I’ve also read up on every recommended smartphone lens attachment we’ve found on the Internet and considered what highly respected review sites such as TechRadar, The Phoblographer, CNET, and Fstoppers have had to say. We’ve filled our backpack with them and put them to work while hiking in the Cascade Mountains. Whether you get the Moment 58mm for some portrait and street shooting, the Sony QX 10 for amazing flexibility, the Apexel 36X lens, or even an iPhone 11 Pro with its telephoto lens, you’ll end up with a lens that can take some impressive photos. The latest lenses from ShiftCam are heavier and larger than the competition and feel unbalanced when mounted to the company’s cheap plastic case. This mimics the effect you’d get from switching lenses on a DSLR or mirrorless camera. Since 2014, we’ve toted the most promising candidates around Seattle, testing them in some typical shooting situations. While such a long lens performs well in terms of reach, it comes with some drawbacks; namely, it’s tough to focus, and even tougher to track a subject in the field. However, these heavy lenses require a clip attachment, and in our experience, a heavy lens mounted via a clip makes the phone feel off-balance and is easy to knock off-kilter (owner reviews confirm this experience with Sirui lenses too). Chromatic aberration refers to fringing, often on high-contrast edges. Although these items may well be the same and are likely sourced from the same original manufacturers, the brands reselling them can differ in the level of quality control and customer support they offer. These type of clip-on lenses are prone to slipping out of position and off the phone entirely. If you came to this article looking for a mid-range telephoto lens, then you’re in luck. A circular disc that contains six small lenses magnetically attaches to the included Ztylus case, which is required to use the lenses. The lenses are significantly larger than Moment lenses, too, as they have screw-on metal lens caps that seem unnecessarily heavy. Simply put, any iPhone with an external lens just won’t be as sharp as the iPhone without that lens. You get a bigger sensor and higher MP rating, making for some truly impressive images. As for the optics, the Mikikin lenses perform quite well, offering clear images even at 20x–a surprise, given the ultra-low price and huge zoom capabilities. The Criacr Amir 3-in-1 Photo Lens Kit set stands out from similar options because its wide lens (0.4x magnification) provides a useful field of view that goes beyond what your smartphone can capture without veering into fish-eye territory—similar to a GoPro. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. The case feels comfortable and smooth in the hand, with enough rubbery grip on the edges to keep your phone secure. Note that you can also use the Moment telephoto lens on an iPhone telephoto lens, giving you an effective focal length of around 120mm. 3. To purchase the Moment 58mm telephoto lens, our pick for best iPhone tele, click below: Moment’s high-quality telephoto lens is perfect for getting crisp shots. Vignetting refers to a darkening at the edges of the frame. One that will get you excellent-quality images of distant subjects? When you’re not using these lenses, they’re easy to stow in a bag or pocket because each one comes with a snug-fitting lens cap to protect it from dust and scratching as well as a small drawstring microfiber bag, which can also be useful for wiping off smudges. In an appeal to photography fanatics, Moment defines its equivalent lens length in the nomenclature typically reserved for full-frame camera systems. We focused first on finding a good wide-angle option, as that’s one of the most practical applications of adding a lens attachment to the fixed focal length of a smartphone lens. But despite a couple of problems, the Sony DSC still manages to come out on top, offering amazing image quality and flexibility (for a price). However, if you want to shoot at 36X on your iPhone, you don’t have many options. Do budget tele lenses perform worse than the pricey ones? Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. You could easily lose the plastic lens caps, as they fall off readily, but as long as you keep the included lens cloth with you for removing dust and don’t store the lenses in something that’s likely to scratch the glass, they should survive; these have held up for us well enough for occasional use over the past three years. You’ll be able to use a 12X zoom to grab shots of players on the field, maybe even headshots, but you won’t feel like you have unnecessary magnification. We have been hesitant in the past to recommend a lens accessory that required the use of a case, but we liked the Moment case so much that we started using it whether we had the lenses with us or not. The Mikikin 5 in 1 set also comes with a smaller telephoto lens: a 2X zoom, which is perfect for more everyday photography, such as street or portrait shooting. For this update, we used an iPhone XS, which has a wide-angle lens with a fixed focal length of about 26mm. A Ztylus case with a lens mount is available for an additional $20, but in our testing, the lenses proved too heavy and allowed for light leaks. The lens won’t allow you to photograph distant songbirds, but you should be able to capture tighter portraits and street photos. And the set’s hard-plastic rear lens caps feels destined to be lost. This isn’t the best telephoto lens out there. This six-in-one system can’t match the image quality of Moment or Black Eye lenses, but it does offer a nice variety of lenses in a small, secure package with a case, all for about half the price of one Moment lens and case. Of course, this versatility and image quality comes with a tradeoff of its ow:/ the price isn’t exactly low, with the Sony QX 10 costing as much as some amateur DSLR lenses, and more than some. Compatible phones: Apple iPhone 7/7Plus through XR/XS/XS Max; Samsung Galaxy Note8/S9/S9 Plus; Huawei Mate 10 Pro. First of all, a new iPhone 11 Pro will come with optical improvements over the previous iPhones, such as better low light imaging. However, at that point, you’ve already crossed the $100 mark—and at that threshold, we would rather invest in a system like Moment’s, which has a bit more history, a more robust selection of models, and a faster response time in updating its accessories for the latest iPhones. For more casual smartphone shooters, we also have a more budget-friendly pick, the Criacr Amir 3-in-1 Photo Lens Kit. These clip-on lenses fit the iPhone and most other brands of smartphones, and they will likely fit the next generations of those devices as well. So for the beginner who wants a lens for bird, wildlife, or astrophotography, the Apexel High Power 36X HD telephoto lens is a good way to go. Photo: Erin Lodi. So even though the price is considerably lower than that of the Moment system and the image quality was terrific in our tests, the ShiftCam combo itself is difficult to use. However, if you want to capture photos of distant players at a football game, you’ll need something longer. Get one email per week for one year (Unsubscribe at any time). If you’re looking to capture everyday snapshots that you don’t need to be photographically perfect, the Ztylus Revolver M Series Lens Kit, a sleek system with a protective case, can broaden your mobile-photography possibilities. But for those looking to shoot distant wildlife, you’ll want significantly more reach. It’s also made of high-quality aluminum, which should keep you from worrying about it breaking after a bit of use. The design is highly-compatible and will last years! The Ztylus Revolver M Series Lens Kit also comes in a four-in-one option with a wide lens, a macro lens, a fish-eye lens, and a circular polarizer filter for single-lens phones. But what makes it one of the best telephoto lens for iPhone or smartphone is how compact it is. Now that you’re aware of the factors that go into picking the perfect telephoto lens for your needs, it’s time to look at the list of options. Without the additional cost of a specific case, the Pro Cinema Wide G4 is a more affordable glass-optics choice, but you should know that clip-on systems are always a little fussy, as a slight bump can jar the lens out of place and ruin your image. The Eweima 4 in 1 kit offers a 12X telephoto, one that will get you close enough for some tight shots, but won’t zoom in so far that you struggle to focus. This kit is well built and designed for easy handling. (Of course, new phone designs that place the cameras away from the edge of the phone, such as the Motorola One Zoom, may put their cameras out of reach of these clip-on accessories.) Plus, a built-in telephoto lens saves you from having to worry about your external lens breaking or getting lost. The best lenses are made of metal, not plastic. But maybe these subtle flaws aren’t a major concern for you if you’re just looking to jazz up your Instagram story with some new angles.
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