The smartphone camera remains one of the most influential factors in the worldwide adoption of smartphones and devices. The ability to capture any moment in time from your kids’ first steps to your latest vacation changed the world and now several companies have set out to improve upon the already impressive cameras we all carry in our pockets.
Some of the most capable accessories are external lenses, made specifically to provide iPhones with the lens flexibility found in DSLR and mirrorless cameras, whether it’s a wide-angle, telephoto, or macro lens. To help you narrow down your search for what lenses might best fit your needs, we’ve rounded up four of the best iPhone camera lenses.
The Moment Anamorphic lens is one of the most interesting lenses made for a phone. It is a true anamorphic optic, widening the high-definition 16:9 aspect ratio to the cinematic standard of 2.40:1 without cropping away any pixels. It’s a look synonymous with Hollywood, usually achievable only through expensive cinema cameras with bulky lenses. But the Moment Anamorphic is both affordable and compact, using the same case and twist mount system as the company’s other lenses.
Launched in August 2013, Moment has quickly made a name for itself as one of the best third-party lens manufacturers for iOS devices. Proof of this lies in the fact Apple now sells Moment lenses inside its stores. Moment has a slew of lens offerings going back to the iPhone 4, with lenses ranging from macro to telephoto. The lenses themselves are made of glass optical elements and are housed inside a metal frame. This increases image quality and provides a durable piece of equipment that can probably take more of a beating than your phone, itself.
While the anamorphic lens stands out, there’s probably a great Moment lens for whatever type of mobile photography you dabble in, including a wide (18mm), telephoto (58mm), macro, and an extreme fisheye called the Superfish. There’s even an adapter to use DSLR filters on a smartphone.
Xenvo Pro Lens Kit
Xenvo lenses have a great reputation as a quality product to take your mobile photography skills to the next level. The Xenvo Pro Lens kit is the perfect starting point for the budding mobile prosumer photographer. At just under $45 for the macro and wide-angle lens combo, the Xenvo kit doesn’t break the bank.
The 0.45x wide lens lets you capture a whole lot more of your environment while the 15x macro lets you capture the beauty of the natural world up close. The GlowClip features a bright rechargeable LED to help illuminate your images in dark environments.
Criacr Lens Kit
Criacr provides the market with a great budget pick for a complete lens kit. The kit comes with a wide-angle, a fish-eye lens, and a 10x macro lens. The intuitive clip system makes it compatible with most smartphones including the current range of iPhone models.
The fisheye lens gives you 180 degrees of angle to take funny pet pictures or artsy stills. while the 0.4x wide-angle lens lets you capture more of the scene in front of you to share with friends and family, while the 10x macro lens is for those really up close captures of flowers you took for your high school photojournalism class.
Criacr also manufactures a variety of electronic accessories, including chargers and PC peripherals. It also makes a slightly higher-end line of iPhone lens though all their lenses are at a very conservative price point.
Black Eye Pro Cinema Wide G4
Black Eye may not be as well known as Moment and Olloclip, but the company’s Pro series wide angle is an excellent middle ground between cheap lenses with lots of distortion and lenses with three-figure price points. Selling for about $50, the Cinema Wide G4 offers an excellent, wider view without getting into fisheye-like distortion.
Black Eye lenses are also easy to use — the mount isn’t much different from chip bag clip that works with multiple smartphone models and may even work with some cases, provided they’re not too thick. Unlike lenses mounted on a case, however, the clip design can cover part of the screen.
If you’re looking for more than a wide-angle, Black Eye also has a fisheye and portrait telephoto in the same G4 Pro series. Those lenses run about $60 each, or you can pick up all three for $199.