The Top Clip-On Lenses

The Top Clip-On Lenses for Smartphone Photography

Do you have a clip-on lens for your smartphone? How about a high-quality one, ideal for your style of photography?

When shooting traditionally with DSLR or mirrorless, you’re definitely using optimal gear. Why would you treat your phone photography differently?

For the purposes of this guide, a clip-on lens refers to anything added to your phone’s native camera.

Yes, that includes mounted and add-on lenses too. Which means, there are some serious phone photography juggernauts jockeying to become the top clip-on lens for smartphone photography.

Why Upgrade to the Top Clip-On Lenses for Smartphone Photography?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7eXt1Ckt-U&t=1s

The camera on your phone is admittedly pretty good, but why not make it better?

A top clip-on lens accentuates the high-quality photo that your phone already takes by adding something your phone’s camera isn’t capable of doing. What is added depends on which of the five types of lenses designed to attach to your phone that you choose.

Typically, four kinds of lenses are available when purchasing clip-on lenses for phone photography – a macro, a telephoto, a fish-eye, and a wide-angle. When choosing which is best for you, keep in mind what kind of photographer you want to be!

There is also the anamorphic lens, which is ideal for phone videography.

The Four Phone Photography Lenses: Explained

top Phone Photography Lenses

MacWorld

Choosing a type of photography lens can be a struggle, but it doesn’t have to be.

When it comes to mobile photography, there are four types of lenses available to you. Each type of lens does very different things, so read thoroughly before purchasing. Seriously, good luck trying to take portraits on your smartphone with a macro lens.

If you want a couple of different lenses to test out against each other, then consider one of the smartphone lens kit options. These kits will come with multiple mobile phone camera lenses and sometimes even include a camera remote or phone tripod.

Smartphone Photography Lenses: Macro Lens

Clip-on macro lenses are ideal for taking up close and personal photos that see what the naked eye cannot. Seriously, a good macro lens for your phone will allow you to capture the hairs on a spider or a water droplet on a leaf.

Interested in Macro Photography on your phone? Read our full guide here!

If you’re photographing small animals, arts and crafts, or jewelry then this style lens is the best for you! Any of the top clip-on lens providers should have this option, and many will include it in a lens kit!

Smartphone Photography Lenses: Fish-Eye Lens

An intentional distortion of your image with the goal being a panoramic style photo – perfect for those mind-boggling landscapes.

The fish-eye lens creates a very stylized photo, so before you invest in one be certain that it’s the kind of lens is for you. These are a very specialized kind of lens, and as a result, the selection of them is pretty slim.

Smartphone Photography Lenses: Wide-Angle Lens

So, you’re an aspiring phone photographer and you’re looking for the perfect first piece of high-quality gear. Well, you’re most likely going to want to go with a wide-angle lens.

A wide-angle lens uses the refraction of light through the lens to simply grow the field of view for the photographer. If you prioritize landscape over portraits, then the wide-angle lens is perfect for your purposes. Any of the top clip-on lens providers should have this option.

Smartphone Photography Lenses: Telephoto Lens

Need to photograph something that’s 300 yards away? Well, then a telephoto lens is what you need. These lenses magnify your subject without any zoom (and you know why that’s good, right?).

The subjects of your photos will appear closer to the camera then they are, which is why the telephoto lens is perfect for both sports and wildlife photographers. Telephoto lenses are also great for portrait photography (it’s why Apple uses a Telephoto lens for its Portrait Mode)

Note – there is a whole article on Understanding Your Phone Camera Lens if you need additional explanation.

The Best Smartphone Camera Lens for Mobile Videography: Explained

When it comes to videography, you only have one serious option – an anamorphic lens.

The anamorphic lens is designed for videography, so if you’re shooting phone video with anything else, then you’re making a mistake. Yes, anamorphic lenses are expensive. But, they are nowhere as expensive as a high-end cinematography camera.

So, if you’re interested in making movies, short films, or starting a vlog then an anamorphic lens is a vastly superior introductory option to a traditional camera. You’ll even find that the quality is much higher than you were expecting.

Phone Videography Lens: Anamorphic

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cwZd2z1u9o&t=500s

An anamorphic lens is created for cinematography on your phone.

Seriously, even though these lenses are used for all kinds of phone videography, it’s clear they have the big screen in mind. Otherwise, why would anamorphic lenses have such cinematic lens flares?

If you’re considering phone videography, then you owe it to yourself to invest in an anamorphic lens. Shooting any other way would just be wrong.

The Top Clip-On Lenses for Smartphone Photography –

So, you’re joining the revolution and choosing phone photography over DSLR and mirrorless. Well, your transformation won’t be complete without a new smartphone photography lens! Just think too, that you’re saving hundreds of dollars even if you purchase the most expensive option on the market.

