Photography Explained

How Can I Improve My Mobile Camera Lens? This Is New To Me Too!

June 03, 2021 Rick McEvoy Episode 69
Photography Explained
How Can I Improve My Mobile Camera Lens? This Is New To Me Too!
Show Notes Transcript

How Can I Improve My Mobile Camera Lens? This Is New To Me Too! Hi and welcome to Episode 69 of the Photography Explained podcast.

I’m your host Rick, and in each episode I will explain one photographic thing to you in plain English in less than 10 minutes (ish) without the irrelevant details. What I tell you is based on my lifetime of photographic experience. And not Google.

Here is my answer
You can buy various add on lenses to attach to a camera phone. These include

  • Telephoto lenses
  • Wide angle lenses
  • Fisheye lenses
  • Macro lenses
  • Anamorphic lenses

These lenses give you creative opportunities with your phone photography and get over some of the optical limitations of such small lenses.

Listen for more, or check out the transcript and even the blog post - so many ways to find out more!

What’s next?
Glad you asked! In Photography Explained Podcast 70, What Phone Apps Do Photographers Use? These Are The 7 I Use The Most.

What to ask a question?
Head over to the Want Me To Explain Something? page on the Photography Explained website and fill the form in and you are done!

Check out my my blog
Check out my photography blog where you will find lots more photography stuff all written by me.

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Thank you very much for listening and see you on the next episode.

Rick McEvoy – Photography Explained Podcast

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How can I improve my mobile camera lens? This is new to me too.

Hi, and welcome to Episode 69 at the Photography Explained Podcast. I'm your host, Rick, and in each episode I will explain one photographic thing to you in plain English in less than 10 minutes (ish) without the irrelevant details.

What I tell you is based on my lifetime of photographic experience, and not Google, well, there is a bit of Google in this one.

Before I go on, if you have a question you would like me to answer just go to photographyexplainedpodcast.com/start. Hey, I managed to say it this time!

Right here is the answery bit.

You can buy various add on lenses to attach to a camera phone. These include

  • Telephoto lenses
  • Wide angle lenses
  • Fisheye lenses
  • Macro lenses
  • Anamorphic lenses

These lenses give you creative opportunities with your phone photography and get over some of the optical limitations of such small lenses.

Before I go on, I would like to tell you about previous episodes where I covered these different types of lenses. The stuff in there, which was all about normal cameras (not phones), the principles of all those things apply in just the same way to a camera phone, which if you think about it, it's nothing less than a small camera.

So yeah, check out the episodes on telephoto lenses, wide angle lenses and fisheye lenses.

I didn't do macro lenses. I never thought about doing them.

And I've never heard of anamorphic lenses I'm not gonna lie to you, so I definitely didn't cover them. Right? The detaily bit.

What do these lenses do?
As I said, go back to the previous episodes and you will find out a lot more but here is a quick summary of each of them as they relate to phones.

Telephoto lenses
These lenses get you in close, bring things closer to you. I'm not pigeon holing sports here, they can be used in any genre of photography, and they are dead handy on a phone, because phone lenses are generally wide angle lenses, and wider than camera lenses.

Telephoto lenses make the focal length larger. The bigger the number of the focal length, the bigger the magnification, the closer you get, and the more you think about keeping the phone still - let's not forget that, but there is all that clever stuff in there to help us (I am referring here to camera shake, which is more of a problem the longer the focal length – less room for error).

(Post episode note – telephoto lenses are sold with a magnification factor – 2 x magnification gives a bigger focal length and effects that 1.5 x).

Wide angle lenses
Well with most phone lenses, you start wide and then you can add a lens on to go even wider. This is great for landscapes, interiors, architecture, well anything you want to photograph. Again let's not pigeonhole this, just remember that wide angle lenses aren't great for portraits because they are not really flattering focal lengths (telephoto are better).

With a wide angle lens the focal length is smaller, and the larger the field of view (as in you can get more in).

Wide angle lenses tend to be sold with a magnification factor of less than one – a lens with a magnification factor of 0.5 gives you a wider field of view than one with a magnification factor of 0.75. Now I think I should congratulate myself for saying all those complicated words without making a mistake - don't want to tempt fate.

Fisheye lenses
Fisheye lenses, why fisheye lenses? Check out the episode on fisheye lenses (link above) and you can find out where the term came from.

Fisheye lenses go even wider, and you get crazy perspectives and very striking images. Fisheye lenses can give you 180 degree field of view, and even wider.

I found one at 205 degrees, and I think I've seen one that gives you 230 degrees - it's just ridiculous. With a 180 degree (field of view) if you take a photo with your camera pointing straight ahead, with 180 degrees your feet are in the photo!

Fisheye lenses are based on the angle of view, and like I say you can't get lens that the go wider than 180 degrees.

