Improve your smartphone photography and videography with the best lenses for iPhones and Android smartphones. If you're used to shooting on your phone and don't want to upgrade to a full-on camera, a clip-on lens is a great way to expand your options with minimal expense and without having to carry something heavy. There are loads of different types of lens as well, including macros, wide-angles, telephotos and more, so there are plenty of ways to give yourself some flexibility.
The cameras in flagship smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and Google Pixel 5 are getting better and better all the time. Newer smartphones are equipped with sophisticated multi-camera arrays, many of which include multiple lenses, so you could be forgiven for thinking that you don't need a clip-on lens if you've got one of these? However, this is not the case, as companies who are making add-on lenses are keeping up with the latest developments, and ensuring their products still offer something that you can't get with the smartphone on its own.
So, irrespective of whether you bought your phone yesterday or five years ago, an add-on lens can make a huge difference to your shooting. It's always worth double-checking that your phone is compatible with the lens you want to buy before committing, as some are fussier than others. We've noted compatibility specs in our guide below, though if you have a lesser-known brand of smartphone (or perhaps one of the best budget camera phones), a little detective work may be required.
As you will see in our guide, prices of add-on lenses can vary massively. This depends in part on the manufacturer; Olloclip is considered the market leader, however there are plenty of other options from different manufacturers, and sometimes different models are available in Europe and the US. Some are also more expensive than others.
However much you want to spend, we reckon you'll find the right lens for your phone in our guide to the best add-on lenses available for iPhones and Android smartphones.
If you want to get the most out of the impressive camera tech of the iPhone 11 Pro Max, you'll want to invest in some of market-leader Olloclip's latest glass. This kit contains a 2x telephoto lens to give you more reach, as well as another lens that's actually two lenses in one: a 180-degree fisheye and a 15x Macro. This complete set gives you real versatility, which helps ease the pain of its slightly hefty price tag (we suppose that's the benefit of being the leading name in the business), and if you're planning on doing a lot of shooting with your iPhone 11 Pro Max, the investment is definitely one that's worth making.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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