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If you’re trying to find a significant tool to amp up your smartphone videos and photos, we recommend Moment’s Anamorphic Lens. We found it to be the simplest during this category after testing 70 smartphone lenses over five years while traveling to the Grand Canyon , Hawaii, and therefore the French countryside. For more casual smartphone shooters, we even have a more budget-friendly pick, the Criacr 3-in-1 Lens Kit.

Moment’s 1.33x Anamorphic Lens can give your smartphone videos, and photos, a more cinematic appearance with sexy horizontal flares—something that even the newest three-camera iPhone can’t do yet. For avid smartphone shooters concerned about high-quality results and a well-designed mounting system, Moment lenses are well worth the investment. Unlike cheaper plastic lenses, which may slightly degrade your images, Moment’s lenses use large glass optics that make sharp images with little to no distortion across the whole frame

And while we still recommend Moment’s Wide 18mm Lens and Tele 58mm Lens, these might not feel as necessary if you’ve got a more moderen iPhone with three built-in lenses. The Wide 18mm Lens expands your iPhone’s field of view only enough to desire a fresh perspective (about 0.63x magnification). The 2x Tele 58mm Lens doubles the optical zoom of your iPhone’s lens without degrading the image quality as digital zoom can.

Using these lenses requires a further purchase, the instant Photo Case. Mounting and unmounting lenses on this case offers the smoothest and easiest experience among the lens systems we tested—you just twist the lens in or out, almost like doing so on a DSLR—and the lenses remain firmly attached. the instant cases are so protective, stylish, and straightforward to use that we didn’t mind keeping them on, even once we weren’t using the lenses.

The Criacr 3-in-1 Lens Kit set stands out from similar clip-on options because its wide lens (0.6x magnification) provides a useful field of view that goes beyond what your smartphone can capture without veering into fish-eye territory—similar to a GoPro action camera. Each of the three lenses, which incorporates a 15x macro lens and a 180-degree fish-eye lens, are often securely stored inside a three-compartment carrying case with a wrist strap. In terms of image quality, these lenses are a clear step down from any Moment lens, with some blurring throughout the frame. The clip-on mount are often easily bumped causing further image quality problems, but these lenses are a fun and affordable thanks to experiment before committing to a costlier setup, and that they work together with your front-facing selfie camera.

I’m a photojournalist, a writer, and knowledgeable photographer, and that i have a good range of experience researching, testing, and writing about photography trends, techniques, and tools—including in my role as mobile-imaging editor at DPReview.

I’ve been researching and writing about smartphone lenses for this Wirecutter guide since 2015, and I’ve tested dozens of models along the way. I’ve also read abreast of every recommended smartphone lens attachment we’ve found on the web and thought of what highly respected review sites like TechRadar, The Phoblographer, CNET, and Fstoppers have had to mention . And we’ve asked friends with various levels of smartphone-photography prowess what they need out of such an attachment.

Who this is often for

Smartphone lens attachments are useful to anyone who is trying to urge more out of their phone’s built-in camera(s). Like switching lenses on a DSLR or mirrorless camera, they will change up your perspective to be wider or more zoomed in than the fixed lens of your iPhone, or other compatible smartphone, allows. The photos aren’t always perfect, leading to distortion, blurriness, color shifts, or all of the above, but counting on your intended use, these drawbacks could also be perfectly tolerable.

Most people fall under one among two categories of smartphone photographer: the enthusiast who uses their phone’s camera even as seriously and regularly as they might the other camera in their arsenal, and therefore the more casual snapshot shooter.

Mobile-photography and videography enthusiasts should consider higher-quality lenses that are heavier and costlier but produce exceptional results. Using lenses like these, you get many of the imaging capabilities of an inexpensive camera , with the familiar interface, mobility, and connectivity of your phone.

If you think about yourself more of an off-the-cuff smartphone shooter, a far better option could be to settle on a plastic lens combo to up your Instagram game without making a bigger investment. Plastic lenses don’t deliver the superior sharpness of costlier glass models, but they are doing offer a fun thanks to expand your phone’s photography capabilities with different focal lengths.

Finally, if you’re a basic smartphone shooter or a newbie and you’re just trying to find a fun photography toy to experiment with, an inexpensive clip-on lens set may be a great start line . The lens quality of such a group can’t compare thereupon of spendier models, but the results should suffice for social media sharing.

As Apple continues to enhance the iPhone with better and more cameras, adding a good or zoom lens attachment could seem less necessary if you’re using one among the models with a built-in wide, ultrawide, and zoom lens . But anamorphic lenses became more popular recently as how to offer your smartphone videos that ultrawide cinematic look, with cool effects like long, horizontal lens flares across the screen, which even the iPhone 12 Pro Max can’t do. With more and more lens makers jumping into this increasingly competitive market, we took a glance for the primary time this year at how smartphone anamorphic lenses compare.

For this update, we used an iPhone XS, which features a fisheye lens with a hard and fast focal distance of about 26mm, also as an iPhone 11, which offers both a 26mm fisheye lens and a 13mm ultrawide lens.

We’ve stuck to an equivalent criteria we’ve applied over the five years of updating this review to sort the great from the bad:A lens addition shouldn’t cause significant distortion (warped objects or altered perspective) or vignetting (darkening at the sides of the frame). However, fish-eye lenses are designed to distort intentionally.

The lens should be easy to connect and take away , and highly portable. If aligning the lens together with your smartphone’s camera is difficult, attaching the lens to its accompanying case takes too long, or the lenses are a pain to require along, you won’t bother.

If a case is required, it should be protective and attractive enough for you to use it a day . Or it should be very easy to use and take away that you simply don’t mind doing so. for instance , we dismissed variety of cases that seemed like sci-fi movie props and were also difficult to get rid of .

If a lens requires a separate lens attachment, it should be affordable . After upgrading to a replacement phone, you ought to be ready to keep using an equivalent lenses without spending an excessive amount of more.

A reliable manufacturer is preferable. We searched for companies with a proven diary and a good selection of models.

How we tested

Using the above criteria, we narrowed our list of lenses to about 90 smartphone lens attachments, seven of which we included in our hands-on testing for the late-2020 update of this guide. Since 2014, we’ve toted the foremost promising candidates around Seattle, testing them in some typical shooting situations. We’ve filled our backpack with them and put them to figure while hiking within the Cascades . We’ve brought them along on an epic summer road trip to ascertain the Grand Canyon , taken them sightseeing in France, and packed them in our beach bag on Maui. In 2020, we used both an iPhone XS and an iPhone 11 in our testing.

The variety of testing conditions allowed us to ascertain how the lenses perform in real world , helping us determine not just how they perform photographically but also how convenient they’re for shooting on the go. After every testing round, we carefully review the results to work out which models are acceptable, and that we consider this further hands-on experience in reaching our final conclusion.