As the use of mobile phones as cameras become more popular people want to get the best possible images with them. In some ways, they are very limited in how you can take photos. There are many companies now making lenses for mobile phones to help you get much better images.
Some are better than others with most requiring a magnetic ring to attach them to your phone, over the camera lens. They can have varying degrees success. Some have good lenses, but the rings don’t work, while others are designed for a particular camera and aren’t good on other models.
Struman Optics has come up with a set of lenses that consider all aspects of using them along with different phone products. Through phone cases for the most popular brands, or a special clip for the others, you can now use their lenses (the macro, fisheye, wide-angle and telephoto) with any phone.
Unlike many other lenses for mobile phones, the Struman Optics ones have covers for the top two brands – both iPhone and Samsung. The phone covers have a section where the camera is that allows you to screw in the lens so it is aligned perfectly with the camera.
The case makes taking photos a lot easier as you can hold your phone in any manner, and not worry about the lens coming off. It makes the whole system much sturdier.
If you have one of the lesser known phone brands or models, the lenses come with a clip that allows you to put them over the phone. They come with a spongy surface that sits against the screen so it won’t scratch. This takes a little more mucking around to get the lens correctly aligned, but once it’s done you can take your photos.
You can put the empty clip to help you work out where it should go. You can then screw in the lens that you want to use and take your images. If you decide you want to change to another lens, it isn’t a problem as they are easy to swap out.
There are two kits available. The first includes a macro, wide-angle and fish-eye lens. The second is a telephoto lens that also has a holder for your phone and small tripod that you can use to help you steady the camera.
Trying to get really close to objects for macro photography with your phone seems to be something that so many of us try to achieve. Some phones do it well, while others struggle. My current phone has trouble getting close and it can be frustrating. I do like macro photography, so having a lens I can put on my phone is great.
The Struman Optics macro lens is incredible. It will allow you to get a lot closer to your object than your phone can. It gives you a great amount of detail and is very sharp. When you go to take an image you can get as close as a couple of centimeters or an inch away from the subject.
Perhaps the one negative thing about this is that you don’t have a lot of choices, you only get the one focal range. All images have to be taken from the same distance, which is really close. However, if your intention is to get as near as possible, then you will love this lens.
If you decide you want to get a little further away the wide-angle lens is what you need.
Wide-Angle Macro Lens
The wide-angle lens will let you take photos at any distance. You can get a wider angle than what your phone will take. If you have a subject that is hard to photograph because you can’t quite get it into the frame, then this lens will allow you to get a wider angle of view.
Compare the images below. The first image shows you the lighthouse taken with the phone and no lens. It is a tight image, and to get more distance I would have to move farther back. But as there was a cliff behind me so that was not an option.
The Struman wide-angle lens was attached to the phone and now you can see that there is a lot more room around the lighthouse. This made it a better image.
The lens also has macro capabilities. If you find that you don’t want to get as close as you have to with the macro lens, put the wide-angle on and you can get that distance. It is good for photographing the whole flower or getting more than one in the shot. It is a great lens to go with the macro.
The fish-eye lens is a lot of fun. When you use one for the first time it is addictive to see what you take with it. This lens is similar to other fish-eye lenses for phones in that the image is a circle. If you give your subject enough space you can crop it so it is square or rectangle. However, if you do that you are reducing the size of the file.
Like the wide-angle lens, the fish-eye can also do macro. It can be used when you want to highlight an object in particular. It creates a bokeh effect with everything around it.
The above three lenses and the clip all come in a little case that fits in your bag or your pocket. It makes it very easy to carry them around. There is a little pocket that has some instructions and a cleaning cloth for the lenses. The case is not soft and is quite solid, so it keeps everything inside safe.
As stated earlier, Struman Optics also makes a telephoto lens which you can purchase in a kit with a stand and a holder for the phone. This also fits into the phone cover case or the clip to help hold it still. You do really need the stand and phone holder as it’s a large lens. It is hard to hand-hold it to take photos.
When you find a subject you want to photograph, you have to be a certain distance from the object, a meter or a yard away. You do have to focus it manually, so if you find it is too hard to focus that could your subject is either too close or too far away.
Out of all the Struman lenses, this is the hardest to use. You do need to use the stand, or a stand with the phone holder. It does mean you have to carry a bit more equipment with you if you want to use this lens.
Stand and Phone Holder
The stand is basic and not very big, though it is easy enough to carry around. You do need to have a surface to put it on and that isn’t always possible.
The phone holder screws onto the top of the stand and you put your phone in it. It is easy to use, though it can be a bit stiff to mount your phone. The holder will also fit on other tripods or Gorillapods. That allows you to use it with your other gear if you decide to throw the holder and lens in your kit when you go out.
When I went away recently I put the cover on my phone so I could use the lenses anytime I wanted. I didn’t take the telephoto lens with me, but I most definitely packed the other three. They were always with me, either in my bag, or my pocket.
They are the best mobile phone lenses I’ve seen yet. The images are amazing and the detail you can get in your images is so sharp. If you love using your phone for photography and want to get more out of it, then here are the lenses that may be perfect for you. Struman Optics is an Australian company, but they ship all over the world.
I would give these lenses 9 out of 10, I love them.
Table of contents
- Review: Struman Lenses for Mobile Phones
- ADVANCED GUIDES