It can be said that the best camera is the camera you have with you. In this fast-paced world, the chance of someone carrying a smartphone camera over a bulky DSLR camera is much greater. Today’s smartphones come with many capabilities, one of them being the ability to take quality photos on the go. However, there is still a major benefit old-school DSLR cameras have that smartphone don’t—real lenses.
Those who want to add some versatility to their casual photography can invest in attachable lenses for their phones. These add-ons are great for upgrading from the fixed focal length and digital zoom on camera phones while also allowing you to experiment creatively with different viewpoints and effects.
Lens attachments act like spectacles for your camera. The optical aid of these lenses allows you to capture either close-up details (macro lens), 180-degree field of views (fisheye lens), zoomed-in images from a distance (telephoto lens) or expansive landscape shots (wide-angle lens). Whether you have an iPhone or an Android, here is a list of the top add-on lenses available for your smartphone.
Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens (only for iPhones)
The OlloClip line of lenses offers many quality sets of lenses. The 4-in-1 Photo Lens kit is an impressive suite of iPhone camera lenses that includes a fisheye, wide-angle, 10x macro and 15x macro lens. The lenses are compatible with both the front and rear cameras on the iPhone and are designed to snap on top of the phone over the phone lens. This kit also comes with attachable keychain clips, which are convenient for keeping the lens handy. ($70)
This line of lenses is known to provide great quality smartphone images. Moment offers a selection of lenses for iPhones and many Android devices. The wide-angle and the telephoto lenses are among the best on the market, providing sharp and crisp images. Although these lenses are bigger in size and slightly heavier than others out there, they deliver the least amount of image distortion. These lenses adhere onto your phone via a magnetic plate suited to your phone model. ($100 each)
For those wanting to try a specific lens type before investing in an entire set, Photojojo lenses may be the best option for you. They offer 5 different lenses at budget-friendly prices. Their options include a wide-angle/macro lens, a fisheye lens, a super fisheye lens, a 2x telephoto lens, and a polarizing lens. Reviewers have praised the macro lens and the wide-angle lens for their ability to capture sharp details and little distortion in photos. On the other hand, photos taken with the telephoto lens undergo an extreme pincushion effect, which heavily distorts the image. Also, the lenses are rather small and can be flimsy. Those who are active risk losing the lenses because of the poor magnetic system, causing them to fall off the phone easily. ($20-$30 per lens)
This attachable lens by Sony is top of the line and allows instant enhancements to your smartphone photos. With 30x optical zoom, you can reliably leave your DSLR camera behind. It is also a great accessory if you are disappointed with the photos your camera phone takes in low-light settings. This lens connects easily and quickly to your smartphone through NFC/Wi-Fi. However, you pay for what you get. This lens option comes with a heftier price tag than the rest. ($348)
The InstaLens line of optics works with the majority of smartphones. They offer a range of focal lengths that are each sold separately. This includes wide-angle, super wide-angle, fisheye, telephoto and polarized lenses. They also feature an all-in-one wide/macro lens that allows you to capture an extra wide angle with outward zoom, as well as detailed close-ups. A removable metal ring with adhesive attaches around your phone’s camera and magnets keep the lens adjoined to the phone. (Lens start at around $40)
For those budding smartphone photographers, lens attachments provide an easy way to change your perspective. Whether you are taking pictures to upload on social media or to display on digital picture frames in your home, these lens enhancements will help you capture moments in a unique way that are definitely worth sharing.
This article is written by Daphne Lefran. She has been writing about photography for many years and currently writes on behalf of Nixplay, creator of the Nixplay Seed. In her spare time, she enjoys capturing moments through a camera lens, traveling to new places and cheering on the Florida State Seminoles. Follow her on Twitter.