Add On Smart Phone Lenses

David Livshin is a professional photographer, but for quick shots, he's using his iPhone more and more.

David says, "I find the opportunity to be unobtrusive sort of wins out over having to lug the cameras around."

But the iPhone camera - like most smart phones - doesn't have an optical zoom.

Terry Sullivan with Consumer Reports says, "Smart phones only have a digital zoom that loses pixels as it zooms in. That reduces image quality."

Consumer Reports tested two new brands of add-on lenses for smart phones. The Olloclip (oh-low-clip) costs $70, and it's a three-in-one lens for the iPhone 4 and 4S.

Terry adds, "You fit each of them over the iPhone's lens, like this."

This is a regular photo taken with the iPhone. Here's the same photo, taken with the Olloclip's macro lens … its fisheye … and its wide-angle lens.

Consumer Reports also tested add-on lenses from Photojojo that work with both iPhones and several Android phones. The lenses cost about $20 each. To use them, you attach a ring on your phone with adhesive. The lenses attach to the ring magnetically.

Terry says, "We found the ring sometimes came off the phone when we removed a lens."

And Consumer Reports found a drawback with both brands - the lenses cover the phones' flash. But in good light, testers found both the Olloclip and the Photojojo lenses can take some beautiful pictures.

Terry found, "The close-up shots and video of flowers in particular were stunning."

The upshot - Consumer Reports says these lenses can definitely expand a smart-phone camera's capability.

Be aware the Photojojo only works on phones where the lens is flush with the phone. If the camera lens protrudes, the add-on lens won't attach properly.


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