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The best iPhone lenses in 2020

Best iPhone lenses

The best iPhone lenses can take what's already one of the best smartphone cameras and make it even better. iPhone lens kits usually consist of an assortment of lenses — typically a fisheye, wide-angle, macro, and telephoto lens — as well as a case or clip with which you attach them to your smartphone. 

You may be asking yourself, "Why do I need an iPhone lens kit, when my iPhone 11 Pro Max already has a wide angle and telephoto lens built in?" Well, for as good as the cameras on the iPhone are, add-on lenses offer much more in terms of what you can capture. For example, you can use most of these lenses with all of the iPhone's cameras, so you can take the Pro Max's 2x telephoto and make it a 4x telephoto. And we've yet to see an iPhone that comes with a fisheye or macro lens built in.

Better yet, many of the best iPhone lens kits will also work with some of the more popular Android phones, either through phone-specific cases or universal adapters.

After testing dozens of models across several price ranges, we think that Moment makes the best iPhone lens kits.  These lenses are well built, produce some of the highest-quality images, and were easy to use. They're pricey, but the image quality you get from Moment's lenses is simply the best around.

Currently, Moment sells two fisheye lenses, a wide-angle lens, a telephoto lens, and a macro lens. The company also make an anamorphic lens for those who want to use their iPhone to shoot cinema-like videos. Individually, lenses cost around $95, but are often bundled with other accessories. Apart from the image quality, Moment's bayonet-style mounting system makes it easy to attach and remove lenses from your smartphone, so you're not stuck fiddling with an attachment and miss your shot.

In addition to lenses, Moment also makes a variety of cases in a wide range of styles, and for a wide variety of smartphones, including the iPhone 7 and up, the Galaxy S9+  and up, and most Google Pixel phones. 

Moment announced a new universal lens mount ($29.99; shipping late March) that's made of aluminum and has an adjustable slide to accommodate front and rear cameras on the latest smartphones. The company also announced cases for the Samsung Galaxy S20 lineup, through this $32 case won't ship until April.

iPhone owners looking for something more affordable lens kit should check out Olloclip, which has multiple lenses under $50, and has an easy-to-use clip that works with a wide range of smartphones. 

The best iPhone lenses you can buy today

Best iPhone lenses: Moment Lens

(Image credit: Future)

1. Moment Lens

The best iPhone lenses overall

Lenses: Wide, Telephoto, Fish-eye, macro | Weight: 1.6 ounces (Wide), 1.7 ounces (Telephoto) | Compatibility: iPhone 6 and higher, Samsung Galaxy S8 and higher, Note 8, Google Pixel XL, 2/XL

Excellent quality
Works with later iPhones, Samsung Galaxy and Note smartphones and Google Pixel
Can be used with both rear cameras
Expensive

While expensive — each of its lenses costs between $90 to $100 — we think that Moment makes the best iPhone lenses overall. Based on our tests with competing premium iPhone lens kits, the images from Moment's lenses  are some of the best we've seen from any smartphone camera lens attachment. 

Moment makes a lens for just about every occasion: telephoto, wide angle, macro, anamorphic, and fisheye. And, the company makes cases for a wide range of smartphones, including the including the iPhone 7 and up, the Galaxy S9+ and up, and Google's Pixel phones. Cases come in a variety of colors and finishes, and also include slim models and ones with extra batteries.

In addition, Moment also sells a range of filters, including neutral density and circular polarizers; while they don't work in conjunction with its lens kits, you can use the filters with your smartphone's cameras.

Read our full Moment iPhone lens review.

Best iPhone lenses: iPhone 11 Pro ElitePack

(Image credit: Future)

2. Olloclip iPhone 11 Pro ElitePack

Best iPhone lens kit pack

Lenses: Fisheye, Super-wide, 15X Macro | Weight: 3.2 ounces | Compatibility: iPhone SE and later, Samsung Galaxy S10, S10e

Works with both front and rear cameras on iPhone 
Easily interchangeable
Great quality for the price
iPhone stand isn't sturdy

Most premium iPhone lenses cost $100 per lens. That's a lot of money to throw down, especially if you want a full complement of lenses. Plus, carrying three or four separate lenses can be cumbersome if you're trying to travel light. 

Olloclip has an alternative in its iPhone 11 Elite pack, which includes a telephoto, fisheye, and 15x macro lens for $129. While the quality isn't as high as you'll find with premium lenses, it's still very good, and costs a third as much. The clip that connects the lenses to the iPhone was the easiest to use of all the lens kits we've tested, and lets you swap the lenses around with ease. Best of all, the clip lets you use the lenses with all of the iPhone's cameras — both front and back. 

