Phone Camera Lenses: The Complete Guide

by | Camera Gear

Phone photography has come a long way in recent years.

The quality of the cameras built into phones is now good enough that many people are ditching their standalone cameras altogether.

But even the best phone cameras have their limits — that’s where clip-on lenses come in.

Clip-on lenses attach to your phone’s camera lens and allow you to take better photos in a variety of situations.

For example, you can get a wide-angle lens to capture more of the scene in front of you, or a telephoto lens for close-up shots.

There are also macro lenses for taking close-ups of small objects, and fisheye lenses for fun, distorted photos.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the best clip-on lenses on the market and help you choose the right one for your needs.

Do You Need A Lens For Your Phone?

Though the cameras on our phones have gotten pretty good over the years, there are still some limitations when it comes to taking high-quality photos.

One way to overcome these limitations is to use a clip-on lens, which can provide a wider field of view, more zoom, or better low-light performance.

Clip-on lenses are relatively inexpensive and easy to use, making them a great option for anyone who wants to improve their phone camera photography.

In addition, many clip-on lenses come with handy carrying cases or pouches, so you can keep them close at hand when you need them.

So if you’re looking to take your phone camera photography to the next level, consider investing in a clip-on lens.

Clip-on lenses are relatively inexpensive and easy to use.

Downsides Of A Phone Lens

Although clip-on phone camera lenses can provide a number of benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider.

One problem is that they can be difficult to keep in place, especially if you are taking active photos or videos. The lens can also obscure your view of the screen, making it difficult to frame shots accurately.

Additionally, clip-on lenses can add significant bulk to your phone, making it more difficult to carry and use. And finally, they can be quite expensive, especially if you are looking for a high-quality lens.

Therefore, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of clip-on phone camera lenses before deciding whether or not to purchase one.

Clip-on lenses can add significant bulk to your phone.

Types Of Phone Lenses

Wide-Angle Lenses

If you want to capture more of the scene in front of you, then a wide-angle lens is what you need.

These lenses typically have a field of view (FOV) of around 120 degrees, which is about twice as wide as the average phone camera’s FOV of 60 degrees.

This allows you to fit more into your frame, making them ideal for landscape and group shots.

One thing to keep in mind with wide-angle lenses is that they can make things appear further away than they actually are.

So if you’re using one to take a close-up shot of someone’s face, for example, their features may appear slightly distorted.

Telephoto Lenses

A telephoto lens is the opposite of a wide-angle lens; it has a narrower FOV and makes things appear closer than they actually are.

This can be handy for taking close-up shots without having to get physically close to your subject matter. Telephoto lenses typically have an FOV of around 40 degrees.

One thing to keep in mind with telephoto lenses is that they require more light to avoid coming out blurry.

So, if you’re trying to take a low-light photo with one, it’s best to use a tripod or some other form of stabilization to keep your camera steady.

Macro Lenses

A macro lens is designed for taking close-up photos of small objects — think flowers, insects, and other tiny things.

These lenses have an incredibly narrow FOV — usually around 10 degrees — which allows them to focus on objects that are just a few centimetres away from the camera lens.

This makes them ideal for taking detail shots where you want every element in sharp relief.

Fisheye Lenses

Fisheye lenses are fun little lenses that distort your photos in a circular fashion.

They have an ultra-wide FOV—usually around 180 degrees — which gives them their distinctive fishbowl look.

If you’ve ever seen a 90s skateboard video, then you are likely familiar with this style of camera lens!

If you’re looking to add a bit of flair to your photos, then a fisheye lens is definitely worth considering.

There are many different types of lenses available for your phone!

Best Phone Lenses

There are a lot of phone lenses available these days — many of which are either low-quality or overpriced.

With a strong consideration for both quality and affordability, we’ve come up with some of our favourites, listed below.

Best Wide Angle Lens: Moment 18mm Wide Lens

The Moment 18mm Wide Lens claims to offer twice as much image area as your phone would without this lens. That’s impressive!

This lens was also built using aerospace-grade metal and hand-polished glass — making it stand out in regard to quality.

It also features an aspherical design and includes a lens cap and a small microfiber carrying bag.

The downside to this lens is that it requires a special Moment brand phone case in order to use it (this costs extra).

Furthermore, the requirement of a special case means you may encounter compatibility issues if you don’t own a popular model of phone.

Click here to check out The Moment 18mm Wide Lens

Best Telephoto Lens: Moment Telephoto 58mm Lens

The Moment Tele 58mm Lens offers an impressive 4x optical magnification. This makes it ideal for capturing things that are too far away to photograph with a standard smartphone.

This lens features a fully metal casing and six glass elements. It also comes with a rubber lens cap.

Like other Moment products, this lens is built with quality materials and feels quite sturdy.

Unfortunately, like other Moment products, this lens requires the use of a special moment case.

Click here to check out The Moment Telephoto 58mm Lens

Best Super Telephoto Lens: Apexel 36x Telephoto Lens

This lens will give you some serious range!

With its 36x magnification, the Apexel 36x Telephoto Lens exceeds the category of “Telephoto” and can easily be considered a “Super Telephoto.”

The obvious drawback of such a lens is its sheer size. After all, you won’t exactly be storing this one in your pocket (at least while it’s still attached to your phone).

However, this lens does come with a mini tripod — making it much easier to operate.

The quality of this lens is known to be lesser than that of a Moment lens, for example. And some users report a little vignetting in images.

That said, it is still an excellent purchase, considering its extreme range!

Click here to check out The Apexel 36x Telephoto Lens

Best Macro Lens: ShiftCam Traditional 10x Macro ProLens

If you enjoy the little things in life (literally), then this lens is for you.

The ShiftCam Traditional 10x Macro ProLens offers a 10x macro magnification, meaning you can get ten times closer to small objects — allowing you to capture their fine detail.

This lens is built with acceptable quality and features a lens hood as well (though it is made of plastic).

The lens also features a simple clip-on mounting system, meaning there is no need to acquire any fancy camera cases — just attach and go!

Click here to check out The ShiftCam Traditional 10x Macro ProLens

Best Fish Eye Lens: Moment Superfish Lens

Our choice of the best fisheye lens also goes to Moment.

When it comes to all-around build quality, image quality, and price, the Moment Superfish Lens is simply a great option.

On their website, Moment boasts that this lens is “wider than an ultra-wide and cheaper than a GoPro.”

This pretty much sums it up. If you want that super-wide and rounded GoPro look, but don’t want to splash out on an expensive GoPro, this could be your next best option.

Like other Moment lenses, you will be required to purchase a special phone case to use with this lens. However, this purchase could be worth it considering the affordability and general quality of Moment lenses.

Click here to check out The Moment Superfish Lens

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of different clip-on camera lenses on the market, each with its own unique benefits and drawbacks.

In this guide, we’ve taken a look at some of the most popular options and helped you decide which one is right for your needs.

So whether you’re looking to capture more of the scene with a wide-angle lens or add some fun distortion with a fisheye lens, there’s definitely an option out there for you!

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