Best Lenses for Smartphone Photography
With the latest smartphones by the likes of Samsung and Apple, every smartphone user has the opportunity to take their smartphone photography to the next level. But even with the multiple built-in lenses these smartphones have, they still have limitations compared to adding an external lens attachment.
Sure, the latest iPhone and Samsung smartphones offer telephoto or wide-angle capabilities but adding external attachment lenses for smartphones can give these smartphone cameras extra powers.
For example, adding an external telephoto attachment lens to the iPhone 12 Pro take the 2x telephoto and boosting it to 4x. Plus, most smartphones don’t usually come with a fisheye or macro lens built-in.
There are different types of lenses for smartphones. Depending on what you want to do there is a lens choice for you. Everything from telephoto, macro, anamorphic, ultra-wide-angle, fisheye, and more. If you’re taking portraits, a telephoto is a great choice. Architecture and landscapes? Try a wide-angle lens. Want cinematic video? The anamorphic lens might be just what you need.
With attachment lenses for smartphones, they can effortlessly be swapped out, so you can try different kinds of photography and many will also work with selected Android phones, particularly the most popular ones like the Samsung Galaxy range.
Keep in mind that certain attachment lenses might require phone-specific cases or universal adapters, but either way, they’ll enhance your smartphone photography going forward.
So whether you’re an outdoor adventurer, filmmaker, or even a social media creator, you can take your phone photography to the next level with the right lens accessories. We explored the market and gathered up what we think is the right lens attachment to help make your phone photos pop!
7+ Best Lenses for Smartphone Photography - Serious Tools To Improve Your Smartphone Videos and Photos
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Why Add Smartphone lens attachments to your smartphone
I’m an independent filmmaker and beginner photographer, and I have been researching and testing new ways to push the limits of my iPhone 12 videos and photographs.
When it comes to filmmaking with a smartphone, I am looking for ways to achieve that cinematic look you see in Hollywood films today. As for photography with a smartphone, I am always looking for excuses to ditch my mirrorless camera and use my iPhone wherever I go and still achieve incredible pictures.
Over the past year, because of the pandemic, I had free time to test dozens of smartphone attachment lens models along the way. I also read up on reviews of recommended smartphone lens attachments from highly respected review sites to see what they had to say.
The main point of Smartphone lens attachments is that they are useful for anyone trying to get more out of their smartphone’s built-in camera(s). Just like changing lenses on a DSLR or mirrorless camera, Smartphone lens attachments can change up your perspective to be wider or more zoomed in than the fixed lens of your smartphone allows.
There are many different types of lenses for smartphones. Which ones you pick up will depend on what you want to do. If you’re shooting portraits, a telephoto is a good choice. Architecture and landscapes? Try a wide-angle. Video? The anamorphic lens might be just what you need.
Here are some key points to know when shopping for a smartphone lens attachment for photography and videography:
- A lens accessory shouldn’t create significant distortion (warped objects or altered perspective) or vignetting (darkening at the edges of the frame). But, fish-eye lenses are designed to distort intentionally.
- The lens addition should be easy to attach and remove, and extremely portable. If aligning the lens with your smartphone’s camera is challenging, attaching the lens to its accompanying case takes too long, or the lenses are a pain to take along, odds are that you won’t bother to use them.
- If a case is needed, it should be protective and practical enough for you to use it every day. Or it should be so easy to apply and remove that you don’t mind doing so.
- If a lens system requires a separate lens attachment, it should be reasonably priced. After upgrading to a new phone, you should be able to keep using the same lenses without spending too much more.
- Clean the smartphone camera lens and smartphone lens attachment before attaching.
- Also, make sure that you stick with a reputable manufacturer with a proven track record and a wide selection of models.
- Something to keep in mind when using an external lens attachment is, you can’t use your phone camera’s flash since the lens attachment covers it up.
