Geeky shutterbugs have fun finding ways to improve the iPhone's built-in camera. Whether it's going Macgyver to add a macro lens or actually opening the case to mod the iPhone for close-up photography, iPhone photogs have long sought to improve their cell phone photos.
If you happen to have a fun-loving photographer on your gift list then these pocket-sized lenses are sure to make them smile. I stress fun-loving because none of these iphone lenses will actually improve the quality of iphone pics. At the end of the day it's still, after all, a cell phone camera. However, each of these lenses does offer a little twist to traditional cell pics and may inspire a new sense of playfulness.
Mobile Phone Telescope: The telescopic lens will add a 6x zoom to iPhone. Although the lens will technically work with any camera phone, the lens is held in place using a hard plastic case so be sure to order your zoom lens for either iPhone or iPhone 3G. If you get the wrong case you'll need to hold the lens in place. It's not impossible, just inconvenient.
The quality of the zoom is actually quite surprising. The photos are crisp and look pretty good — as long as you hold still. Camera-shake is the biggest problem with this set-up. The iPhone isn't known for taking quick pics, and even the smallest shutter delay emphasizes an unsteady hand. If you're using the Mobile Phone Telescope, we suggest propping your phone against something solid and using a self-timer app.
3 Lens Set with Macro, Fish-eye and 2x Zoom: This set is the most useful add-on for budding cell-phone photogs, and surely the most fun.
The lenses attach by sticking a small magnetic ring around your camera lens on the back of the phone using a super-strong 3M sticker. Then, the lenses stick to the magnet. It's a simple system that makes changing lenses incredibly simple. And, the ring is unobtrusive enough that I didn't feel it marred the beauty of my device.
The macro lens is a wide angle lens that increases the viewable area of your photo with very little distortion. Because the iPhone focus area is set to infinity, you're not going to be able to use it as a typical macro lens or adjust depth of field. However, getting a better viewing angle for taking close-up shots this lens is great.
The fisheye lens is a wide angle lens with maximum distortion. This lens works pretty much as expected and is a lot of fun for artsy shots, a close-up of your pet's nose, etc.
The 2x Telephoto does a good job of getting you closer to the action. Unfortunately, it also has strong vignetting which leaves a circle of photographable area in the center of your shot. This lens might not be worth purchasing alone, but as part of a set I'm sure I'll find a reason to use it. It's just a balancing of priorities. And, you can always crop out the vignetting later.
My favorite thing about the three-lens set is that they can be shared. Each lens comes with a few extra magnetic rings that will fit over the lens of most mobile cameras. So, I can have one for my camera and my boyfriend can attach a ring to his camera. Now, when we can share the lenses on our impromptu photo adventures. Sweet.
All of these lenses are available online from Mobile.Brando.com.hk.