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The best lenses for iPhone and Android phones in 2021: add-on phone lenses

Best lenses for iPhone and Android camera phones
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The world of the best lenses for iPhone and Android phones is an ever-changing one. New products come and go all the time, and there’s a fair amount of cheap stuff on the market that you ideally want to avoid. However, if you can be discerning, a good clip-on phone lens can be an incredible way of improving your smartphone photography.

The fact of the matter is that smartphones have limitations, and they are physical. It simply isn't really impossible to include complex optics inside an object with the dimensions we expect of a smartphone. The multi-camera arrays of some phones go some way to rectifying, but they are always going to hit a wall, and this is especially true if you've sensibly plumped for one of the best budget camera phones. That’s why clip-on lenses can be such a good solution.

There are loads of different types of lenses for smartphones. Shop around and you can find telephotos, macros, anamorphics, ultra-wide-angles, fisheyes and more – sometimes all together in a handy pack! Which ones you pick up will depend on what you want to do. If you’re shooting portraits, a telephoto is a good choice. Architecture and landscapes? Try a wide angle. Video? The anamorphic lens might be just what you need.

There has been a lot of change in the world of smartphone lenses. One big shock of the last year is that Olloclip – previously one of the market leaders – has decided to take an indefinite hiatus in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and may not return to manufacturing phone lenses. This makes Moment pretty much the biggest name in phone lenses by default – and you’ll see them well represented on our list.

We’ve aimed to include a broad selection of lenses here, from reputable manufacturers, so you can shop with confidence. There are lenses for all different budgets, so let’s get started!

(Image credit: Moment)

1. Moment Tele Lens

A telephoto lens is the best way to transform your phone camera

Specifications
Compatible with: Pro Max
Number of lenses: Three
Lens types: Telephoto 2x, Fisheye 180, Macro 15x
Reasons to buy
+Impressive performance+Genuinely transformative
Reasons to avoid
-A little pricey-Requires case

If there’s one thing phone cameras are more or less universally known for, it’s providing an extremely wide-angle view. So, one of the most immediately transformative things you can do for your phone photography is get hold of a telephoto lens. The Moment Tele lens is a superb choice – as long as you remember to pick up the required case to go with it, though this isn’t a bad investment as it’ll give you access to the whole Moment ecosystem. More on this below.

The Moment tele lens is constructed from high-end glass and really does an exceptional job of giving you a different perspective from the same old phone camera. It’s a little on the pricey side for a phone lens, but compared to an actual telephoto lens… we’d say go for it!

best lenses for iPhone and Android phones

(Image credit: Moment)

2. Moment Anamorphic Lens

Give your smartphone shots a stylishly cinematic look

Specifications
Compatible with: iPhone 7 and up, Android with universal adapter
Number of lenses: One
Lens types: Anamorphic
Reasons to buy
+Broad compatibility+Images full of character
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively costly-Requires case

If you're filmmaking with your phone, an anamorphic lens is the perfect inexpensive addition to give your footage that classy cinematic look. We really rate the Moment Anamorphic lens, which works with most recent iPhones or Android phones, as long as you have the right adapter. Locking securely in place, the anamorphic 1.33x lens produces images of impressive quality and is an ideal companion for any smartphone filmmaker.

best lenses for iPhone and Android phones

(Image credit: Xenvo)

3. Xenvo Pro Lens kit

An impressive budget kit with a useful LED light

Specifications
Compatible with: Most smartphones
Number of lenses: Two
Lens types: Macro, Wide-angle
Reasons to buy
+Broad compatibility+Macro is especially good
Reasons to avoid
-Only two lenses-Wide-angle slightly soft

This two-in-one kit from Xenvo will work with the vast majority of smartphones, fitting snugly over cases to provide a quick and easy bolster to your image-making. The lenses included are a macro and a wide-angle; the macro is excellent, making smartphone close-up photography an impressive reality. The wide-angle is decent enough, though some users have noticed slightly smudging in the corners. Still, it’s a useful kit, and with an LED light included to add further versatility to your close-up work, this is a great way for a user on a budget to kick their smartphone photography up a notch.

(Image credit: Moment)

4. Moment Wide Lens for iPhone, Pixel and Samsung Galaxy

A high quality lens that requires a compatible phone case

Specifications
Compatible with: iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus, 6s Plus 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, X, XR, XS, XS Max, 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max; Samsung Galaxy S8, S9, S9+, S10; Samsung Galaxy Note 8, 9 ,10; Google Pixel 1, 2, 3, 3a, 4, 4a, 4a 5G, 4XL, 5
Number of lenses: One
Lens type: 0.63x wide angle
Reasons to buy
+High-quality lens +Fits to dedicated case
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Requires case sold separately

Like all Moment lenses, including the anamorphic mentioned above, this wide-angle requires a Moment M-Series case to fit onto an iPhone or Android device. Delivering impressive edge-to-edge clarity and quality, this 18mm optic is as good choice for everyday filmmaking and photography. It doesn't add too much weight to your phone and keeps the profile fairly slim. According to Moment, it's also made with the same high-grade polished glass that goes into high-end 4K film lenses. We can certainly attest that this shines through in the quality of the final image!