With that in mind, don’t just buy the most expensive offering or the one with the best reviews. When it comes to choosing the best clip-on lens for smartphone photography, the research is key.

There are so many options out there, and it’s imperative that you choose a lens that’ll work for you – not against you. We’ve compiled a list of best iPhone lenses of 2020 and we’re working on an Android-specific guide too.

We’ve given you all high-quality options, now it’s up to you to choose the lens that best fits your needs! Remember, consider your style of photography, your gear needs (i.e. does it come with a phone tripod or camera remote), and your device as you browse.

The 3 Best Smartphone Macro Lenses –

PhonePreviewOur RatingOptical ZoomMounting OptionsWorking DistanceWarrantyDevice CompatibilityCostCheck Price
Moment Macro 10x LensiPhone 12 Pro camera review9.3/1010xMoment M-Series Case
Moment Lens Mount
1"LifetimeiPhone
Galaxy
Pixel
OnePlus
$$$Check Price
Easy-Macro 4x Lens BandOnePlus 8 Pro camera review8.3/104xBand1"NoneUniversal$Check Price
Rhinoshield 2-in-1 Add-On Camera LensSamsung A71 camera review8.7/104xRhinoShield Case1.5"LimitediPhone
Pixel
Galaxy
OnePlus
Huawei
Asus
$$Check Price
Macro lenses are ideal for:

If any of these types of phone photography appeal to you, then maybe you’re a macro photographer! Did you answer, yes? Then click here to learn all about phone macro photography – from tips on technique to gear breakdowns.

Best Quality Option – Moment Macro 10x Lens

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrhuCFz7J2g

  • The Moment 10x Macro Lens will require the purchase of an M-Series Case
  • Removable diffuser hood is great for improving both clarity and lighting
  • 1-inch working distance isn’t great (but is better than most cheaper models)
  • Crafted with aerospace-quality metal and hand-polished glass (same as high-grade 4k film lenses)
  • Moment’s Unrivaled Warranty + Customer Service
Moment Macro 10x Lens Tech Specs –
  • Lens Distortion – less than 1%
  • Lens Focal Length – 25mm
  • Magnification – 10x
  • Weight of Lens – 34.7g
Best Budget Option – Easy-Macro 4x Lens Band
Easy-Macro Lens Band 

Pinterest (@photojojo)

  • Super simple design of the Easy-Macro 4x Lens Band makes shooting a breeze
  • Great for beginner smartphone macro photographers
Easy-Macro 4x Lens Band tech specs –
  • 4x optical zoom
  • 0.3 oz weight
Best Deal Option – Rhinoshield 2-in-1 Add-On Camera Lens
RhinoShield Macro Lens 

Reddit (u/impatrickt)

Rhinoshield 2-in-1 Add-On Camera Lens Tech Specs –
  • 4x optical zoom with the Macro offering
  • Wide Lens features over 60% more FOV than phone’s native lens

The 3 Best Smartphone Fish-Eye Lenses –

PhonePreviewOur RatingField of ViewMounting OptionsVignetting (Y/N)WarrantyDevice CompatibilityCostCheck Price
Black Eye Pro Fish-Eye G4 Phone Camera LensiPhone 12 Pro camera review8.8/10175° Clip-onN1 yearUniversal$$Check Price
KeyWing 3 in 1 Phone Lens KitOnePlus 8 Pro camera review8.6/10198°Clip-onYNoneUniversal$Check Price
Moment 14mm Fish-Eye LensSamsung A71 camera review9.2/10170° Moment M-Series Case
Moment Lens Mount
NLifetimeiPhone
Pixel
Galaxy
OnePlus
Huawei
Asus
$$$Check Price
Fish-eye lenses are ideal for:
  • Artsy and retro shots
  • Action and sports photography
  • Landscape photography (as an accentuation of your wide-angle)
  • Cityscape and street photography

You may think you don’t know what the fish-eye effect is all about, but if you’ve seen a 90s music video then you’re mistaken. The fish-eye lens look is very noticeable and in 2020, is rarely useable. It’s more of a specialty lens than the other three.

If you know your style of phone photography would benefit from a  fish-eye lens then, by all means, get one. But, if you’re a beginner looking to get gear that you can use for lots of styles of photography, then the fish-eye lens is not for you.

