If anything has become clear in the last few years, it’s that the majority of the photos you take will be shot with your smartphone. As much as you’d like to be documenting events big and small with that clunky point-and-shoot camera you paid and arm and a leg for, it’s impossible to have that within reach 24/7.
The knuckle sandwich in all of this is that the iPhone 5 and 6 cameras we’ve been relying so heavily on are just so-so. Yes, the new iPhone 7 will have less limitations given it’s dual lenses (an improved wide angle and the addition of a telephoto), but if you really want to match the clarity and color values of your beloved DSLR, you need an attachment lens. Below we’ve rounded up five of the strongest options currently on the market, and we’ll let you pick which is the best fit for the photography adventures that await you.
The Product & Price: 4-in-1 Lens, $79.99
The Lowdown: This kit offers four glass lenses—fisheye, wide angle, and a macro 10x and 15x—all of which work with front- and rear-facing cameras (Read: You can take selfies with 20 friends now!) The same set is also available for the iPad for $69. The downside? Your phone has to be naked to work with the systems.
iPhone 7 Compatibility: Three lens kits for the 7 and 7 Plus are available for pre-order and expected to ship this month. The kits will be more adaptable to iPhone screen protectors.
Attachment Difficulty Level: This is one of the easiest add-ons in our list, as the lenses are screwed into an attachment that is simply clipped onto the top of your phone.
The Product & Price: Macro Lens, $79.99
The Lowdown: The consensus among consumers and critics alike is that Moment is making some of the best quality lenses on the market. The 10x macro—one of four lenses sold by Moment—captures tiny details your phone is incapable of doing, while offering excellent sharpness with little distortion.
iPhone 7 Compatibility: Existing lenses work on the new iPhone, though you’ll need to pre-order a new mounting or plate or case.
Attachment Difficulty Level: This varies since there are two ways to use the lens. Your first option is to buy the slick-looking Moment iPhone case (four options range from $39 to $49 and each includes a DSLR-like shutter button and a camera strap attachment) and plug the lenses into the case, which is Bluetooth-equipped. The case senses when a lens has been attached and pulls up the (free) Moment app, which allows you to control exposure and focus. The second more cumbersome option involves you adhering a (removable) mounting plate to the outside of your phone and attaching the lenses there.
The Product & Price: Magnetic Lens Series, $99
The Lowdown: Crafted out of aluminum and high-clarity glass, these lenses are compatible with any device that has a lens—meaning iPhones, iPads, Blackberries, you name it. The offerings include a 180-degree fisheye, a 235-degree super fisheye, a 2x telephoto, a combo wide angle/macro and a glare-reducing polarizer, which are a great deal at $20 each or as a five-pack for $99.
iPhone 7 Compatibility: According to the company’s Tumblr, they are working on iPhone 7 lenses, but in the meantime the Macro Lens fits all phones.
Attachment Difficulty Level: Some effort is involved here, as the lenses come with an adhesive removable ring plate that fits any phone. Once adhered, the photo lenses attach magnetically, and can be snapped on and off. Probably the most innovative form of attachment in the bunch.
The Product & Price: 3 in 1 Clip On Lenses, SALE $10.99 (Originally $15.99)
The Lowdown: However you look at it, three diverse lenses for $11 is a smoking deal. No, the quality isn’t going to match some of the pricier options out there, but the ease-of-use and wide range of functionality make this kit a good buy. Included are a 10x macro, 180-degree fisheye and .65x wide angle lens.
iPhone 7 Compatibility: Uncertain
Attachment Difficulty Level: Easy as pie, you simply clamp the lens over any smartphone, iPad or laptop lens that isn’t bigger than 13mm in diameter. That said, unless your case is very thin, your phone would need to be naked to accommodate these lenses
The Product & Price: Triple Smart Lens Kit, $29.99
The Lowdown: Resembling a giant clothespin, this kit comprises three lenses—a 360-degree fisheye, a 10x macro and wide-angle—that all work to also filter out glare and make colors more vivid on front and back camera lenses.
iPhone 7 Compatibility: The lenses work with the iPhone 7 front and back cameras, however, they're only compatible with the front camera on the iPhone 7 Plus.
Attachment Difficulty Level: Easy like Sunday morning, these lenses can clip on to any iPhone, iPad or laptop lens without the need of a case or mount—and also work over a thin iPhone case.
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