Detachable Lenses for Mobile Phones: Traditional & Hi-Tech

Though nowadays we often take photos with our smartphones, it’s clear that the quality of a built-in mobile phone lens leaves much to be desired. This problem can be easily solved by using various detachable mobile lenses. Such miniature thingie can significantly enhance the quality of your shots; it also offers great new opportunities like shooting macro, tilt shift or fisheye. This post reviews several detachable lenses for mobile devices which can add ease and flexibility to your mobile photography experience.

A smartphone with a number of detachebale lenses

Lenses for mobile devices differ in the way they are fixed to your phone. Some of them come with a cell band that you can wear as a bracelet and put on your phone only when you need it. Others come with a removable metal ring that sticks to the back of your phone, and then the lens attaches magnetically.


Macro Lenses

If you need to take an extreme close up shot of a small object with your mobile device, you’ll surely need a detachable macro lens (despite numerous advertisement statements, a zoom lens is not an alternative to a dedicated macro lens). There is a great variety of such mobile lenses that cost from $10 and higher on eBay.

Post processing macro photos, many photographers prefer to emphasize an object in focus leaving one leading color and turning all other tints into black and white. If you want to try it, skip the manual work and Photoshop retouch: just apply one of our Color Filters and get the desirable result in a few clicks. Lab app users will find these filters in the free Color Filters category.

Green color is isolated on a macro shot with a fly by a free onlinec color filter Red color is isolated on a shot of summer poppies with an online photo effect Blue and black and white macro shot of flowers edited with a color filter
The color filters applied by Lab app.


Tilt Shift Lenses

Do you know what a tilt shift lens is? This lens allows you to control the appearance of perspective which also makes objects in a photo look miniature. If you need such lens for your phone, you’ll have to do it yourself as there are no such lenses for mobile devices. As an alternative you can also use our free mobile app, available both for Android and iOS users. It’s an easy way to achieve a toytown effect in your landscape shots. The Tilt Shift effect is given in the Stylized Effects category of the app.

Red color is isolated on a shot of summer poppies with an online photo effect Blue and black and white macro shot of flowers edited with a color filter
The Tilt Shift effect by Lab app.


Fisheye Lenses

Fisheye lenses have an ultra wide angle which lets you take rounded images instead of squared ones. These lenses will help you find out what it would be like to see the world from a soap bubble: faces look funny cause objects in the center of the shot seem bigger than objects on the periphery. You can buy a fisheye lens on Amazon. An average price is $6.

A funny shot of a white cat taken with a fisheye lens A shot, taken by a fisheye detachable lens for mobile phone


Telephoto Lenses

Telephoto lenses let you take photos as if you were twice (or even 12X times) closer to the object. Here is a review of 12X zooming telephoto lenses for iPhone, and here you can buy a suchlike lens for your Android, iOS or Windows phone.

You can use these lenses to take photos of your friends standing on an opposite balcony or go to a zoo and shoot an animal without sticking your fingers in the cage lattice. If you need to edit shots taken with a telephoto lens, you’ll find plenty of frames and stylized & artistic effects on

A photo of a white parrot, sitting on a tree, taken with a telephoto lens A photo of a little animal taken by a telephoto lens for a smartphone


Spy Lenses

Spy lenses help you take photos of things that are not directly in front of your camera. In brief, they let you shoot at a 90° angle. With this lens you can pretend that you are writing a message or reading a book and take a photo of what is going on straight ahead!

A detachable spy lense for mobile phones

A spy lens offers you an easier way to take shots from high and low angles and see what you focus on. Here are two examples of photos with high and low perspective shot from similar angles. Using a spy lens you’ll take such photos with ease.

Photo of tree tops taken with high perspective Photo of two swans eating taken with low perspective

You can buy a spy lens on Amazon for $20.


Smart ‘Lens Cameras’

The smart lenses QX10 and QX100 made by Sony can be used as a dedicated accessory for your smartphone (all the same for iOS, Android or Windows Mobile phones). The QX10 and QX100 lenses can be attached to you mobile phone and visually transform it into a small digital camera.

A detachable lense QX10 for mobile phones from Sony

With QX10 and QX100 you can also take photos holding a lens in one hand and your phone in the other. In this way you’ll easily focus on any object. Photos get uploaded from the lens to your phone via Wi-Fi but you can also store photos in the microSD card in the lens (if you have it installed). These lenses are a fully-functional alternative to a built-in camera of your phone.

A detachable lense QX100 for mobile phones from Sony

QX100 lenses are rather expensive, but if you need to turn your mobile phone into a powerful photo shooting tool, this lens can fulfill your dream. An average price on eBay for QX100 is about $400. QX10 lenses are twice cheaper.


A Daylight Viewfinder

The last but not least in this post comes the Daylight Viewfinder for iPhone. The whole solution includes an eyepiece accessory and an iOS app that manages the work of the device. This detachable accessory lets you easily take photos and videos in the middle of a sunny day when there is too much glare and you can’t see the screen of your device clearly. The Daylight Viewfinder blocks out external light and helps you shoot in the brightest sunlight.

A detachable daylight viewfinder which lets you take photo with a smartphone in bright sunlights

By the way, there is a beta-version of the app for Android users. If you’d like to test it you can mail the vendor and get a viewfinder for free (the offer is only for US addresses).

That’s about it for today. We hope that it was an interesting and useful reading. Happy photographing and photo editing!

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