7+ Best lenses for smartphones for Content Creators, Filmmakers & Photographers
- Xenvo Pro Lens Kit — The best smartphone lens overall
- Moment Tele Lens 58mm — The best telephoto lens for smartphones
- Moment Anamorphic Lens — The best anamorphic lens for smartphones
- Moment Wide Lens — The best high-quality smartphone lens
- Moment Fisheye Lens — The best fisheye lens for smartphones
- Apexel 36x telephoto lens — The best smartphone lens for extra reach
- DOF Adapter MK2 from Beastgrip— Add film-like style of full-frame SLR and DSLR cinema lenses to your smartphone’s camera
- SHUTTERMOON iPhone Camera Lens Kit iPhone – The best smartphone lens for beginner creatives
Xenvo Pro Lens Kit
Phone compatibility: All iPhone models, Samsung Galaxy and Note, Google Pixel, Huawei | Included lenses: TruView 0.45x Wide Angle Lens, Clarus 15x Macro Lens
- Crisp and amazing image quality
- Good value for money
- Solid build
- Comes with lens covers
- Some close-up shots might require a phone stand or tripod to avoid blurring
- The wide angle lens is slightly bulky
Shoot stunning photos of people, pets, travel scenery, landscapes, architecture, selfies, and more. NO DARK CORNERS (vignetting) like cheaper lenses. The Pro Lens Kit from Xenvo uses a clip-on mechanism instead and includes a macro and wide-angle lens that is crafted from aircraft-grade aluminum and premium optical glass for durability and clarity.
This Multi-element, coated glass lenses minimize ghosting, reflections, lens flare, and other artifacts. Xenvo cell phone lens attachment is ideal for hobbyists and photography pros alike. The kit includes a travel case for easy transportation plus a clip-on LED light that you can attach to your phone, helping ensure that you can film in almost any situation. It is the best lenses for smartphones for travel and overall.
Moment Tele Lens 58mm
The best telephoto lens for smartphones
Compatible with: Pro Max | Lens types: Telephoto 2x, Fisheye 180, Macro 15x
- Good price
- Sharp image quality
- Deepens depth of field
- Requires case which is an additional purchase
The Moment Tele 58mm gets you closer for tighter, crispier shots without using the digital zoom. Optimized for dual-lens devices, you can achieve ~2x optical zoom when mounted over a single-lens camera or wide side of a dual-lens and ~4x optical zoom when mounted over the iPhone telephoto lens.
Sure many smartphone cameras are great at giving you a wide-angle view that you can use to get amazing photos, but one of the best things you can do for your camera is to add a telephoto lens like the 58mm from Moment.
Made from high-quality lens glass, the Moment Tele Lens delivers edge-to-edge sharpness while bringing you 2x to 4x closer to the subject on a single or dual-lens phone. 58mm equivalent on single-lens phones and 116mm on dual lenses.
While you’ll need to purchase a smartphone case to use the lens, the case also gives you access the Moment’s entire range of smartphone camera lenses.
Moment Anamorphic Lens
The best anamorphic lens for smartphones
Compatible with: iPhone 7 and up, Android with universal adapter Lens types: Anamorphic
- Great picture quality and tint
- Solid build
- Adds a cinematic effect to photos and videos
- Small amount of corner distortion
- Requires case which is an additional purchase
If you are serious about shooting videos with your smartphone and want that cinematic look all filmmakers crave, Moment’s 1.33x Anamorphic Lens is a top choice for smartphone content creators.
Moment’s smartphone lens lineup all offer outstanding image quality matched with an excellent mounting system using the company’s attractive, manageable cases.
What Anamorphic lenses do for smartphone videos is they produce a wider, cinematic feel to both video and photos, without the distortion of a wide-angle lens.
What’s cool about anamorphic lenses is the dramatic lens flares from the sun or a car’s headlights extend into a long beam of light, and bokeh, the soft out-of-focus lights in the background, take on a curious oval shape, caused by horizontal lens elements and an ovular aperture inside the square-shaped lens for a dramatic look to your smartphone videos.
