Lenses can enhance any kind of photography that budding mobile photographers may want to try. Try these five mobile lenses you can definitely afford.
Mobile photography has a come a long way in the past two years. Its really us, the creatives, who benefit from the phone manufacturers breaking through with sensor developments and third-party companies rising to the challenge creating amazing pieces of gear for these phones. The imagery you’re seeing now from mobile photographers and videographers is breathtaking. So with that being said, let’s look at the single best way you can improve your phone’s camera capabilities.
Why Use Mobile Lenses?
As good as native mobile cameras are now, there is still a long way to go before they’re able to replicate the capabilities of something like a DSLR or mirrorless camera. Whatever specifications the phone lists for its camera, you’re still limited in a lot of ways.
For instance, the new iPhone cameras has a 12-megapixel sensor for its standard focal length, its ultra wide focal length, and its telephoto focal length. However the camera’s aperture gets slower with the wide and telephoto, so you lose a little bit of the sharpness. With an external lens, you can keep the sharpest standard mode on, while getting an ultra wide or telephoto focal length. It’s basically just maxing out the potential of your mobile device.
I recently wrote a complete guide to building out a mobile filmmaking and photography kit. You can check it out below!
How to Pick the Right Lens
Generally there are two types of external lenses for your phone; clip-on and attachment.
The clip-on lens does just that. It clips on to the body of your phone with the lens placed right over your camera. The benefit to using one of these lenses? You don’t need to purchase a case designed to fit the lens. So like…spend less money! The second type of lens is the attachment lens. These lenses are designed to work with a specific case. They just pop in or screw in to the case itself.
Clip-on lenses can be a bit bulky and visually unappealing, while external lenses look slim and slick. Either way, let’s go over the cheapest and best lenses under $150.
Moment Wide 18mm Lens – $99
You’ll see this lens on many “best mobile lenses” lists and for good reason. There’s simply not a better option on the market right now. The build is durable, the glass is incredibly sharp, and the price isn’t too steep. It’s not necessarily a fish eye so don’t expect any distortion. Instead, the lens acts as a great do-it-all wide lens giving you more picture to work with.
Moment has a done a great job at not only cementing their place atop the mobile filmmaking and photography industry, but also continues to release groundbreaking product after product.
Ollo Clip Multi-Lens Pack – $129.99
Sometimes you just need a clip-on lens with multiple focal length options. You just need it sometimes!
In that case, Ollo Clip is here for you. This all-in-one lens clip features a macro, fish-eye, and telephoto lens that lays over your phone’s camera. The practical application here is simple: take it on a trip. No matter the type of trip you’re on, you’ll most likely come upon a scene that you weren’t expecting. Having a lens with a variable focal length option can help you get exactly the photo or video you need in the moment. For anybody out there who is not the best planner, this is for you…and me.
Choose your iPhone or Galaxy model on Ollo Clip’s site. As far as I can tell, there’s not a Pixel or OnePlus specific lens of this sort yet.
Moment Telephoto 58mm Lens – $99.99
I just bought this lens. It’s great. If you want to take portraits on your phone, this will produce incredible results. Maybe I’m just old and a sucker for cool tech, but I love how incredible this lens is. I’m always surprised by the images it produces.
You’re not limited to portrait photography either. If you’re shooting product shots or even an interview, this lens should be your first choice. It’s also extremely affordable for a telephoto lens.
Bitplay Premium HD Wide Angle Lens – $99.99
Just like the 18mm Moment Wide Lens, Bitplay’s Wide Lens takes your camera’s standard focal length and presents a wider view. However, there’s no distortion or softness around the edges, so don’t expect any fish-eye effect.
If you’re wanting something good for car photography, landscapes, nighttime, or even needing a master shot for your film, this lens won’t disappoint. Just like Moment, you’ll need an attachment or a case to mount the lens to your phone. So, consider the extra price and their other lens offerings before you choose this one or Moment’s.
Xenvo Pro Lens Kit – $39.99
This is the simplest and most matter-of-fact lens on this list. It’s cheap, it’s light, and it snaps onto your phone easily.
If you’re unsure of mobile photography and videography, start with this lens to see if you like the process of going out and shooting with nothing but your phone. You’re not spending too much money, and if you have one of the newer models of iPhone or something like a Pixel 4, your camera is already going to excel. This just amplifies your phone camera’s capabilities by a little bit. The glass on this lens isn’t anything to write home about, but it’s better than using no lens at all.
Additionally, when you buy the kit for $40 you also get a small LED light that will help illuminate your subject. This light will also help remove any unwanted noise from low-light situations that your phone normally couldn’t handle.
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