The clip-on phone lens and my personal review



I am sure that it comes as no surprise that I love to take photos. I am in no way claiming to be a professional photographer, but I am someone who has a huge fondness for it. Firstly, everything that I know is self-taught, and I'm always looking for new ways to take photos as well as edit them. When it comes to taking photos, we always assume that getting the latest popular camera is the only way to get those crisp photos we love to see on Instagram, blogs and Pinterest.


But of course, money always makes this option a difficult one.  Yes indeed, the DSLR is ridiculously expensive and most of us can't afford a camera and who can ignore how heavy it is to carry? That means ladies, unfortunately, you may not be able to carry it around on every trip you have. From personal experience, how horrible it can be to find a beautiful camera-friendly spot by chance, and uh-oh, no camera because you didn't want to lug that burden around every day. 

Getting back to the point, like many of you, most of my photos are taken on my smartphone Samsung S6, but occasionally I use Samsung nx1000, and often a DSLR too. But my S6 seems to win hands-down the majority of the time. Why? In all honesty, it is the easiest option. I have no criticism at all of the cameras, and it's a really handy, simple widget to carry around. Now, of course, a smartphone isn't exactly comparable to a DSLR. With time, I wanted to give it a little makeover - I wanted to take it to the next level. And so, I found a smartphone camera clip-on. 

Click here to find the clip-on I chose. The shape of this clip-on in particular drew me towards it. The lens is used for most smartphones, but it's a given that all smartphone cameras are positioned in different places for each phone. The iPhone camera is closer to the top left, whilst a Samsung camera is lower in the centre. So for that reason, I knew I had to get a clip-on lens that is long, to allow the lens to fit comfortably on top of my camera lens, without any part getting cut off the edges.

I also decided to get a clip-on with as many lenses as I could because of course, value for money and I wanted to try the other lenses. 


What is part of the lens I got?
Fisheye lens, approximately 180 degrees field of view. Screws on to the macro lens as a precision set.

Wide angle lens, expands the native viewing angle by 2x and screws on to the macro lens as a precision set.

Macro lens, an Incredible focal distance of 1/2 (13mm) for some amazing 10x macro shots.

CPL circular filter lens, eliminates reflections or enchance saturation.

Telephoto lens 2x zooms lens to take a photo of natural aspect of the object from far distant. Just like you are using a 2x optical zoom lens.


So, what are my thoughts?
Upon opening and trying the lens when I first received them, I was so pleased with them. I took my first photos excitedly during the late afternoon/ early evening. I remember the curtains were closed in my house, and it was dark outside, though the light was switched on indoors. The reason I am pointing this out is so that you have an idea of what type of lighting these lens work best with. I did a quick Instagram story with the lens to present the pictures I took with them. 

The pictures are included in this post below, however, because it was a quick trial there aren't any before or after shots, or any indication of what lens I used, as I don't actually remember, unfortunately. I do really love these photos though.  I thought the details were excellent, and there was a distinct difference between my phone pictures and the clip-on lens.




The second time I used the clip-on lens was for a photoshoot I did at my sister's apartment. We were testing our photo ideas with one of our new abayas, and taking photos for Instagram too. I think it's safe to say the results were just okay, as the abaya shots didn't appear as great as they could be. The lens caught on to other details, but not the abaya fabric which was the focal point it actually came out blurry at times. I can't say I'm too surprised about this though because abaya photos are hard to take. Often, the camera won't focus on the all black fabric, and on some occasions, if I am lucky that is the abaya fabric doesn't appear grainy. But that is an entirely different subject. The lenses did work well with close-up shots, which I was very pleased with.


Below is a before and after shot using CPL circular filter lens.  The photos are brighter when I used the lens. For example,  below it is quite clear that it has gotten rid of the illuminating glossy glare on the book. Which is what I was aiming for.




The final place I tried out the lenses was a special photo shoot in Holland Park. I chose this park especially as it is full of beautiful, idyllic scenery and it's a calming place to walk around. It was like shooting (pun intended) two birds with one stone; walking and capturing photos - two things I love to do. Now, the purpose of this photoshoot was to show you exactly the before and after of these lenses, in natural light outside, which is completely different to what I found with indoor shots, both taken during the day and evening.

When using each lens

Let me start off by eliminating one of the lenses from my review. The macro lens was the one lens that I thought I will overuse the most, and ironically it is the one that refused to work for me. I don't know if it is supposed to only work with another lens screwed on top of it.  Unfortunately, when used by itself it was too out of focus and blurred. But the macro lens does work with the zoom lens when both lenses are screwed together. And it is also screwed with the fisheye lens.

