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The best smartphone camera accessories


Why you might want these

Smartphone photography has become so good that you might rightly question whether you need accessories at all. Devices from Apple, Samsung, Sony, LG and Google can achieve a level of quality that was unthinkable just two years ago. Even second-tier manufacturers like Huawei (above) and OnePlus offer dual-camera systems that are as good as, if not better than the big brands.

Smartphone makers have stolen some lens accessory business by introducing multi-camera phones and reducing the need for stabilizers with better built-in OIS systems. That said, however, none have truly wide angle or telephoto lenses, nor could you do any serious video tracking shots with a smartphone alone sans stabilizer.

So there’s still a need for accessories to fill in the gaps of what your smartphone camera can’t do. With a few well-chosen ones, you can drastically improve your videos and photos for social media and other purposes.

Clip-on lenses

Smartphone lenses are better than ever, but there’s only so much you can do with parts that are less than a centimeter across. That’s where clip-on lenses come in. The extra glass can let in a lot more light and give you better control of exposure, color temperature and other parameters via the apps.

Some lenses, like ones from Olloclip an Aukey, are relatively simple affairs that clip directly to your phone. Others, meanwhile, like models from Moment, require a case for your specific model of phone. Bear in mind that none of the lenses will improve the clarity of your photos, as the light still passes through the smartphone’s built in lens. They can make the quality worse, though, if you buy a cheaply-built lens.

If you do want better quality, with a much bigger sensor and lens, with a smartphone’s ease of sharing, then you’ll need something like the DxO One. That’s essentially a standalone camera — with its own sensor, lens and aperture — that’s powered by your smartphone via an app. Those are great, but the DxO one runs over $500, so you might as well just buy a really good compact camera like Sony’s RX100 Mark III, which can currently be found for just over $600.

Moment Lenses