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The best iPhone lens kit: Put a little DSLR on the front of your iPhone

Dave Johnson | July 1, 2014
Looking to outfit your iPhone's camera with an external lens or two? Dave Johnson put five lens kits to the test to figure out which one reigned supreme.

Given the modest design (and price) of the Olloclip, you might not expect much. But the image quality is among the best of the lenses we tested, rivaling the iPro with good sharpness throughout. It's too bad there's no telephoto lens option in the base kit (though you can pick up a separate telephoto kit for $100 on the company's website), but if you're a close-up fanatic, you'll really appreciate having two different macro magnifications. It's a unique feature among iPhone add-on lenses.

Photojojo Lens Series: Magnets are cool; lenses not so much
We've seen no end to the way add-on lenses can be added to the iPhone: screw-on, bayonet-mount, even affixed carousel-style to the case itself. Photojojo takes the prize for the most innovative solution (and one sure to befuddle the Insane Clown Posse)): magnets. The Photojojo Lens Series lenses come with a tiny magnetic ring and adhesive on one side. Affix it to your iPhone (centered around the camera lens) and wait a half hour or so for it to set. After that, you can pop any of the lenses on with a satisfying dink, as the magnetic base of the lens grabs on. The lens pulls off just as easily.

Photojojo sells a total of five lenses, available individually ($20-$30) or as a set ($99): A fisheye, super fisheye, 2X telephoto, a combo wide angle/macro, and polarizer. They all affix via the same magnetic ring. It's a clever way to temporarily attach lenses to your phone, but it does require you to semi-permanently adhere a metal ring to the front of your phone. You'll want to make sure the lens is centered properly before you start shooting, as the magnet doesn't always align the lens perfectly. And the super fisheye lens is so heavy that it is only barely supported by the magnet — more than once, I moved my iPhone too quickly and gravity pulled the beefy lens off like a bottle rocket. Photojojo offers a great value—you get a lot of lenses for $100—but the image quality is only middling.

Optrix PhotoPro X: For your underwater iPhone adventures
What do you do when you'd like to use a variety of lenses on your iPhone... underwater? You've really only got one choice: It's time to gear up with an Optrix PhotoPro X ($150). The case is waterproof to about 30 feet, which means it's safe to use while your phone is in the rain, on a boat, and even snorkeling underwater. The watertight case affords you access to all the device's controls, including the Home button, volume controls, power, and touchscreen.


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