For my first shot, I used the fisheye. I was extremely excited to try this lens! The first time I saw it was on Instagram. It was a beautiful shot of the new entrance to Masjid al-Haram - I instantly fell in love, determined to get my hands on the fisheye lens to capture some great awe-inspiring shots too!

I have to admit, this lens was a bit of a disappointment. I don't know if it was the circle black frame around the photo, or the not so circle fisheye shot... I can't figure out exactly what it is, but it's definitely ranked least favourite of the lenses for me. Also, the instructions of the lens stated that the fisheye lens screws onto the macro lens as a precision set, which would have been awesome, if only it did. Unfortunately again I was let down and it actually didn't screw onto the macro lens for me.

The second lens I tried was the wide angle, which I thought would be perfect for some semi-panoramic city shots when I want to get as many building as I can into one photo (even as landscape photos). It definitely does the job! You can see the difference below. However, I found that in some shots, the photo was not as clear as it originally was, which was a little off-putting.
.The telephoto lens aka the zoom lens!  Overall, I absolutely love this lens. It zooms 2X! It gives a bright contrast to the original camera picture, and I love the pop of colour and clarity. The edges of the photo come out slightly blurred and distorted, which I sometimes love and find it gives a whimsical dreamy effect to the photo, but other times I don't like so much. Thankfully, this can easily be cropped out.

CPL is also another one of my favourites, no it is my main favourite lens. When used indoors I have seen that it works amazingly. As you have seen when I did the photo shoot at my sister's house. When experimenting with this lens I have found that it works beautifully when you want to take a photo of a tv screen or computer screen it eliminates the line and the glare that forms on the screens. However, when used to take a picture of the waterfall I didn't notice much of a difference on the reflections on the water.


Pros & Cons

Pro: you have the choice of having a lot of lenses to choose from.

Con: Fiddling! At first, I thought the aspect of having so many lenses would be fun, and I could change it around whenever needed. But when I was outside taking these photos by myself without help, the constant fiddling lost all of its appeals - it wasn't so fun anymore. I wanted to stick to one the whole day.


Pro: It is a clip-on lens, and would probably work amazing on iPhone because the iPhone lens is not so low as the Samsung lens on the back of the phone.

Con: The clip-on: I purposely chose a longer clip-on to avoid the lens cutting off, but it somehow managed to do just that in photos. It was really annoying trying to clip the lens directly over all the time (iPhone users probably won't have this problem).

If I had to change anything, I would stick to one or maybe two really good lenses, that stay on the camera to avoid changing all the time. My favourite of all the lens would have to be the CPL when used indoors.

An interesting fact: Initially, I bought these lenses to use on my trip to Istanbul (which a lot of you may have seen on my Instagram). I had a pouch with all my lenses in my handbag, but I didn't even use it once! All of my photos were taken on my smartphone, and my camera managed to get a few shots too. Perhaps this reveals quite a lot about my general thoughts on these lenses (I mean they certainly weren't on the top of my list + were very time to consume). I did, however, notice that quite a lot of tourists used clip-on lenses that were much bigger than mine... so I have come to the conclusion that next time (In Sha Allah) I get a clip-on lens, it will be 1 good quality all-purpose kind, to save myself the trouble of all the swapping.


10 comments

  1. It looks like a nice add-on for photo fanatics, but if I would have this, it would permanently stay in my bag than being used! Sounds interesting, especially the variations in the pictures...

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  2. girl you got me yearning for one now :p It's been a while since I last did proper photography!

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  3. Interesting product. I'm not entirely sure I'm sold on it but can see how it can give someone who doesn't want to carry a DSLR around some better options. I think that there's some very clear pros and cons to this product and although some pictures come out looking good, as you mentioned, some of them come out slightly less focused and blurry also. I feel like this will be a product that will be excellent in a couple of years if/when they clear those little bugs. Thank you for sharing!

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  4. I have a DSLR which I hate carrying around....I got one of these lenses (not this exact one) and have to sayI wasn't impressed....and still prefer the quality of the DSLR and will stick to that when I can be bothered to carry it around.

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  5. Thank you so much for the before and after pics, the lens makes a huge difference. Time to invest in one insha aallah.

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  6. Awesome....looks like must buy...being a food photographer I always look out for gadgets and accessories like these....thank you for sharing....Your after and before pics are good way to review the product...

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  7. Love this post! Been trying to up my photography game lately. Thanks for sharing :) (www.beautywithzainy.com and www.spicyfusionkitchen.com)

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  8. Thank you for such a detailed review and before and after shots, it's really helpful.

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  9. Thanks for detailed review. I had no idea a thing like clip on lenses existed for phones. Will give them a search, really need to work on my photography for my etsy shop.

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  10. I am no photographer, but I've been considering using something like this to enhance my photos. This was such a helpful review! I will keep looking :)

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