US where it all started. My wife and I made the first 10,000 pieces ourselves at our kitchen table, sometimes staying up until 3am to complete orders on time while also working full time. When no US suppliers would make the product to our standards for a reasonable price, production was moved to China. After successful funding of the campaign, the assembly work will be offered to US companies once again, including Goodwill Industries. Beyond their chain of thrift stores, Goodwill hires those that might otherwise not be able to find work, including those with mental and physical impairments.
We need the help of you, our backers, to secure the necessary tooling and minimum order quantity to create a custom lens design that will streamline production and allow us to provide our customers with an even higher quality product at the same affordable retail price of $15. By backing us on this project, you have a chance to snag the latest and greatest Easy-Macro for only $10; a 33% discount off of the retail price! Or, pledge $55 and up to get the new-and-improved Easy-Macro, a Limited Edition storage card, and this awesome backers-only t-shirt:
Where the Funds Will Go
With 2 years of production of the original product under our belts, we know exactly what goes into producing a high quality product for our customers. While many Kickstarter projects offer amazing new products for much lower funding goals, we understand that quality manufacturers capable of delivering the kind of product our backers expect on time also demand higher prices. We do not want to begin this project without knowing that we can deliver a quality product on time. Much of the required expense is based on actual quotes from vendors or costs we have incurred on previous manufacturing such as materials and shipping.
- $4,000 Fees paid to Kickstarter and payment processing
- $6,000 for custom tooling and production equipment
- $8,000 to secure materials for production
- $4,000 for travel to China, if necessary, to oversee initial production
- $10,000 for assembly of the units
- $4,000 for shipping and importing completed units
- $4,000 for shipping individual orders to our backers!
With production of 35,000 Easy-Macros under our belts, we are familiar with the timelines realistically required to complete and order of this volume from start to end. With successful funding of the Kickstarter campaign by September 15th, our backers can expect us to deliver on the following deadline.
- September 28: The Kickstarter Campaign ends
- September 28: Early Bird Rewards Ship!
- September 28 - November 8: Production of tooling and materials
- November 8 - November 29: Assembly of Product
- November 30 - December 5: Shipment of goods and sorting for distribution
- December 5: Backer Orders Begin Shipping!
We plan to use our current overseas vendor for our first order of the new product. This will allow us to begin production as soon as we reach our funding goal. Even if we are a few weeks away from receipt of funds from the campaign, we will be able to begin the manufacturing on a purchase order as opposed to pre-payment as we have already established a good relationship with the vendor.
Why You Should Back Us Today
Easy-Macro is already the best macro lens you can buy for your smartphone. Backing our project not only gets you at least 33% off of the retail price, but you will be helping a small business take its flagship product to the next level. This will also be your only chance to snag some exclusive Kickstarter Edition gear!
Thank you for your support and we look forward to producing and even better version of the best macro lens a smartphone could wish for with the help of backers like you!
Questions or suggestions? Send us a message so we can offer our backers the best possible experience!
As the project proceeds, we hope to hit a few milestones beyond our funding goal. If we hit these milestones, we will offer upgrades!
Milestone 1: If funding reaches $65k, we will produce a run of Easy-Macros with a custom-colored band just for our Kickstarter backers!
Milestone 2: If funding reaches $75k, we will produce an additional magnification! The original Easy-Macro is 4x, which strikes a great balance between getting close and field of view. We'd love to add a 10-15x lens as well for those situations where you want to get reeeeeeally close!
Milestone 3: If funding reaches $85k, we will be able to have microfiber pouches made to accompany every new Easy-Macro produced! These pouches will be great for those of you who prefer to keep Easy-Macro in your pocket or loose in your purse among other items rather than in the safety of a card pocket of your wallet.
Feel free to send us any suggestions you might have on additional bonuses or reward levels and we will consider them!
A Few Clarifications
The $25 reward level includes a special Kickstarter Edition storage card in addition to a new and improved Easy-Macro. Don't worry, we're not holding out on our bigger backers!
