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August 14, 2017 9:17 PM   Subscribe

Do you like your telephoto lens for an iPhone 6+? I'm a little overwhelmed by the online choices and by the divergent opinions in the ratings. So I'm hoping for some tried and true or otherwise fairly solid recs here.

What I want:
* Has to fit the iPhone 6+ well with a glass screen protector. I don't plan to fiddle with the screen protector at all.
* Ideally under $150 -- cheaper than that, of course, is even better
* Has to be available within a few days (ie Amazon prime)
* I want it to shoot both close-ups of objects that are relatively nearby (i.e., yard deer) and the sky (I especially want this now on Amazon prime for eclipse photos.)
posted by flourpot to Technology (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
All I can say is that the one that I tried—after reading the tea leaves of Amazon reviews as closely as possible—was garbage. And looking at the design, which seemed to be common to all of them (basically just a clip with a lens on one side that can be placed over the camera's built-in lens) I doubt if any of the others are going to be much better. There are some fundamental issues.

Basically, the iPhone 6+ was never intended to have an accessory lens attached. You're not going to get perfect alignment by just placing a lens on top of another lens, which will create major artifacts. There's opportunity for light leaks as well, which will wash out your photos. Furthermore the lenses that you can get all seem like very basic one-element jobbies, basically little better than holding a magnifying glass up in front of your camera and shooting through that. And they'll choke off the amount of light that reaches your camera's sensor, like any teleconverter.

The one I tried was in the $25 range, but I've read reviews (from photography and gear blogs, not Amazon) of the more expensive options and I'm not convinced that they're any better. Streaky, washed-out, distorted images seem to be the rule. Fine if you don't care about image quality (not precisely a criticism, sometimes image quality isn't that important) but definitely a significantly degraded image compared to what you're used to getting out of your phone.

My recommendation would be to buy the cheapest one that seems like it's getting decent reviews, or maybe even a few different ones, and then plan on returning it (or them) if you're not happy with the image quality you're getting.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:57 AM on August 15, 2017

Thanks. I was afraid of that -- good to know.
posted by flourpot at 5:59 AM on August 15, 2017

The Wirecutter has a helpful write-up here.
posted by alexandermatheson at 8:00 AM on August 15, 2017

I haven't tried any of these, but you may find them of value: see The Wirecutter's The Best Lenses for iPhone Photography, and Macworld's Best iPhone 6/6s camera lenses.
posted by conscious matter at 8:09 AM on August 15, 2017

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