Olloclip also makes clips that accommodate the iPhone SE, iPhone 7 and later, and the Samsung Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10e. While not as sharp as premium lenses from Moment and others, Olloclip's lenses offer the greatest combination of performance and price.

Best iPhone lenses: ShiftCam Telephoto ProLens

(Image credit: Future)

3. Shiftcam 2.0 Telephoto ProLens

An excellent telephoto iPhone lens

Lenses: 2X Telephoto | Weight: 2.6 ounces | Compatibility: iPhone 7 and up, Android with universal adapter

Excellent quality
Good price
Only makes cases compatible with iPhones

In our premium telephoto iPhone lens shootout of Moment vs. Sandmarc vs. Shiftcam vs. Olloclip, Shiftcam's came out on top for its value, ease of use, and performance. We liked the build of its lenses, as well as Shiftcam's system for mounting the lenses to our iPhone; you attach the lens to a plastic tab, which slides in and out of Shiftcam's smartphone case. With this case, you can also use Shiftcam's Multilens system, which is a series of 3, 5, or 6 lenses (depending on the model) built into a single tab. While not as good as Shiftcam's ProLens series, it lets you switch between multiple  lenses very quickly.

One caveat is that Shiftcam only makes lens cases for iPhones (iPhone 7 and up); if you have an Android phone, you'll have to use Shiftcam's $25 ProLens Universal mount. 

Read our full Shiftcam 2.0 ProLens review

best iPhone lenses: Olloclip Core Lens Set

(Image credit: Olloclip)

4. Olloclip Core Lens Set for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8

Best budget iPhone lens kit for older iPhones

Lenses: Fisheye, Super-wide, Macro (15x) | Weight: 1.12 ounces | Compatibility: iPhone 8/8 Plus, iPhone 7/7 Plus

Works with front and back cameras
Compatible with iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8/8 Plus
Small, portable
Can't use both rear cameras of the iPhone 7 Plus
Too snug to work with most phone cases

If you're holding on to an older iPhone, you can still find compatible lens kits at a good price. Our favorite option for those who don't want to spend too much is Olloclip's Core Lens Set. This kit includes a fisheye lens, 15x Macro, and a super-wide lens for about $60. This kit also includes an easy-to-use reversible clip system so you can use the cameras on both the front and back of the iPhone. 

If you're looking for even more options, you can purchase additional lenses from Olloclip for between $40 and $60. Another kit to consider is the Olloclip Active Lens Set ($70), which includes a 2x telephoto lens and an ultra-wide lens.

The only major downsides to Olloclip's lens kits are that the clip won't fit over most iPhone cases and that not all of Olloclip's lenses can be used with the iPhone's secondary zoom camera.

Read our full Olloclip Core Lens Set review

best iPhone lenses: Aukey Ora

(Image credit: Aukey)

5. Aukey Ora

Best iPhone lenses for budget shoppers

Lenses: 140-degree wide-angle, 10x macro | Weight: 0.32 ounces | Compatibility: iPhone 8/7/6/6 Plus, Samsung, other Android

Well-built
DSLR-like lens cap
Works with multiple phones
Bulkier than some competitors
Only two lenses

There are a lot of cheap iPhone lens kits on Amazon, but many of them aren't any good; you get distorted or blurry images, or the lens doesn't align properly over your iPhone's camera. After testing a handful, we think that the Aukey Ora is the best iPhone lens kit for those who don't want to spend more than $20. However, at this low price, you have to be willing to accept some compromises. 

For starters, the Aukey Ora lens kit only comes with two lenses: a 140-degree wide-angle lens and a 10x macro lens. We found that they performed well against the competition, and we liked that it even came with a lens cap and carrying case. Because it's a universal clip, the Aukey Ora should work with most iPhones, as well as Samsung and other Android smartphones. 

Read our full Aukey Ora review

best iPhone lenses: Insta360 Nano

(Image credit: Insta360)

6. Insta360 Nano S

Best iPhone lens for 360 photos

Lenses: Dual 210-degree fisheye | Weight: 2.5 ounces | Compatibility: iPhone 6/6 Plus and newer

Works with or without phone
Comes with VR viewer
Livestreams to Facebook and YouTube
App requires you to turn phone upside-down
Only connects to iPhone 6 and later

Using two lenses, the Insta360 Nano S lets you take 360-degree videos and photos, whether this accessory is attached to your iPhone or not. It can record videos up to 4K in resolution, and photos up to 6272 x 3136 pixels. 

