At ASCB, Echo Labs was giving out laser cut wooden microscopes that use a cell phone as the camera to promote their new microscope.
I’ve been curious for a while about how high the resolution achievable with a consumer phone or camera would be, so I took some pictures of a resolution test target with my iPhone 5 alone, and using the wooden microscope. I used a USAF 1951 resolution target, available from Thorlabs. To get images without compression artifacts, you need to use a camera program that can save lossless images, rather than the JPEG compressed images that the iPhone generates by default. I used Camera+, but there are others. I then took pictures with and without the wooden scope.With the scope, I was able to see resolve group 5 element 2 (conservatively). Without the scope, I was able to resolve group 3 element 6. This corresponds to 35.9 line pairs / mm with the scope and 14.25 lp/mm without the scope. Inverting these numbers gives you a resolution of 28 µm with the microscope and 70 µm without. This is a far cry from a research microscope, but not bad for a cell phone and a single lens laser cut microscope.