Macro lenses.
Macro photography is where you get in really close to a subject. You can't really do macro photography (using a phone) without an additional lens, sure you can get your phone close but you're not getting macro photography, with a one to one magnification.

So you are photographing, say a flower, and the photo you take is the actual size of the flower – i.e. one to one ratio.

Anamorphic lenses.
I've never heard of them. Well I think I might have heard of them. I just didn't know what they were, and what they do.

These are for video, and obviously phones are great for doing videos because it's just so easy to do. If you put an anamorphic lens on your phone camera it will help you to get a classic cinematic look, which I love the sound of. And I'm desperate (that was such a dramatic word, wasn't it), which I'm keen (that’s better) to try out.

Okay, so what do these lenses do?
Well, they give you options, and the ability to take photos that are different from everyone else who is not using these lenses. I'm not using them.

If you think about it, everyone's got a phone. Everyone's a photographer. Everyone's taking photos. So this is a really good thing to make you stand out.

How do they attach to a phone?
Well they clip on in one way or another. I'm sure there were some complicated mounting systems on some of them, but the ones that I've looked at in the main, they clip on. And that's fine.

Some are specific to a pick a particular phone model, easy for me to say, and some to the overall width of the phone.

Are they any good?
Well, the quality will of course vary, but if you check out the reviews online you can find some great lenses which are not too expensive. I'm not going to recommend anything here because I haven't used any of these myself.

If I had, I'd be more than happy to but it's not my place.

How much do they cost?
Well you could spend 20 quid and get a set of add on lenses. You could spend 150 to 200 quid for a single lens. Depends what you want, how much you prepared to spend, and the quality, but obviously just go to one of the reputable review sites and there are some bargains to be had.

And there's also some really good kits as well, where you get a number of lenses (not fences).

Right, so what do I do?
Well, I use an iPhone XS. I don't add anything to my phone. I don't use any of these lenses. Because I've got cameras, of course, well I am a photographer.

What would I do though?
If I did, though, I would get a telephoto lens to start with. As probably, I don't know 95-97% of phone pictures are taken by cameras on phones, which are by nature wide angle lens photos, 95-97% of the photos taken on phones are wide angle photos.

So you put a telephoto lens on, you're immediately setting yourself apart from the vast, vast majority. Right? That's the specifics.

The talky bit.
In the last episode, I spoke about phone lenses, and this was the logical next thing on lenses. And the more I think about this one, the more intriguing I'm finding it. Like I say the problem is that virtually everybody has a phone, and there are more photos being taken now than ever before.

So any help to give us something different has to be a good thing. I have to say the more I think about it, I'm still not going to use one though.

See if you've heard previous episodes, which I hope you have, you might have learned by now that in the past, I've bought stuff I didn't need because I like the sound of it. And I'm looking at this now thinking, I could get an anamorphic lens and do cinematic video, but if you check out the videos that I do, they're never going to be cinematic because it's just me talking to my phone.

So I don't need one. So I'm not going to get a telephoto lens - will I actually use it? Or will it just be another bit of kit that's in a box which I've have to put in my car every time I go out, that I take back out again and never use.

I've been here before. I'm going to hold that thought. There's so many other things that I want to learn and do.

(post episode note – I will use the telephoto lens more on my iPhone).

But here is my one line summary.

These add on lenses offer more possibilities and greater opportunities when taking photos with a camera phone.

Next episode, Episode 70 Blimey, I've got it to Episode 70. That's come around quick. I'm gonna continue on the phone theme. I'm going to tell you the apps that I use in my phone photography. Again, it's not a sales pitch. This is me telling you what I use. And it's not a lot. Some are paid most free. But it's not many. You might be surprised actually because there's, there's, well there are not millions of apps out there but there are a lot of apps out there.

I’m done
Okay, I'm done relatively quickly, which is nice. I'm getting back to my 10 minutes.

Thank you
Thank you very much for listening to my small but perfectly formed podcast. To find out more and do stuff to help me check out photographyexplainedpodcast.com/start.

Brought to you by
This episode is brought to you by the relief that I got a week ahead with my recordings. So next week's recordings are done. So next week, I can work on the week afters and not be on a time pressure thing. So that's good for me, but not of any interest to you.

Any questions?
Right, like I said at the start, if you've got any questions, let me know - photographyexplainedpodcast.com/start.

I've been Rick McEvoy, thanks again for listening to me and for giving me 10 ish minutes of your valuable time, actually less than 11 - short one - this not a problem.

And I'll see you on the next episode. Cheers from me, Rick.

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

lenses, phone, fisheye lenses, wide angle lenses, photography, magnification factor, photos, anamorphic lenses, wider, macro lenses, episode, camera, focal length, camera lens, telephoto lens, photographic, telephoto, macro photography, explained, wide angle