I saw recently that the Nokia Lumia 920, which I’d been reviewing, could work with the magnetic lens attachments that are so popular for the iPhone. Always one to do fun stuff with smartphone photography, I figured for $18 on Amazon, I’d give them a whirl. I got them just in time for Thanksgiving, so I knew I’d have plenty of opportunities to test them out.
For $18, you get three lenses, two of which attach to one another, so you really only have 2 things to carry around. There’s a magnet on one end, which works great to attach to the metal camera mount on the iPhone, and reportedly, the Lumia 920. It works, but it’s not very strong – the fisheye lens only stays put when you’ve got the phone in portrait mode, which we should NEVER use for photography. Luckily, the packaging also comes with separate metal rings that have a strong adhesive on the back, so you can place it around the camera lens on your phone, like this:
These little rings work really well, and don’t seem to damage the phone at all with the adhesive. However, they’re very shoddily cut, so the edges are rough, and I found them somewhat annoying. A few extra steps to smooth the edges would have gone a long way, but for the price, it’s tough to complain.
The fisheye lens was my favorite, and it works surprisingly well. Of course, you get a much smaller frame, but I was pleased to see that, at least in the center of the lens, objects were still in focus, and the photos turned out rather good.
The wide-angle lens had promise, but I found it really frustrating when trying to focus. More often than not, I was unable to get anything in focus with this lens, so I didn’t use it as often. The Lumia 920 has a decently-wide angle anyways, so there wasn’t much to gain.
The macro lens is part of the wide-angle lens, it just twists out to be a separate piece. It’s great for REALLY macro shots, but it didn’t do anything to help the Lumia 920 in photos where the subject was more than half an inch away from the lens. I don’t often take photos that close, but the few samples that I did take turned out quite impressive. The photo above is taken with the Lumia 920 on close-up mode, with no lens attached. The photo below is taken with the Lumia 920 and the macro lens – you can see the lens allows you to get much closer and capture more detail.
The lenses come with little plastic caps, which is a nice touch, but they don’t attach, so they’ll probably be easily lost. There’s also a keychain solution with a small metal disc that attaches to the magnet portion of the lens, and then has a little strap. It’s secure enough to use to protect the lens, but not something I’d use on a keyring, for fear of losing them.
Overall, for $18 on Amazon, this was a bit pricey, considering I didn’t get much use out of the wide-angle or macro lenses. However, if you have use for those, the fisheye is really plenty of fun, and takes great photos. I do recommend using the included metal rings to attach to your phone, for a much more secure and less frustrating photography experience.