Best Quality Option – NEW Moment 14mm Fish-Eye Lens
Moment Moment 14mm Fisheye Lens

Moment

  • Surprisingly great smartphone vlogging lens
  • Mounting the Moment 14mm Fisheye Lens will require the purchase of an M-Series Case
  • Both cheaper than a GoPro and wider than a Wide-Angle Lens
  • 50-degrees more FOV than Apple’s Ultra-Wide Camera
  • Moment’s Unrivaled Warranty + Customer Service
Moment Fisheye 14mm Lens Tech Specs –
  • 14 mm equivalent Focal Length featuring 170-degree FOV
  • F/1.7
  • Should support all smartphones with sensor sizes up to 7.6mm
  • Higher resolution in the center of photos and lower resolution along the edges
  • Weight of Lens – 73.1g
Best deal Option – Black Eye Pro Fish-Eye G4 Phone Camera Lens

Black Eye Pro Fish-Eye G4 Phone Camera Lens review

Black Eye Pro Fish-Eye G4 Phone Camera Lens Specs –
  • 175° Field of View is impressive
  • 5.6 oz weight isn’t heavy at all
Best Budget OPTION – KeyWing 3 in 1 Phone Lens Kit

KeyWing 3 in 1 Phone Lens Kit review

KeyWing 3 in 1 Phone Lens Kit Specs –
  • 120° Wide Angle Lens
  • 198° Fisheye Lens
  • 20X Macro Lens (working distance 1.18″-3.54″)

3 Best Smartphone Wide-Angle Lenses –

PhonePreviewOur RatingMagnificationMounting OptionsWeightWarrantyDevice CompatibilityCostCheck Price
BeastGrip X KENKO Pro SeriesiPhone 12 Pro camera review8.8/100.75x- Beastgrip Pro Universal Rig
- Beastcage
- Other rigs with M37x0.75 lens mount
122 g1 yeariPhone
Some Android
$$$Check Price
ULANZI 16mm Wide Angle Phone Camera Lens w CPL FilterOnePlus 8 Pro camera review8.6/100.6xClip-on Screw51.7gLimitedUniversal$$Check Price
Moment 18mm Wide LensSamsung A71 camera review9.2/100.56xMoment M-Series Case
Moment Lens Mount
76.2gLifetimeiPhone
Pixel
Galaxy
OnePlus
Huawei
Asus
$$$Check Price
Wide-Angle lenses are ideal for:

If you’re looking to purchase your first high-quality phone camera lens, then this is the list for you. Wide-angle lenses are the most versatile lens available for smartphone photography. Seriously, they do it all!

It’s worth noting that the lenses on this list are more expensive than those on the other lists. This is done intentionally as the competition for the best wide-angle lens is more competitive than the others.

Best Quality Option – Beastgrip x Kenko Pro Series

Beastgrip x Kenko Pro Series Wide-Angle Lens

Beastgrip x Kenko Pro Series Specs –
  • 122g is pretty substantial
  • 0.75x is uniquely wide
  • 58mm equivalent focal length
Best Budget Option – ULANZI 16mm Wide Angle Phone Camera Lens w CPL Filter

ULANZI 16mm Wide Angle Phone Camera Lens w CPL Filter Universal mount

  • This Ulanzi 16mm Wide Angle Lens purchase also comes with CPL Filter
  • Ulanzi is known for their cost-effective mobile photography and filmmaking gear
  • Middle of the pack field of view wise
ULANZI 16mm Wide Angle Phone Camera Lens Specs –
  • 100-degree field of view
  • Universal screw mount design
Best Deal Option – Moment Wide 18mm Lens
Pixel 3a + Moment 18mm Wide Lens

Pixel 3a + Moment 18mm Wide Lens

  • Mounting the Moment 18mm Wide Lens will require the purchase of an M-Series Case
  • Moment’s Unrivaled Warranty + Customer Service
  • Multi-layer, low flare broadband anti-reflection lens coating
  • Film grade optics and aerospace grade construction
  • The best beginner Moment lens
Moment Wide 18mm Lens Tech Specs –
  • 18 mm equivalent focal length
  • Distortion – <0.5%
  • 0.63X magnification ratio
  • 76.2g weight is professional feeling

3 Best Smartphone Telephoto Lenses –

PhonePreviewOur RatingOptical ZoomEquivalent Focal Length Working DistanceWarrantyDevice CompatibilityCostCheck Price
Beastgrip Pro Series - 3x Tele Conversion LensiPhone 12 Pro camera review9.3/103x85mm6"12 monthsiPhone Only$$$Check Price
Moment Tele 58mm LensOnePlus 8 Pro camera review8.9/102x58mm 7.25"LifetimeiPhone
Pixel
Galaxy
OnePlus
$$Check Price
Ulanzi 65mm 2x Telephoto LensSamsung A71 camera review8.6/102x65mm6.5"12 monthsUniversal$Check Price
Telephoto lenses are ideal for:
  • Wild animal photography
  • Sports and action photography
  • Portrait photography

Do you need to capture something far away? Are you pretty sure that you won’t be able to get up close to take the photo?