(Image credit: Moment)

5. Moment Fisheye Lens

Superwide lens that gives a spectacular 170° vision

Specifications
Compatible with: iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus, 6s Plus 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, X, XR, XS, XS Max, 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max; Samsung Galaxy S8, S9, S9+, S10; Samsung Galaxy Note 8, 9 ,10; Google Pixel 1, 2, 3, 3a, 4, 4a, 4a 5G, 4XL, 5
Number of lenses: One
Lens type: 170° fisheye
Reasons to buy
+High-quality lens +Fits to dedicated case
Reasons to avoid
-Cost-You also need to buy the appropriate case

This lens works in the same way as the Moment wide and anamorphic lenses, but gives a much wider view. In fact, it gives a 50° wider field of view than the ultrawide lens on the iPhone 11. It gives the coverage of a traditional 14mm fisheye lens - filling the frame with a distorted image that can be used to create dramatic effects, but is also good for taking pictures in tight spaces. The ultra-wide 170° will appeal to those who need to shoot interiors or architecture – or want portraits with a cartoon-like appearance.

(Image credit: Apexel)

6. Apexel HD 1.33X Anamorphic Lens

A more affordable choice of anamorphic lens that

Specifications
Compatible with: Most smartphones (minimum thickness 7mm, maximum thickness 14mm)
Number of lenses: One
Lens types: 1.33x anamorphic lens
Reasons to buy
+High-quality glass+Minimal distortion
Reasons to avoid
-May not fit with phone case

If you like the sound of an anamorphic lens but the Moment option on this list was a little too expensive for you, consider the Apexel version instead. Made with high-quality cinema-grade glass, it produces a wonderfully cinematic image with minimal distortion, and can also give a shot some beautiful bokeh in defocused areas. The clip-on system is broadly compatible and should work with most smartphones, as long as they're not thicker than 14mm or thinner than 7mm. Some users of Huawei phones have reported issues with the clips, so it may be worth having a google with your type of smartphone to see if other users have had an easy time getting it to work. If they have, this is a great-value anamorphic lens.

best lenses for iPhone and Android phones

(Image credit: Apexel)

7. Apexel 36x telephoto

Need a little more reach? Or how about a lot more?

Specifications
Compatible with: Most smartphones
Number of lenses: One
Lens types: 36x telephoto
Reasons to buy
+Huge reach+Comes with mini tripod
Reasons to avoid
-Some vignetting reported-Remote not that useful

If you like telephoto shooting, this is the last word in terms of reach. The Apexel 36x telephoto transforms your phone into a powerful long-distance shooter, and comes with a useful mini-tripod to ensure you can keep your shots stable. 

It also has a remote shutter for capturing images at a distance; less useful when working with such a long lens, but it hardly hurts to have it, and the overall price of the kit is still pleasingly low. 

It's not the highest-quality lens, with some users complaining of a little vignetting in images, but for the price and the uniqueness, it can't be beat.

Best lenses for iPhone and Android camera phones: Nelomo Universal HD Camera Lens Kit

(Image credit: Nelomo)

8. Nelomo Universal HD Camera Lens Kit

Compact design with three lenses and carry case

Specifications
Compatible with: Most smartphones between 7mm and 10mm thick
Number of lenses: Three
Lens types: Super wide angle, 15x macro and 230° fisheye
Reasons to buy
+Compact screw-fit system+Comes with a carry case
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive for what it is-Only fits certain phone sizes

Where most universal lens kits fit to phones with large clips, this solution from Nelomo employs a rubber-ended screw. 

This means the lens mount can clamp to phones measuring between 7mm and 10mm thick, which caters for most recent handsets including the iPhone 8 and X, the Samsung Galaxy S9, and the Google Pixel 3.

The kit comes with three lenses, including a wide 230-degree fisheye, a ‘super wide angle’ lens, and a macro lens which offers the equivalent of a 15X zoom. There’s also a microfibre cleaning cloth and bag, plus a protective carry case and hook for clipping it to your backpack.

The only drawback here is how the lens mount might not clamp around your phone if it’s already wearing a thick case, given the 10mm thickness limit.

Best lenses for iPhone and Android camera phones: Olloclip Multi-Device Filmer's Kit

(Image credit: Olloclip)

9. Olloclip Multi-Device Filmer's Kit

A one-stop-shop including five lenses and video grip

Specifications
Compatible with: iPhone 7, 8, 7+, 8+
Number of lenses: Five
Lens types: Fisheye (180-degree), super-wide, ultra-wide, macro and 2x telephoto
Reasons to buy
+An all-encompassing kit+Includes carry case and grip
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-A bit much for casual users

Perhaps the ultimate kit for any smartphone photographer, this bundle includes macro, 2x telephoto, fisheye, super-wide and ‘ultra-wide’ lenses, which cover most circumstances. 

The protective carry case also includes Olloclip’s universal clip system for fitting lenses to almost any recent smartphone, and a grip mount for securing holding your smartphone while shooting landscape video.

This kit can also be purchased with dedicated lens mounts designed for the iPhone X, XS, XS Max, XR, and the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8 and 8 Plus.

It’s not cheap, but if you’re looking for the complete package this could well be it.

(Image credit: CamKix)

10. CamKix Universal 3-in-1 Lens kit

Remarkably cheap for a universal three-lens system

Specifications
Compatible with: Most smartphones and tablets
Number of lenses: Three
Lens types: Fisheye, macro and wide-angle
Reasons to buy
+Macro and wide screw together+Cheap
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn't feel too premium

This three-lens kit represents excellent value for money, as under £10. For that you get a fisheye lens, macro lens and wide-angle lens. 

Conveniently, the lenses screw over the top of each other, making it quick and easy to switch between one and the other.

You’ll want to make sure you keep these lenses clean and scratch-free though, as when using the wind lens you’ll actually be shooting through both that and the macro lens underneath.

The kit comes with a carry pouch and the clip mechanism means the lens mount should fit most smartphones and tablets. 

You could even fit it to the webcam above the screen of your laptop if you’re ever feeling creative during a Skype chat.

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