The 8 Best Phone Camera Lenses

Updated October 18, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

8 Best Phone Camera Lenses
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 40 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Today's smartphone cameras boast impressive photographic capabilities, but if you want to take your cellular photography to the next level, check out some of these phone camera lens kits. They come with lenses dedicated to specific functions, such as macro lenses for close-ups or wide angle lenses for sweeping panoramas. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best phone camera lens on Amazon.

8. VicTsing Clip-On 3-in-1

The VicTsing Clip-On 3-in-1 kit has lenses that can be mounted on the main rear-facing camera of your phone or on the forward-facing selfie lens, so you can snap compelling photographs of your own face all day long. Use the macro attachment for great product photography.
  • comes with helpful user manual
  • fisheye lens creates black border
  • no telephoto option
Brand VicTsing
Weight 4.8 ounces
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. Wonbsdom Universal Clip-On Microscope

With the Wonbsdom Universal Clip-On Microscope, you can convert your smartphone into a miniature science laboratory or forensics investigation unit. It offers up to 60x magnification and features a paired LED that fully illuminates the object of your study.
  • uv detector finds counterfeit money
  • light rated for 10-year lifespan
  • poor zoom adjustment
Brand Wonbsdom
Model pending
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Vinsic Universal Detachable AA001

With the Vinsic Universal Detachable AA001, you actually get more quality and versatility than you'd expect given its minuscule price tag. The glass lenses offer crisp and clear images and are housed in sturdy aluminum rings.
  • magnetic attachments
  • available in three colors
  • mounting clip breaks easily
Brand Vinsic
Model AA001
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Mpow Mlens MFE6

The attachment system of the Mpow Mlens MFE6 uses a tension-mounted clip that can accommodate even thick phone cases. Its soft rubber surfaces won't damage your device, and the lenses themselves are durable and reliable, as is the aluminum and steel barrel.
  • 45-day satisfaction guarantee
  • easy single-handed placement
  • takes macro and wide angle shots
Brand Mpow
Model MFE4
Weight 2.4 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. Amir 3-in-1

The Amir 3-in-1 works with iPhones, Android phones, and most other types of smartphone. This set is a fine choice for taking sweeping shots of open landscapes or city skylines, and its fisheye lens can create amusingly wacky close-ups.
  • dual caps protect both elements
  • great low price point
  • threading is poorly made
Brand Amir
Model pending
Weight 4.5 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. AUKEY Optic Clip-On

The process of attaching and removing the AUKEY Optic Clip-On takes only a matter of seconds. Each of the three lenses in the kit has a soft rubber rim that protects your phone, your case, and their own multi-coated elements.
  • professional grade hd glass
  • 24-month worry-free warranty
  • cleaning cloth included
Model PL-A1
Weight 1.6 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. TECHO Universal Professional HD

The TECHO Universal Professional HD comes with two high quality lenses. The macro attachment allows for detailed images of objects photographed from very close range, while the wide angle lets you capture a sprawling scene with ease.
  • minimal flare in direct light
  • universal detachable clamp design
  • leatherette pouch
Weight 3.5 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Elecguru Universal Optical Telescope

The Elecguru Universal Optical Telescope will turn your smartphone into a telescope nearly as strong as the model Galileo first turned toward the heavens in the 17th century. It offers 18x magnification, great for nature or sports photography, as well as amateur astronomy.
  • adjustable mini tripod
  • comes with cleaning cloth
  • 90-degree scene capture
Brand elecguru
Model pending
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Award-winning Image Quality

One of the most impressive films in to come out of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival was shot almost entirely on an iPhone 5s. That, alone, garnered the film a tremendous amount of attention, especially considering how good the footage looked. When most people hear the claim, they picture the filmmakers holding forth their iPhones like tourists capturing a street performer in Time's Square, and the process couldn't be further from the truth.

The film, Tangerine, was, in fact, shot on an iPhone, but the iPhone in question was tricked out with a fancy app, a steadycam for fluidity in movement, and a rather expensive experimental 1.33 anamorphic lens adapter. The filmmaker, Sean Baker, even said of the lens, "To tell you the truth, I wouldn't have even made the movie without it."

If you really want to take your cell phone photography to the next level, to get cinematic quality video, gallery quality images, and astronomically beautiful pictures from space, among other things, you need to augment the lens at the back of your phone with more than just a pinch zoom.

The lenses on our list attach to your camera with the greatest of ease, simply snapping into their spots like a paper clip. Once in position, they'll bend the light heading into your phone's camera just before it gets there, giving you either a wider field of view (labelled wide-angle or fisheye) a tremendous amount of zoom (labelled as telephoto, or with a magnification multiplier), or occasionally the ability to get unbelievably close to your subject without it going out of focus (labelled macro).

The best part about these lenses is that competition to come up with the best, least expensive technology has driven the quality way up and the costs way down. Adapters that cost close to $100 for a single lens just a few years ago now come as one in a set of three for under $30.

Zooming Toward A Choice

When you pinch to zoom with a cell phone camera, you're using something called digital zoom. You may remember seeing both optical zoom and digital zoom specs listed on the last digital camera you bought before our phones stole the entire market. Optical zoom refers to the actual movement of lens elements to bend and magnify the light before it hits your sensor. Digital zoom essentially just crops in on whatever resolution the sensor has already captured, reducing the quality of your images as you pinch.

Any of the telephoto lenses on our list, including the telescopic and microscopic lenses, are optical enhancers, so the resolution of your image remains at its highest constant. The wide-angle lenses also maintain complete resolution, but there wasn't a threat to your image from going wider in the first place.

Choosing from among these sets will have everything to do with how you want to affect your image and what you want to shoot. I wouldn't recommend the microscope attachment for your next selfie, for example.

Most casual camera phone shooters would do well with any of the triptych clip-on lens adapters, the sets of three that include a fisheye, macro, and telephoto enhancement. These sets ought to satisfy the needs of anyone looking for a little enhancement without spending too much money.

The more specific the tasks you need tackled by some of these attachments, the more you're liable to spend on them, and the more limited their usage outside that task will be. The telescopic attachment is great for astronomical photography or for spying on your neighbors, but it's useless on anything that isn't a minimum distance from your camera. The microscopic attachment is probably the coolest thing on our list, and it would be a wonderful addition to any science classroom, but it wouldn't do to Instagram your brunch with it.

Old Glass, New Class

Lenses predate the invention of the camera by millennia. As long as there has been the written word, there have been stones carved and polished to allow readers with aging eyes to magnify and decipher smaller text. These lenses also proved useful in starting fires when they concentrated beams of sunlight onto a small pile of kindling.

It was these single-element lenses that adorned the first cameras developed in the 19th century. Crude as they were, the lenses produced a lot of artifacts, as well as a significant amount of field distortion. By the late 1800s, however, photographers and lens manufacturers had begun to combine lens elements to cut down on distortion and to create clearer images that allowed more light to pass onto the exposure surface.

Fast forward another century, and the cell phone age is in full swing. Right there alongside it, the digital photography revolution roils on, and before long the two worlds collide, as several phone manufacturers integrate simple cameras into their cell phone bodies. It starts out seeming like a novelty, but by the time the first iPhones hit shelves in 2007, phone cameras begin to look like serious contenders among casual photographers.

The camera industry responded by trying to make everything about their systems smaller, going so far as to do away with the reflex mirror in their most expensive and prestigious models, with Canon and Nikon notably holding out against the tide. They'll come around, eventually, but by then everybody will have a good phone and a better set of lenses like these for it.

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Last updated on October 18, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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