When we hit the $75k stretch goal of creating an additional magnification, that will be in addition to and included with all next generation Easy-Macros. Help us reach the goal and you get more without any additional pledge!
US Patent #8,385,004
Risks and challenges
Some of you have been burned before. That great-sounding project that you helped fund fell through after it turned out that the creators didn't fully understand the process of bringing an idea to market. Or maybe you backed a smartphone accessory that requires an app and you're still waiting for the Android version to ship while iPhone users have had theirs for months.
Because we have been making the original Easy-Macro for over 2 years already, there is actually very little risk for this project. In fact, we have already consulted with several optical experts on the quality of the updated lens design as well as injection molding companies on the ability to produce the new design. Both have been verified and tooling costs are already known. Lens body profiles have been 3D printed over a range of shapes to guarantee the best bond strength between the lens and band.
With 25,000 pieces made with our current overseas vendor, we know what actual production schedules are and the new design will actually speed up assembly considerably compared to the original product. All we need is for backers like you to fund our project so that we can get started!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
There are several lens accessories out there that use a sticky adhesive to hold themselves to your phone. Unfortunately, these adhesives only work a few times before they stop sticking. This is because they tend to attract small bits of dust and lint. Eventually, they just don't stick at all!
We considered a simple lens with just an adhesive back early on in Easy-Macro's development but after researching reviews for products that stick on using adhesive, we weren't happy with the solution and we knew our customers wouldn't be either! The elastic band turned out to be the best way to ensure that Easy-Macro could be used over and over and over for years of enjoyment.
Absolutely! If your case allows you to take photos with your phone, you can use Easy-Macro. Because your Easy-Macro will be held a bit away from the surface of your phone, you will find that the magnification is increased a bit. If your case is very thick, the edge of the lens may come into your camera's field of view causing more blurring around the edges of the photo. The first case I used my Easy-Macro prototype with was a heavy-duty Otterbox Defender and it worked great!
While we do get this question a lot, we assure you, it was no mistake! You see, macro photography requires that you hold your camera very close to the object you're photographing. Big, fancy cameras have special light sources just for this purpose, but the flash on camera phones are meant for those nighttime shots of friends and are just too bright for really close-up photos. Therefore, it is actually recommended that the flash be turned off when using Easy-Macro or any other close-up lens on your phone.
In addition, we wanted to design a solution that was truly universal. If you look at many different models of phones, you will notice that the flash is positioned differently relative to the camera across different models. Since the flash isn't very useful for macro photography anyway, we focused on creating a simple, universal design that would work for everybody instead.
Cellphone manufacturers do not allow magnets to be used in any approved accessories as they will interfere with the compass, the cellular radios, and other functions. In addition, lenses with a magnetic attachment require you to adhere a metal ring to your phone or case. Because of this, it becomes very difficult to switch back and forth between using a case and not or changing the case you use, which many users do (us included). Some phones also do not bond well with many adhesives due to the material of their outer shell or because they have curved surfaces. We knew from the beginning that we wanted to avoid using magnets and we believe we came up with an even better solution!
Yep! Some lenses are held on by fitting tightly over the edge of your phone. Because of this, they will not fit if you use even the thinnest of screen protectors on your device. Easy-Macro will happily work alongside any of your phone's other accessories!
Yes! We have yet to come across a device that Easy-Macro will not fit from the iPod Touch to a 10" tablet. If your device has a camera, you can use Easy-Macro, we guarantee it!
We tracked down a Nexus 4 owner to answer this very question for us and he was very pleased with his Easy-Macro! I'll let him tell you in his own words:
"I'm pleased to report that it fits the Nexus 4 quite well. It does need to be angled a very small degree to miss the power button, but it's very manageable, and it doesn't seem to press the power button even if it happens to overlap.
I'm also very happy with the pictures I'm able to take with it. It appears to produce less vignetting and edge distortion than the previous product that I was using. I've attached several pictures of the Easy-Macro on my phone and a few quick unedited sample photos. I look forward to using the product more and I'll be sure to tag anything I share.
So there you have it, Easy-Macro still holds the crown for the most universal macro lens for Smartphones!
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