In the last few years, we’ve seen smartphone cameras become more powerful than ever, so much so that they’ve, pretty much, taken over the once-lucrative point-and-shoot category. Not only are modern smartphone cameras able to capture images that can stand up to dedicated cameras, their powerful processors are able to perform plenty of advanced processing that are able elevate the quality of the images they take.
As good as your smartphone’s camera has gotten, however, the pocket-friendly size means it will always have to make do with a small lens. That’s why, add-on lenses are among the first things that people pick up when they get more serious about smartphone filmmaking and photography, as the higher-grade optics not only improve the quality of your captured images, they also allow you to shoot scenes in more creative ways.
These are the best smartphone lenses available today.
Olloclip 3-in-1 Essential Lens Kit
This kit bundles three lenses in one set, giving you a fisheye, macro, and super wide angle perspective. The fisheye lets you shoot 180-degree field of view spherical scenes with that familiar bulging distortion, while the superwide lens doubles the field of view for capturing even more of the scene in the frame. The macro lens, on the other hand, gives you a 15x microscope function, allowing you to zoom in tight on any subject with a blurry bokeh background effect.
It comes with a Connect X clip that you slip over the top of your phone and use as a mount for the included lenses, so you simply swap in the lens you want to get ready for a shot. The clip is designed to work with both rear and front cameras, so you can use the lenses with either one, all while being compatible with the rest of the outfit’s lenses, so you can easily expand your collection of smartphone optics.
Moment Wide 18mm Lens
This lens is very popular among content creators, as it allows you to shoot with a vast field of view, putting as much detail of a scene straight into your frame. It produces a crystal-clear images that are very sharp, albeit with some amount of flaring due to the wide view, while the glass coating lends a really soft feel to any footage you take. On top of the stellar picture quality, the lens just feels premium, with a powder-coated aluminum housing, high-quality optics, and a convenient twist-and-go mount. Like other Moment lenses, the big downside here is the cost, as the lens itself isn’t just priced higher than comparable options, it also requires a compatible case for your smartphone. If you’re serious about getting better photos and videos, though, this lens is worth the investment.
Moment Anamorphic Lens
If you want to bring a more cinematic feel to your photos and videos, this lens will do that by letting you shoot in an ultrawide 21:9 aspect ratio. Not only do they give you that black bars perspective for video, they add the oval bokeh, light artifacts, and horizontal lens flares that’s been a signature element of those cinematic shots to your photos, too. Suffice to say, it will give your captures a vintage cinematic feel you just can’t recreate with stock smartphone lenses. Do note, Moment sells one of the more expensive solutions for anamorphic lenses on top of requiring you to purchase one of their cases, if you don’t own one already. If you can spare the expense, though, it’s easily the best solution out there for quickly bringing cinematic chops to your smartphone filmmaking.
Shiftcam Photography Kit ProLens Bundle
If you want to buy lenses for photography rather than filmmaking, this kit offers a powerhouse combo that combines a 60mm telephoto lens that lets you compose heavy-impact closeups (up to 5x optical zoom) and an 18mm wide angle lens that lets you fit as much of the scene to create a rich, vibrant image even from up close. Both lenses come with a premium feel as well, so they should last you a fair amount of time, so long as your phone stays compatible with the mount. Yes, the price feels a bit prohibitive, but if you’re serious about leveling up your smartphone photography, this is the way to go.
Shiftcam Videography Kit ProLens Bundle
For those serious about getting into smartphone filmmaking, this two-lens bundle is a great way to get started. It comes with a 1.33x anamorphic lens for that ultrawide cinematic framing and a 60mm telephoto to give yourself a zoomed-in look that retains pristine image quality. We’re big fans of the universal mount, as it stays firmly in place even through difficult shots, all while coming with an adapter that lets you add in other accessories, such as a light or a mic.
The quality of both lenses is amazing, allowing you to capture incredible-looking footage, especially if you pair them with a stabilizing gimbal. If you make films on your smartphone, expect both of these to get plenty of mileage, as the anamorphic lens really delivers that cinematic feel that’s so hard to get on a phone, while the telephoto lens gives you one of the best options for those close-up shots that are so hard to nail on a standard phone lens.