Mobile Photography is as easy as pointing your smartphone towards your subject and shooting away, but some of us want a little more than that. The smartphone camera keeps evolving and things we thought were impossible with a mobile years ago are now possible. There was a time when Optical Image Stabilization was exclusive to DSLR cameras, but quite a number of modern smartphones now have this feature.
There are several accessories available in the market to enhance mobile photography and lots of these are coming out of China these days. You can turn up your mobile photography game a notch with some of these, like this universal 4-in-1 universal lens kit that (kinda) works for most mobile phones.
Of course, you shouldn’t expect the same quality as the famed Olloclip Lens kit or Moment Lens that cost way more than this. When purchasing lenses for your DSLR or smartphone, you still get what you paid for. However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t had some fun using this universal 4-in-1 lens.
10x Macro Lens
Of all the four lenses, this is my very favorite. I’ve combined this lens with the Macro mode on Camera+ for iOS and the result is just astounding. The 10x macro lens works, but there’s a certain issue with it. Unless your object of focus is somewhere around the center, you may end up with a blurry image as a large part of the edge tends to go out of focus. Here are more sample images taken with the macro lens. Click to enlarge.
It is quite normal to have out-of-focus edges in macro photography, but the one generated by the macro lens looks a bit too much. Then, you need a super steady hand as you can only focus at a certain distance. Anything before or beyond that point will ruin your image.
Note: This is attached to the wide-angle lens. You need to unscrew to detach the wide-angle lens, leaving only the macro lens in the holder.
9x Telephoto Lens
To cut the long story short, I kind of hate this lens.
Unlike the other four lenses that are relatively easy to attach (because you can clearly see the position of the camera through the lens), getting the telephoto lens to align correctly with the camera is a real pain in the butt.
This image below is the original image captured with the smartphone without any accessory:
Trying to crop out a part of the image gave a rather distorted result with lots of noise:
Attaching the 9x telephoto lens gave us this:
If you get it to align with the camera correctly on the iPhone 6S Plus, there shouldn’t be a vignette but some smartphone cameras I used it with (like the Infinix Hot S) did give a dark edge around the image.
However, it does what it claims to do. It has a focusing ring with a focusing distance indicator. I did shoot a portrait with bokeh at 3M or so. There is no zoom ring. Another thing you should know is that the image quality isn’t that great. It’s also worth mentioning that you won’t get the best result if your smartphone lacks optical image stabilization, hence the need for a tripod to take a steady shot.
Even though this lens is included, I hardly use it since I’m not a fan of fisheye photography style. I’m one of those that consider this nothing but a gimmick.
Here’s an original image captured with the smartphone camera:
And this is how it looks captured with the fisheye lens from exactly the same spot:
The lens included has the barrel distortion when you view resulting images and this is expected, and there is also a slight blur around the edge.
x0.67 Wide Angle Lens
This isn’t a stand alone lens, you need to screw it into the macro lens before you can use it. It does really extend the view to capture areas your regular camera won’t see.
Here is an image captured with the camera without any accessory:
Attaching the wide angle lens to the camera and shooting from the same spot increased the field of view. You can notice the white van on the left is now included:
However, there’s also also an unwanted vignette around the edge. You can crop this out of though.
Should you buy?
A professional photographer might only have use for the macro lens. It works and I’ve been able to take some really great photos with it, but saying it’s perfect is a lie. It’s not. Getting the telephoto lens to align correctly is never easy, this is why a branded, high-quality telephoto lens from Olloclip or Moment is still preferable. These have dedicated phone cases that let you easily attach your lens.
The distortion with the fisheye lens is expected and the wide-angle lens isn’t bad. As said earlier, getting a high quality lens means spending quite a huge sum of money. A 4-in-1 lens kit from Olloclip for the iPhone costs $80, about ₦32,000 using the current exchange rate. Besides, it doesn’t work for all phones.
The good thing about this universal lens kit is that it works for all smartphones (theoretically). We are currently selling this item for only ₦8,000.
Note: The tripod used in the featured image isn’t included in this kit.