For a very long time, I was an iPhone camera snob. Sure I would snap some pictures in social or casual situations, but I never thought of it as a replacement for my DSLR. I just didn’t believe that the quality is there to compete with my professional setup. The reason? It’s not the sensor in the iPhone camera that prevents it from taking high-end photos, it’s the lens.
However, since I got the iPhone 6s, and with the release of the iPhone 7’s groundbreaking mobile camera, I’ve warmed up to the idea of the iPhone taking some pretty amazing images. So when I came across the affordable iPhone wide angle attachable lens from Aukey, I decided to give it a real chance and review it. Perhaps giving the iPhone a proper lens would bridge the gap.
As luck would have it, when the package came in the mail I was about to head out for a weekend trip to Stinson beach in Northern California. A big group of us rented out a pretty awesome house right on the sand, partied pretty hard, and ended up seeing one of the more incredible sunsets that I have encountered in a very long time.
Basically, the perfect scenario to test out this new iPhone wide angle lens from Aukey had presented itself.
Overall review: A solid wide angle iPhone lens that improves your mobile photos
The key takeaway here, is that if you primarily use your mobile phone as your travel or day-to-day default camera, then you need a better lens, and this could very well be the solution. However, given its limitations, and the fact that it’s still just your iPhone with a better lens, this won’t magically make your photos transform to the level of a pro DSLR setup.
Solid optical quality. I was able to create images with this lens that I was actually proud of.
Love the idea that you can get two lenses in one. A wide angle, and a macro lens.
Very affordable (especially compared to some of the crazy expensive lenses that I have bought over the years for my DSLR).
Bulky, heavy, and offsets the balance and the normal way you hold your mobile phone.
The lens is attached by a clip. While this clip is fairly strong, it’s not enough to keep the heavy and bulky lens attached and in place during any kind of sustained movement.
Significant distortion. This lens is not meant to be a fisheye, but unless you keep the horizon fairly spot in the middle, there is going to be a lot of distortion. While this can be a fun effect, if it’s not what you’re going for, it can be difficult to correct.
Here is a shot at sunset with distortion correction in Adobe Lightroom the best I could. As you can see, it’s still noticeable.
Normally, I would never think of a wide angle lens as being a good idea for portraiture. In order to frame up a portrait, you have to get closer to your subject, and when you get close, wide angle lenses distort the perspective a fun lens for portraits. However something about the Aukey lens created some pretty interesting and usable portraits.
Indoor perspectives are pretty unique and can be fun.
Panoramas on the iPhone with this wide angle lens turn out pretty cool, and have a distorted effect.
Look, I get the dilemma. You’re going on that weekend excursion that isn’t really meant to be a photography trip. You don’t want to bring your big DSLR or mirrorless camera and lenses, but at the same time there may be photographic opportunities where you are going, and if you saw something incredible but only had your iPhone with you to capture it, you’d kick yourself.
It’s right there, right in that in-between space of convenience and opportunity that the Aukey iPhone wide angle lens for better mobile photography comes into play. It’s one extra thing you can throw in your bag, and feel a little more confident that you have a wider capacity to capture the things that you see. It’s definitely not perfect, and isn’t great for active or continuous use, but it is a solid inexpensive option for improving your mobile photography and creating some pretty awesome images with your phone.
FREE Guide: 52 Ways to Make Money as a Photographer
Get paid for your photo skills and do more of what you love. This guide is packed with tried-and-tested ways to make money from your work.