You will need to use a third-party smartphone app like Moment’s Pro Camera app or Filmic Pro when filming with an anamorphic lens attachment. Why? Without getting into specifics, an anamorphic lens works by squeezing more of a scene into video and stills. This means you’ll also need to digitally “de-squeeze” your images and video afterward.
When using these third-party apps during filming, photos and videos are automatically “de-squeezed” and saved to the camera roll with a wider ratio of 2.40:1 instead of a typical 16:9.
I have tested both the blue and gold flare versions of Moment’s Anamorphic Lens and found image quality incredibly sharp. I did favor the slightly colder tones of the blue version, but the warmer tones of the gold version are fantastic as well.
The best high-quality smartphone lens
Compatible with: iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus, 6s Plus 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, X, XR, XS, XS Max, 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max; Samsung Galaxy S8, S9, S9+, S10; Samsung Galaxy Note 8, 9 ,10; Google Pixel 1, 2, 3, 3a, 4, 4a, 4a 5G, 4XL, 5 | Lens type: 0.63x wide angle
- Can fit different types of phones
- No distortion
- Amazing camera quality
- Requires a case to mount the camera which is not included
- Edges can be a bit blurred
If you decide to experience the wide selection of Moment Lenses for smartphones, and once you buy the required case for Moment smartphone lenses, why not add the wide lens option.
With edge-to-edge clarity, the 18mm lens provides incredible quality while not adding a ton of weight to your smartphone. Great for realtors, landscape photography, group photos, and more. The 18mm Wide Angle Lens captures smartphone photos and videos that are beautiful, crisp, and straight, with no fisheye distortion.
Made from the same high-grade glass that goes into high-end 4K film lenses, the Wide Lens is a great choice for everyday photography or filmmaking.
The best fisheye lens for smartphones
Compatible with: iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus, 6s Plus 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, X, XR, XS, XS Max, 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max; Samsung Galaxy S8, S9, S9+, S10; Samsung Galaxy Note 8, 9 ,10; Google Pixel 1, 2, 3, 3a, 4, 4a, 4a 5G, 4XL, 5 | Lens type: 170° fisheye
- Great image quality and for capturing tight areas
- Value for money
- Can be used along with the moment app for better utility
- Easy to lose track of the lens cap
- Some iPhones can achieve similar wide-angle shots
In fact, the Fisheye lens gives a 50% wider view than you would receive from the ultrawide lens on the iPhone 11. Sure the ultrawide with the iPhone provides the coverage that a 14mm fisheye lens would, having the Fisheye lens is perfect for taking pictures in tight areas. If you’re taking interior photos or something similar, the ultra-wide 170-degree image will intrigue you.
Apexel 36x telephoto lens
The best smartphone lens for extra reach
Compatible with: Most smartphones | Lens types: 36x telephoto
- Amazing for details and image quality
- Comes with a strong mini tripod
- Great for bright and sharp night sky shots
- A bit tricky to use
- The lens makes the phone and mini tripod feel unbalanced
- Can’t use with a phone case
Built-in Smartphone telephoto lenses are getting better with each new release, but sometimes you need just a little bit more reach and that’s where the 36x telephoto lens comes into play.
The Apexel 36x telephoto lens brings far away subjects closer and helps make your phone produce close-ups and long-range shots without compromising image quality. Can also be used as a standalone telescopic lens to help you view distant objects, ideal for camping, sporting events, moon observing, bird watching, fishing, hiking, golf, concerts, and traveling.
The lens comes with a remote shutter that can help you capture images at a distance. Works extremely well and provides fantastic images!
