Which iPhone lens is best? 

The technology inside mobile phones has vastly changed since they entered everyday use. With the touch of a button, we can now communicate with others around the world. And naturally, the built-in cameras have also drastically improved. The first phones had a 1-megapixel sensor, which certainly didn’t rival digital cameras. Now the sensors are 10 times better, producing stunning images worthy of international awards.

But for all the upgraded technology, a mobile phone’s camera isn’t perfect, so an attachable iPhone lens is a great idea to get around the limitations of up-close or faraway subjects. The best is the Xenvo Pro Lens Kit for iPhone and Android, which lets you take wide-angle or close-up shots with professional results.

What to know before you buy an iPhone lens

How does an iPhone lens work?

The term “iPhone lens” can confuse when the context isn’t clear. Traditionally, the lens is protected by a glass covering on the back of a mobile phone. But you can also add a lens to the iPhone by clipping a third-party accessory over the built-in lens.

The third-party lens is housed in a plastic gadget similar to a washing peg in most cases. You squeeze the top arms to open the clamp, which then lines up with the iPhone’s lens. When you let go, it firmly covers it.

Other lenses can attach to your phone through small magnets. 

Is the lens compatible with your iPhone model?

While the display area of most iPhones is similar, the biggest difference between models is often the back camera, where the lenses may be in different areas or configurations. For example, the iPhone 13 has two camera lenses, and the iPhone 13 Pro Max has three. If you buy an external lens compatible with the 13, on the 13 Pro Max it might not fit, and the additional lens could distort the final image.

Do you really need an external lens?

It is great when you can take amazing photos, but you might not need an external lens to achieve that. The additional lens is often better suited for older mobile phones that don’t have advanced sensors or technology. But with that said, the iPhone 13 Pro can benefit from a macro lens.

What to look for in a quality iPhone lens

Lenses for different kinds of photography

The default camera lens on an iPhone is sufficient for general photography, but it cannot take up-close or far-away photos. You also don’t want to rely on filters for a unique aesthetic. So a lens that complements your shooting style will be most helpful.

For example, if you want to photograph tiny creatures or fine details, a macro lens is best. For distant objects, a telephoto lens is much better than the digital zooming of the iPhone. There are also specific lenses for recording videos that can add bokeh effects — soft, out-of-focus backgrounds — or filters.

Solid construction  

Anything you that attach to your iPhone should be of good quality, or it can damage your phone. The clamp on the back must have soft padding that won’t scratch the screen, and the lens must fit correctly. The lens should also use glass instead of plastic to avoid warping the photos. 

Kits with a combination of lenses

Multiple lenses are better than a single lens, which is why a good-quality iPhone lens is part of a bundle or kit. These typically include a macro lens for up-close photography, a wide-angle lens to get more information into the frame, and a telephoto lens to capture subjects that are far away. Some kits also include an anamorphic lens to give your photos or videos a Hollywood-style look.

How much you can expect to spend on an iPhone lens

The capability and the manufacturer determine the cost of an iPhone lens. An easy-to-use lens that is universally compatible costs $15-$20, but an advanced lens with interchangeable parts retails for $40-$60.

iPhone lens FAQ

Does an iPhone lens work on the front camera?

A. Since the rear camera has a larger megapixel sensor, you’ll get the best results there. But a lens can also clip over the front-facing camera if needed.

How wide does the lens clip open?

A. While it varies depending on the lens, most are compatible with regular-thickness iPhone cases, as they can open to a maximum of half an inch.

What’s the best iPhone lens to buy?

Top iPhone lens

Xenvo Pro Lens Kit for iPhone and Android

Xenvo Pro Lens Kit for iPhone and Android

What you need to know: This lens kit is perfect if you want to take photos of tiny creatures or delicate details in nature. It is compatible with most mobile phones, including the iPhone.

What you’ll love: The kit comes with a wide-angle lens and a Clarus 15-times macro lens, held together on your iPhone with the TruGrip Lens Clip. It also includes a mini LED light with three brightness settings and a cleaning cloth.

What you should consider: The kit isn’t compatible with thick cases such as the Otterbox Defender. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top iPhone lens for the money

Criacr 3-In-1 Phone Camera Lens

Criacr 3-In-1 Phone Camera Lens

What you need to know: An affordable option for better photos, this gadget comes with three interchangeable lenses that easily screw into place. 

What you’ll love: Compatible with the triple camera setup of the iPhone 12 Pro Max, this photography attachment includes a 180-degree fisheye lens, a 60%-increased wide-angle lens and a 15-times macro lens. While the clip is made from plastic, the lens is glass. 

What you should consider: To use a different lens, you must unscrew the current one to change it.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Apexel Professional Macro Photography Lens

Apexel Professional Macro Photography Lens

What you need to know: This macro lens has a 100-millimeter depth of view, perfect for capturing intricate details.

What you’ll love: The lens has five glass layers, each with an anti-reflective coating, to produce high-quality, up-close photos. It has a cone diameter of 1.5 inches and an exit pupil diameter of nine-tenths of an inch — giving you a smooth bokeh effect. 

What you should consider: The clip can open just over half an inch, so you might struggle to get it over a thicker phone case.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.