However, if you want to capture photos of distant players at a football game, you’ll need something longer. And if you want to photograph birds in distant trees, you’ll need something even longer, such as a 15x or 20x telephoto lens.
Unfortunately, most iPhone tell lenses don’t offer a range of focal lengths. This limits your flexibility as a photographer, but you’ll learn to make it work with some practice.
Even if you have a tell lens with a good focal length, you also want to make sure it offers excellent optical quality. It’s a bit too much to expect corner sharpness, but you want to take photos that aren’t noticeably blurry in the middle of the frame.
In tell lenses, chromatic aberration is something to watch out for due to optical imperfections. Vignetting, on the other hand, is often a compatibility problem, where the external tell lens obscures part of the internal iPhone lens.
When it comes to tell lenses for iPhones, manufacturers often skimp on build quality to keep the price down. Some iPhone lenses are made to work on pretty much any smartphone, Apple or Android.
Before you purchase an iPhone telephoto lens, you want to make sure it’s compatible with your smartphone. And there are advantages to purchasing lenses that are compatible with additional iPhones and Android devices: If you end up buying a new iPhone or purchasing a Google Pixel, you’ll be able to use your tell lens without a problem, which will save you money in the long run.
But there are some impressive budget lenses, which give a lot of power for a low price. Now that you’re aware of the factors that go into picking the perfect telephoto lens for your needs, it’s time to look at the list of options.
Let’s start with our number one pick for best iPhone telephoto lens : The Moment telephoto is a relatively short lens, especially compared to other lenses on this list.
You can use it to photograph your kids on a beach, then turn and snap some shots of the distant horizon. At this focal length, you’ll be in the ballpark for headshots, images of people from a distance (e.g., for street photography), and sports photograph y.
The center of the frame is impressively sharp, only becoming soft as you move out toward the corners. If the fringing irks you, you shouldn’t have much trouble removing this in a program like Lightroom.
The Manikin 5 in 1 set also comes with a smaller telephoto lens : a 2X zoom, which is perfect for more everyday photography, such as street or portrait shooting. Build quality on both telephoto lenses is good, with the bodies made out of aluminum.
As for the optics, the Manikin lenses perform quite well, offering clear images even at 20x–a surprise, given the ultra-low price and huge zoom capabilities. All in all, the Manikin 5 in 1 set is the perfect purchase for anyone looking to shoot either distant subjects or tighter portraits, especially if you’re on a budget.
Rather, it’s a Sony camera that interfaces with your smartphone and allows you to take photos with an 18 MP sensor. Speaking of versatility: The Sony EX 10 is the only lens on this list that actually zooms.
This will allow you to tighten or widen your compositions without moving, which can be a huge advantage when shooting in inflexible environments. The lens won’t allow you to photograph distant songbirds, but you should be able to capture tighter portraits and street photos.
And the Sony EX 10 provides the best image quality of any external lens I’ve encountered. While most external iPhone lenses feel like a compromise, the Sony EX 10 does not.
Of course, this versatility and image quality comes with a trade off of its ow:/ the price isn’t exactly low, with the Sony EX 10 costing as much as some amateur DSLR lenses, and more than some. Also note that, while the Sony EX 10 can be used with many smartphones, you should check to make sure that your model is supported before purchasing.
But despite a couple of problems, the Sony DSC still manages to come out on top, offering amazing image quality and flexibility (for a price). You get a bigger sensor and higher MP rating, making for some truly impressive images.
The focal length is on the longer end, which is exactly what you need if you’re working with small and distant subjects. Plus, the Comedic 22X can double as a sports photography lens if you find yourself high up in the stands.
Like pretty much every other long telephoto lens for iPhones, you’ll need to get used to some big optics. Fortunately, this telephoto lens comes with an upside: Build-quality and handling is impressive, especially for a budget-quality smartphone option.
The lens itself is made of aircraft aluminum, and it has a built-in manual zoom function that lets you focus more easily at different distances. The Comedic telephoto clips straight onto your smartphone, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing accessories.
Image quality is good but not great; the lens displays significant distortion and softness, especially around the edges (giving an admittedly artistic look). But the center performs well, and should be able to satisfy beginners looking for a first telephoto lens at a great price.
A great first lens set option This kit is perfect for beginners who want to experiment with a range of lenses. The Drama 4 in 1 kit offers a 12X telephoto, one that will get you close enough for some tight shots, but won’t zoom in so far that you struggle to focus.
You’ll be able to use a 12X zoom to grab shots of players on the field, maybe even headshots, but you won’t feel like you have unnecessary magnification. Second, if you’re looking to take photos of backyard wildlife, you’ll be a big fan of this focal length.
Note that, in addition to doing better photography with the Drama telephoto, this manual focus will also allow you to use the 12X lens as a monocular, for watching sports games or even birdwatching. Build-quality on the Drama lens set is good, though you may want a tripod for shooting in low light.
Fortunately, Drama has thought this through, because the 4 in 1 kit contains a miniature tripod that’s perfect for low-light photography. The center of images looks decently sharp, while the corners are decidedly soft.
A low-cost kit with decent lenses This Len set is great for those on a budget. Those who need massive amounts of reach, primarily for bird and wildlife photography, though it’s worth testing this out as an macrophotography lens.
You can use it to snap photos of tiny birds on trees, distant flowers in a field, and more. While such a long lens performs well in terms of reach, it comes with some drawbacks; namely, it’s tough to focus, and even tougher to track a subject in the field.
This means that, if you find yourself cutting off parts of your subject, your only move is to back up a few steps. On the other hand, 36X magnification on an iPhone is astonishing, and will allow you to capture shots that most smartphone photographers have never even dreamed of.
The Apexes is quite lengthy, which is why it comes with a tripod collar and a mini tripod–once you’ve attached these, you’ll be able to take sharp images without worrying about camera shake. This lens has an impressive amount of zoom and really allows you to get creative with your shots.
While the focal length isn’t particularly long (around 60 mm), the telephoto lens offers you the ability to capture tighter portraits and street photos. The iPhone 11 Pro has debuted just recently to general acclaim, which makes its 3-camera setup (which includes a telephoto lens) very appealing.
Of course, a new iPhone has its downsides, including the huge price tag, but it also comes with some benefits. The only exceptions are lenses like the Sony EX 10, which doesn’t actually go in front of the iPhone lens, but instead interfaces with the smartphone LCD.
Sometimes, this drop in sharpness is worth it, such as when you’re shooting distant wildlife that you can’t possibly get close enough to photograph with just the native camera. But sometimes it makes sense to maintain image quality, and that’s where the telephoto lens of an iPhone 11 Pro comes in.
Native telephoto lenses also offer less color fringing and limited vignetting. Just remember that there are plenty of great options out there, most of them offered at excellent prices.
It’s also easily mounted on most smartphones, while the Moment lens requires a special case to even get started. However, if you want to shoot distant sports, aim for a lens around 10X (or even 15X, if you’re dealing with large distances).
If you’re on a budget, I recommend the Manikin 5 in 1 kit, which offers a 20X lens and decent image quality. If you’re hoping to do portrait, street, or casual walk around photography, 2X is great.
Another cool thing is that most of these telephoto iPhone lenses double as monocular. Jaymes Dempsey is a professional macro and nature photographer from Ann Arbor, Michigan; his work is published across the web, from Digital Photography School to Megapixel.