DOF Adapter MK2 from Beastgrip
Add film-like style of full-frame SLR and DSLR cinema lenses to your smartphone’s camera
Compatible with: Most smartphones
- Creates is something you simply cannot achieve with the small sensor phone
- Using traditional lenses
- Makes your smartphone feel like a DSLR/Mirrorless Camera
- Getting a good picture takes a bit of effort
- Focus may be a problem with some of the lenses
- 20% light loss using the adapter
Bring the bokeh, depth of field, focus pulling, and film-like style of full-frame SLR and DSLR cinema lenses to your smartphone’s camera using the DOF Adapter MK2 from Beastgrip.
Create a visual masterpiece. Mount it into Beastgrip rig and you’re ready to add your favorite DSLR/SLR* lens for a beautiful film look, bokeh, and natural shallow depth of field.
Works especially well for cinematic storytelling, portraits, and creative shots.
Pull focus manually like cinema cameras for a more controlled focus. Works great with vintage lenses that use any of the following mounts (requires adapter ring): Nikon F-mount, Nikon G-mount, M42 mount, and Pentax K-mount.
When you pair the DOF Adapter with a 35 or 50mm manual prime lenses you will be amazed at the DSLR type video that is produced for your smartphone.
Great depth of field and slightly softer image to give a more cinematic look to your video. Keep in mind you will have to learn manual focusing and you must pair this with an app like Filmic Pro, ProTake, or McPro24fps to flip the image and use focus peaking.
Keep in mind that there is no image stabilization so you will need a perfectly steady hand or a stabilizer like a tripod or a larger size gimbal to get perfect shots.
SHUTTERMOON Smartphone Camera Lens Kit
The most versatile smartphone lens kit
Compatible with: Most smartphones | Lens types: Fisheye, macro, ultra-wide-angle, telephoto, kaleidoscope, circular polarized red filter, Star filter, and wide-angle blue filter
- Good variety
- Good price
- Different price options
- Getting a good picture takes a bit of effort
- Focus may be a problem with some of the lenses
- Unable to work with certain phone cases
Who doesn’t like pictures? We provide the creative tools to launch anyone into the world of Photography. The 2X Telephoto zooming lens will allow you to capture distant objects, allowing you to attain real impact into your shots.
The 198° degree Fisheye Lens will help you capture convex, hemispherical images instead of square ones, giving you the fishbowl effect. With the 0.63X Wide Angle Lens you can capture the entire field or tribe in one picture.
If you want a smartphone lens kit with the most variety of lenses to play around with, the strong Shuttermoon Camera Lens Kit is the best choice for you. And the best part is that it’s quite affordable.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most affordable lens kits?
What is the best wide-angle smartphone lens?
The Moment Wide Lens is one of the best wide lens options out there.
What is a good fisheye add-on lens for smartphones?
Moment Fisheye Lens is one of the best fisheye lenses out there.
What is the best smartphone lens kit?
The Xenvo Pro Lens Kit is one of the best smartphone lens kits out there. It provides crisp and quality photos.
What is a good anamorphic lens?
Moment Anamorphic Lens is a good anamorphic lens for smartphone photography and filmmaking.
What is a telephoto lens?
A telephoto lens is a type of long-focus lens in which the physical length of the lens is shorter than the focal length.
What is a good telephoto lens?
Are Moment lens add-ons good?
Moment lenses are some of the best in the industry. Although some smartphone users have reported some blurring in the corners of the frame, but this can be minimized by installing the lenses properly with a moment smartphone case.
While smartphone cameras continue to improve with each new release, it’s tough for them to match the quality and the angles that a full camera lens can produce. But, with the right smartphone lens, you can get as close as possible while still using your smartphone. We hope our list of the best lenses for smartphones has stimulated your curiosity about what these lenses can do to provide you with amazing photos.
Do you have a lens for your smartphone that is a go-to option for you? Let us know about it in the comments below!!
About the author: Trent (IMDB |Youtube) has spent 10+ years working on an assortment of film and television projects. He writes about his experiences to help (and amuse) others. If he’s not working, he’s either traveling, reading or writing about travel/film, or planning travel/film projects.
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