iPhone Lens Review: 12x Zoom, Macro, Fish Eye Lenses From USB Fever

I am a firm believer in the idea that the best camera is the one you have in hand. With that said, I love my DSLR but often find myself taking more images with my iPhone 4. I have always been intrigued, with companies who offer add-on lenses for the phone. USB Fever recently gave me an opportunity to check out one of their lens kits. With all of the editing applications available, being able to use detachable lenses along with those solutions opens iPhone photography wide open. Let’s take a look at the lenses followed by some sample images.

The lens kit comes with everything needed to spice up your iPhone photography. All of the lenses are attached to a black plastic case that includes a threaded fitting over the camera. The simple snap on case provides a function, but not a case I would leave on full-time. The three lenses include a 12X telephoto zoom lens, a wide-angle macro lens and a 180 degree fish eye lens. A small metal tripod is also included with a fitting to connect the telephoto zoom lens. I was impressed by the build quality of the lenses and tripod. All are made out of metal and are sturdy and high quality. The telephoto lens is best used with the tripod since holding the phone steady enough to take a clear shot at 12x zoom is nearly impossible. Since the lenses are being attached to the case are metal to plastic, I recommend taking care while threading. For the price, the quality of the kit will not disappoint. Now we will look at some images from each lens.

12x Telephoto:

The telephoto lens will power up your iPhone and allow you to take shots from long distances. Make sure you use the provided tripod to keep the camera still. To fine tune the focus, turn the black part of the lens. I was amazed by the zoom power the lens added to my iPhone. The images come out pretty clear, but they are soft around the edges. If it becomes too much of a problem for your image, simply crop out the focused area. All of the photos were taken both with and without the lens attached from the same location with zero editing. I will have two photos for each lens.

Without lens attached.

With 12X Telephoto attached.

Without lens attached.

With 12x Telephoto attached.

180 Degree Fish Eye:

I have never personally used a fish eye lens, but the images they create are quite interesting. The lens is used more for artistic touch than anything. The image is also a bit soft around the edges but that is expected since it is basically a distorted lens. The field of vision is greatly increased with the fish eye lens. Let’s take a look at a couple of shots.

Without lens attached.

With 180 degree Fish Eye lens.

Without lens attached.

With 180 degree Fish Eye lens.

Wide Angle/Macro Lens:

A macro lens allows photographs to be taken extremely close. For instance, the details of a flower or a coin. I greatly want a macro lens for my DSLR, but have not been able to afford one. The lens would not only be fun, but would also be pretty useful while doing product review photography. I might actually start using my iPhone and this lens for such images. The lens allows the iPhone to focus up closely to reveal details that cannot be seen without the lens. This might actually be my favorite of the three lenses.

Without lens attached.

With Wide Angle/Macro lens attached.

Without lens attached: (note- This is my college ring, State Championship rings should arrive soon)

With Wide Angle/Macro lens attached.

As seen in all of the sample photos, each of the lenses serve a different purpose and do it well. The build quality is good for an iPhone accessory and sure to improve any iPhone photographer’s images. My next project is to combine some images with my favorite editing applications and create some artistic pictures. If you are at all interested in expanding the abilities of your iPhone 4’s camera, the USB Fever lens kit is a cheap and great option.

USB Fever Lens Kit:

MSRP: $79.99

What I like: The ability to expand the iPhone 4’s camera. Excellent metal build quality.

What could be improved: I would have like to have a way to use the tripod with any lens, not just the telephoto.


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About the Author

Travis Ehrlich
Travis is a high school teacher and coach in a small South Texas town. His love for gadgets began at a very early age, and he has been a cross between a jock and a geek for most of his life. He has two boys and a wonderful wife who lets him be a gadget freak. He is a Mac convert and has drank the whole pitcher of kool-aid! He is also an avid guitar player and loves the outdoors, especially hunting with both a bow and rifle.