Consumer News

Consumer Reports Tests Smartphone Camera Add-On Lenses

(Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Source: KDKA-TV) Susan Koeppen
A nationally known, award-winning journalist, Susan Koeppen co-anc...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Taking a picture with your smartphone is incredibly convenient.

Smartphones don’t take close-ups or wide-angle shots though, but new add-on lenses aim to change that.

Consumer Reports wanted to see if they’re picture perfect, so they put them to the test.

David Livshin is a professional photographer, but for quick shots, he’s using his iPhone more and more.

“I find the opportunity to be unobtrusive sort of wins out over having to lug the cameras around,” said Livshin.

But the iPhone camera, like most smartphones, doesn’t have an optical zoom.

“Smartphones only have a digital zoom that loses pixels as it zooms in,” says Terry Sullivan, of Consumer Reports. “That reduces image quality.”

Consumer Reports tested two new brands of add-on lenses for smartphones.

The Olloclip costs $70, and it’s a three-in-one lens for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S.

“You fit each of them over the iPhone’s lens,” says Sullivan.

Consumer Reports also tested add-on lenses from Photojojo that work with both iPhones and several Android phones. Those lenses cost about $20 each.

To use them, you attach a ring on your phone with adhesive. The lenses attach to the ring magnetically.

“We found the ring sometimes came off the phone when we removed a lens,” said Sullivan.

Consumer Reports found a drawback with both brands, the lenses cover the phones’ flash.

But in good light, testers found both the Olloclip and the Photojojo lenses can take some beautiful pictures.

“The close-up shots and video of flowers in particular were stunning,” Sullivan said.

The upshot – Consumer Reports says these lenses can definitely expand a smartphone camera’s capability.

Be aware though, the Photojojo only works on phones where the lens is flush with the phone. If the camera lens protrudes, the add-on lens won’t attach properly.

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