The Insta360 Nano S measures 4.3 inches in length, is 1.3 inches wide, and 0.8 inches at its thinnest point; the camera bubbles out at one end where its two lenses are located. You can use the Nano S as a standalone device, but when you connect it to your iPhone, you can also stream to Facebook and quickly post your shots online. However, doing so requires you to hold your iPhone upside-down, which is a little awkward. 

The Insta360 Nano S has an 800 mAh battery, so it won't drain your phone, and a microSD card slot (up to 128GB) means you won't use you your phone's storage, too. 

How to choose the best iPhone lens for you

For the most part, smartphones lens accessories do an admirable job of allowing you to shoot photos that mimic some of the qualities you'll find in high-end camera that accepts interchangeable lenses. But it's important to remember, the expensive lenses you'd use with an SLR or mirrorless camera are pricey for a reason. In other words, you'll want to dial back your expectations when buying one of these smartphone lenses.

Here are four things to remember about most smartphone lens accessories, and where they come up short in comparison to high-end cameras.:

At best, image quality remains the same: Since these lenses, in almost all cases, are attached by placing them over the rear-facing lens on your phone, the quality, at best, remains the same. In other words, the sensor and lenses combo isn't improved. In some cases, with say a telephoto lens, the sharpness in the center may display modest improvement; however, it's in the corners of the photo where sharpness really needs to be tested. With these lenses, the sharpness almost always falls dramatically in the corners. Most of these lenses will also introduce a host of other problems, such as distortion, chromatic aberration (producing conspicuous purple outlines around subjects), and light falloff (where the center is much brighter than the images at the edges of a photo). Most high-quality interchangeable lenses made for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are designed to significantly limit distortion, aberrations, and other optical defects. The DxO One is the one exception since it attaching differently to your smartphone.

Telephoto lenses produce worse images and video than wide angle: No matter what telephoto lens you attach to your phone, it will produce blurrier photos and more jittery video footage than any wide angle or fisheye. That's because telephoto lenses are highly susceptible to handshake and vibration, and most smartphones lack effective image stabilization. Our advice would be to get a tripod if you plan on shooting with a telephoto lens.

Lower quality flash photos: Some smartphone lenses block a smartphone's flash, which further limits your ability to capture decent photos in low light.This is rarely an issue with an interchangeable-lens camera.

Awkward designs and other limitations:  Since these lenses need to fit snugly over your smartphone's lens, you'll need to remove the camera's case, or be forced to use a case that's only compatible with the lens. Additionally, once you attach the lens, it prominently sticks out from the phone, ruining its sleek design. Good luck slipping that into your back pocket! Lastly, these lenses lack the sophisticated apertures and other hardware you'll find on interchangeable lenses, which allow you produce truly professional looking images.

How we test iPhone lenses

When we test iPhone lenses, the first thing that we naturally look at is how well they perform. Cheaper lenses — those made from plastic, for example — will cause the photos you take to have blemishes, such as chromatic aberrations (purple fringes around objects) and blurriness. This is most evident with fisheye and wide angle lenses, where objects towards the edges will be much blurrier than those towards the center. 

We also evaluate iPhone lenses in terms of ease of use: How easy are they to attach and remove from your smartphone? If it takes longer than a second, you could miss that shot you wanted to get. We also look at the price, as not everyone has $100 to spend just on a single lens; often, you can find models that cost less, but deliver nearly the same quality. Lenses also get bonus points if they work with more than just iPhones, too. Why can't Android owners have some fun, too?

  • lourson
    Archived comments are found here: http://www.tomsguide.com/forum/id-2309719/iphone-camera-lens-kits-2014.html
    Reply
  • Tony_39
    I have tried few lenses for my iPhone. I love Hitcase lenses, they are not bulky and easily fits in my pocket while travelling. Olloclip is portable, easy to carry around. It's hard to find place for them while I am on air travel. I personally like Hitcase snap lenses!
    Reply
  • thurstonb95
    Great stuff but when are we going to see a good telephoto lens for the iphone?
    Reply
  • Aahana
    This is Good smartphone but i use Gretel GT6000 and this is a wonderful phone with Long Lasting battery 6000mAh and you know this phone also have dual rear camera. This is a Good Looking and feature reach phone.
    Reply
  • roberto.zanconato
    Just upgraded my iPhone from 6 plus to 7 plus and now the Olloclip is scrap. Could they not sell a new plastic clip to host the old lenses?
    Reply
  • fuzzyteq
    What about the hitcase lenses?
    Reply