*This is an Amazon review I wrote for this product which I am modifying and posting here 🙂
There isn’t a day the goes by where I am not photographing something! I travel around every so often to capture imagery of wildlife and habitats, mostly in the Neo-tropics, but when home, I’m shooting whatever I come across. Sometimes I don’t have time to take more serious material, so I get by capturing a moment with my cellphone. One of the drawbacks to shooting with a cellphone is its limited ability to shoot in different styles, something often faked by digitally altering a photo to look a certain way. Wondering what was on the market in the way of lenses for phones at a decent price, I stumbled across this product. I’d read reviews for similar, even more expensive lens kits and decided to take my chances on one of the more affordable ones. I recognize that the optical quality is not like that of professional camera equipment (at all) – but upon receiving my kit and playing with it – must state that I am impressed (maybe surprised is a better word) with many of them!
The black phone case is sturdy, fits snugly to the S5 and seems well made. All the lenses screw into the metal ring reliably and are firmly held there, no awkward wobbling.
The 8x telephoto is…well, adorable. It’s made of plastic and surprises me with what it can actually do. It’s really like a tiny telephoto, being capable of focusing at different distances with a turn of the textured, broad focusing ring (which can prove tricky to manage when the camera also auto-focuses) as a result, you get a photo with a DSLR-ish feel. It’s fairly sharp in the center of the photo and falls off a bit around the edges and with some chromatic aberration, but different lighting conditions lessen or worsen this effect. I like that you can get the softer backgrounds this way. Unfortunately, there is also some prominent distortion near these increasingly blurry edges, most noticeable with subjects that are man made, like buildings. It is wonderful to have the ability to get full frame shots of subjects with a cellphone, though. Now I want the x12 telephoto they make!
This is a toy lens, they all are, really – but I have to admit that I am in love with them. I photographed a deer that I spooked up yesterday (edit: more than a week ago now), and having the lens on hand that was quick to throw on the case made for an awesome moment.
The fish eye is probably the sharpest lens out to the edges, but also suffers from chromatic aberration, also depending on the type of shot. I really love this one. It is a ton of fun to use! This lens is made from a sturdy metal, which I am fond of.
The wide angle lens (also the macro lens when the wide angle is twisted off) is cool but is probably the lowest quality lens for what it is attempting to do. It’s really sharp in the center and stays that way out for only a little bit before becoming what can only be described as disappointingly…’bleary’. I need to do some more tests with it, but overall I can still see myself using it a lot, but exclusively for goofy things. I’ll update this review when I have good photos that demonstrate this.
The macro lens does a great job focusing on the tiny subjects I love! Again, the sharpest bit will be located in the center, so much of space surrounding and behind the subject will have a dreamy appearance – soft and out of focus. It’s interesting to work with.
The tripod is sensible – it’s very easy to tote around and the locking mechanism works well for positioning the phone. The mechanism maintains its grip. It’s on the light side, being made mostly of plastic, so be careful not to tip the phone over by having it angled forward and low (I did that a few times!!) The tripod legs don’t open very wide – the way it is shown in the photos is exactly how far the legs can be positioned…so getting it low, level to the ground/surfaces is not possible. It’d be great if they developed another tripod for that, it’d be one of the better ways to utilize the macro lens. The legs are also not extendable or collapsible – they are just simple tubes. The foot of each tripod leg is capped in plastic, not rubber, so it could slide around on a smooth surface. I could probably find some large erasers to stick on there for added traction if I really wanted to. 😛 I definitely suggest using the tripod when you can, especially for macro and telephoto shots. You’ll get the sharpest result in dimmer light and fussy conditions. You can get away with a LOT more in sunny conditions, too. All the photos I share here in my review were on the tripod, minus the mushroom ones (I didn’t upload that one here – I’ll be adding a lot more soon, on and off the tripod) I’ll be adding outdoor macro and wide angle lens examples soon.
The universal phone holder does its job, gripping the case very snugly, no worries there about it popping or falling out. All the lenses, cleaning cloths and even an extra Bluetooth remote I purchased for this setup fit into the velvet cloth bag that came with the kit. It’s going to be with me all over the place!
It must be mentioned that I ordered this kit several days ago (about 15 days ago at the time of this edit -Nov 16th) and my first kit had two fish eye lenses in it, so I was missing the wide angle and macro. I contacted the seller, Eco-Fused some minutes after figuring this out and was surprised to hear back from them within a half hour. Since there was no way for them to send me the missing lenses alone, they shipped a whole new kit to me, expediting the shipping! The staff was a pleasure to talk to, a combination of personable and thorough and they were extremely quick to reply to all of my emails – replying within just a few minutes of each message!
I have my lenses now, I adore this kit and this company and their products! I’ll be buying from them again. I definitely recommend investing in this kit if you are looking for more creative, fun ways to shoot on the fly and aren’t too put off by some of the imperfections in the lens quality. It is much better than I had thought (I was imagining plastic everything!) and I am speaking as someone interested in top quality gear on full cameras.
It’d be great if they could redevelop the wide angle lens though, it would really help with the overall value because it stands are a pretty weak link in the group.
***This post will be updated in the future with additional photos, I’ll remove this bit of text when the review is complete***