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Almost everyone carries it with them all the time these days – the smartphone. In addition to mobile Internet for the use of practical apps, music streaming services, WhatsApp & Co, one function of the smartphone is becoming increasingly important: the camera. Thanks to constantly improving technology, smartphones have long since ceased to be a mere means of taking snapshots on the go. The high-quality cameras in mobile devices now allow for high-resolution, pin-sharp photos and video clips and have long overtaken many compact cameras in terms of quality and functionality.
With practical gadgets such as special filters and lenses, the range of functions can be further expanded. Smartphones with high-quality cameras are becoming increasingly popular, even with ambitious amateur photographers. For example, various smartphone lenses are now available on the market that can be attached quickly and easily to the smartphone. In design and function, they resemble the lenses of an SLR camera and are intended to further revolutionise mobile phone photography.
We introduce popular smartphone lenses and explain their function, mounting, and applications.
Function of smartphone lenses
Smartphone lenses are similar in appearance and construction to the lenses of an SLR camera. In terms of size, they are of course smaller and more compact, so that they can be transported together with the smartphone in trouser pockets. Depending on the lens used, the lenses can produce special effects in the photos.
The main purpose of these lenses is to supplement missing camera features. For example, an optical zoom function is possible, which cannot be permanently integrated into the housing due to the shallow depth of today’s smartphones. But beware: The lenses can only change the visual field and have no influence on other aspects, such as image quality. The original lens of the smartphone, which is located between the image sensor and the lens, can be added to the lens to ensure that the photos are neither sharper nor higher in resolution. The quality of the image still depends on the resolution of the phone’s camera.
In addition, smartphone lenses reduce the potentially time-consuming post-processing of the images taken, as some desired effects can already be achieved by using different lenses. In addition, they make taking pictures with a mobile phone much more interesting due to their wide range of products and their handling.
Mounting options for smartphone lenses
The different lenses for smartphones
Nowadays, there is virtually every type of lens available for mobile phones that is also available for a reflex camera. The different lens types fulfil different functions and, depending on quality and effect, are available in a very broad price range from around ten to several hundred CHF. Of course, it also plays a role whether it is a no-name product or a professional lens from a renowned camera manufacturer. We would like to briefly introduce some of the most popular lens types to you.
Fisheye lens for an exceptional look
This lens extends the viewer’s perspective by 180°. This results in distortion of the optics, with straight lines that do not run through the center of the image being curved. It seems as if everything is in a kind of bubble. The bizarre fisheye effect comes into its own particularly well in close-ups, as the object being photographed is extremely distorted.
Wide angle lenses to extend the viewing angle
In contrast to the fisheye lens, the wide-angle lens has a lens that allows the viewing angle to be extended by 180° without distortion. To do this, the area you want to capture is enlarged and objects in the distance are reduced in size. This feature also makes it ideal for capturing wide landscapes and skylines of cities.
Telephoto lens – so close and yet so far away
With the help of a telephoto lens, very distant objects can be magnified. This is achieved by the optical zoom, which produces a compression of the image section and a reduction of the image angle. The individual parts of the motif appear more compressed. The effect of the telephoto lens is comparable to looking through binoculars. Such a lens is always practical when, for example, details of a building or animals that cannot be reached are to be photographed from a certain distance.
Down to the smallest detail with the macro lens
Macro lenses make it possible to achieve a relatively large magnification. This ratio is usually 1:1 or 1:2, allowing the photo objects to be imaged almost in their actual size. By further reducing the distance to the subject by means of the optical zoom function or approach, more and more detailed close-ups are possible, whereby individual textures of the objects become visible. In contrast to the digital zoom on smartphones, the optical zoom allows magnification without a high loss of quality.
Smartphone lenses are a simple way to extend the functionality of the smartphone camera and take great pictures in almost any situation. In contrast to conventional mobile phone cameras, the various attachments have an optical zoom function, which also enables high quality close-up shots. Due to the different effects of the individual lenses and the handling, taking pictures is much more exciting. Due to their compact size, they require little space, are easy to transport and therefore always ready to hand.
You can find more useful gadgets that will make your smartphone photos a success in any situation in our article “The 5 coolest photo gadgets for the smartphone”.