Well, a telephoto lens allows you to take that photo from hundreds of yards away!

This is the most logical choice as a first lens if you don’t go with the wide-angle. A telephoto lens is also great for portrait photography.

Best Quality Option – Beastgrip Pro Series – 3x Tele Conversion Lens
Beastgrip tele lens

Amazon

BeastGrip Pro Series – 3x Conversion Lens Specs –
  • 3x optical zoom (6x when mounted on a phone’s native tele lens)
  • 85mm equivalent focal length
Best deal Option –  Moment Tele 58mm
Moment Tele 58mm Lens

Moment

NEW Moment Tele 58mm Lens Tech Specs –
  • Approximately 2x optical zoom when mounted over a single-lens camera or wide side of a dual-lens and approximately 4x optical zoom when mounted over the new iPhone telephoto lens
  • 58mm equivalent focal length
  • Designed for f/1.8 lenses 
  • Multi-layer, low flare broadband anti-reflection lens coating
Best budgey Option – Ulanzi 65mm 2x Telephoto Lens
Ulanzi 65mm 2x Telephoto Lens

AliExpress

  • The Ulanzi 65mm 2x Telephoto Lens is a cost-effective yet professional intro into mobile tele lenses
  • Ulanzi’s mounting is surprisingly effective
  • Universal compatibility
Ulanzi 65mm 2x telephoto lens specs –
  • 2x optical zoom (4x when mounted on a phone’s native tele lens)

The Top Lenses for Smartphone Videography –

PhonePreviewOur RatingAspect RatioDesqueeze AmountWeightWarrantyDevice CompatibilityCostCheck Price
BeastGrip 1.33x Anamorphic LensiPhone 12 Pro camera review9.3/100.75x- Beastgrip Pro Universal Rig
- Beastcage
- Other rigs with M37x0.75 lens mount
122 g1 yeariPhone
Some Android
$$$Check Price
ULANZI 1.33x Anamorphic LensOnePlus 8 Pro camera review8.7/100.6xClip-on Screw51.7gLimitedUniversal$Check Price
Moment 1.33x Anamorphic LensSamsung A71 camera review8.9/100.56xMoment M-Series Case
Moment Lens Mount
76.2gLifetimeiPhone
Pixel
Galaxy
OnePlus
Huawei
Asus
$$Check Price

Phone videography is a great chance to break into videography without the steep price tag associated with the traditional cinematography option.

Seriously, if you’re a budding videographer, then you owe it to yourself to at least consider phone videography. It’s unbelievably cheaper and higher-quality than you may think.

Learn more about phone videography here!

But, what lens should I use for mobile filmmaking? Well, if you want that Hollywood widescreen look with the Michael Bay style lens flares then you’re going to need an anamorphic lens for your smartphone. While these lenses are more expensive than the photography ones discussed above, the results from an anamorphic lens are distinctly different. At the same time, when I’m shooting videos for the Youtube channel, for example, I’m using all five types of lenses.

Best Quality Option – BeastGrip 1.33x Anamorphic Lens

Beastgrip Anamorphic Lens

Amazon

  • aa
BeastGrip 1.33x Anamorphic Lens Specs –

 

Best Budget Option – ULANZI 1.33x Anamorphic Lens

ULANZI Anamorphic Lens

Amazon

Best Deal Option – Moment 1.33x Anamorphic Lens

 
Moment Anamorphic Lens Tech Specs –
  • Will require the purchase of an M-Series Case
  • 1.33x magnification
  • 2:40:1 Cinemascope
  • Aerospace-grade metal
  • Distortion – Vintage Anamorphic barrel-type distortion
  • Hand polished glass found in 4k film cameras
  • Moment’s Unrivaled Warranty + Customer Service

Are Clip-on Lenses for Mobile Worth It?

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

First things first, there’s no industry standard for what the differences between a clip-on and a mounted lens is so I’ve included both here. If you’re really interested in the ability to clip-on the lenses like you’re probably thinking, then check out this Sandmarc Lens Review (they include both case mounting and a clip-on option with each purchase).

With that out of the way, let us know in the comments what type of lens you shoot with most and what your brand of choice is. As always, if you tag your Instagram shots #photoswithphones maybe we’ll share your work on the site.

About the Author /

[email protected]

Joe takes some pretty impressive photos and videos on his phone. He has a plethora of experience writing for large websites on a variety of topics and is able to deliver relatable mobile content that you'll surely enjoy. Joe majored in History at Christopher Newport University in VA. He currently resides in Denver, CO with his fiancee, Kathryn, and their dog, Jasmine.

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