In 2020, five years after a film shot exclusively on iPhones premiered at Sundance (Tangerine, 2015) and the year when Naomi Campbell shot her own self-portrait with an iPhone to grace the cover of Essence magazine, carrying around a clunky DSLR is almost passé. Photographers and videographers aren’t ditching their cameras quite yet, but more and more professionals and hobbyists are using iPhones to create striking, high-quality images and videos. If you don’t have the newest phone decked out with ultrawide, wide, and telephoto lenses—or even if you do—a professional lens, attachable directly to your phone, will enhance the quality, zoom capability, and effects available to you. Below are five of our favorites.
1. Moment Wide Lens for iPhone
This lens is a winner both for the quality of the lens (and resultant shots) and for its ease of use. These things come at a cost; specifically, readers should note these lenses require the separate purchase of a compatible phone case, which enables quick, perfectly aligned mounting. If you’re willing to splurge, your photography capabilities—and your field of view—will expand nicely.
2. Ztylus Revolver M Series Camera Kit
The innovative design of the Revolver M Series eliminates the need for cases, clunky clips, or even a pause to attach your lens. A rotating knob affixes to the middle of your phone case with quick-release fisheye, wide, and macro lenses that extend and retract to cover the phone’s built-in lens. To fit into this compact package, the lenses are notably small, but the quality holds up.
3. Criacr Clip-On Cell Phone Lens Kit
At a very accessible price point, this starter kit contains the elements needed to try out external lenses for everyday shots or to determine which type of lens to splurge on. The lenses are stable and provide clear images, but watch for lens flares and a slightly emphasized blue tone.
4. Ragu Cell Phone Camera Lens Kit
For those who need a reputable kit that will serve all their needs, Ragu offers one of the most comprehensive options. With five lenses, a tripod, and a Bluetooth shutter control for remote shots, this package will provide the tools for most projects. As with all clip-on lenses, it takes some practice to perfectly align this rig with your phone’s camera, but it’s worth the effort.
5. Black Eye Pro Cinema Lenses
The quality of shots you’ll get with this set of wide, fisheye, and portrait lenses is comparable to what the competition delivers at double the price. Attachable to any phone—even triple-camera ones—by clip or with the purchase of a case with screw-on capabilities, these are lenses that can outlast your current phone. Buy the kit for all three lenses, or cherry-pick the ones you want.