Richard Hay Gift Idea: Magnetic Attachable Lens and Your Smartphone

Written by Richard Hay

Take a look at my pic below. Magnetic-attachable lenses will transform your smartphone photos. Don’t believe it? Take a gander. This is a floppy disk, fish-eye view.

Photo credit: Richard Hay

Whether your particular flavor of smartphone is an Apple iPhone, a Windows Phone or one running Android, I bet it has a front-facing camera that is capable of capturing pictures and video. If you like taking pics, a magnetic attachable lens is ideal. It’s affordable. It’s compact.  The control features are limited — you’re not getting anything like a DSLR in a candy bar package.  But it is uber convenient.

Photo credit: Richard Hay for

The meme about the best camera being the one you have with you is so true. And it applies to smartphone cameras — to a tee.

So it only makes sense that enhancing attachments like magnetic attachable lenses come with you, too. For most subjects, obviously the stock camera on a smartphone is fine.  Funny billboard.  Amusing street sign downtown.  But it gets tricky when you are in a wider venue.

I’m thinking The Grand Canyon, here.  Or a wall mural sprawling an entire side of a building.  Imagine trying to capture the inside a church with a cavernous ceiling.  Or look at this — it’s the Biltmore estate in Ashville, North Carolina

Photo Credit: Richard Hay for

So, on a photowalk in San Francisco a few months ago, I saw one of the photographers had not brought a DSLR. Instead, she was taking pictures with the  Apple iPhone camera. That’s when I found out that she was using a snap on lens that clipped to the Apple iPhone casing and framed the camera so it would have a wide angle “fish-eye” perspective, like the shot at top.

There are magnetic lens attachments for Android phones, too.  You could probably even find one for a RIM BlackBerry.

Photo credit: Richard Hay for

I’ll tell you one thing. It works like a charm on my Samsung Galaxy Nexus.  I got a fish-eye lens from PhotoJoJo — that reminds me of the best cartoon villain name ever, but I digress.

Bottom line: These gadgets aren’t that expensive, they typically ship with rings and adhesives that will let you stick them to the back of the smartphone and frame the front-facing lens. You just snap on the portable lens itself  and you have a wide angle viewing perspective from your smartphone.

For $20 or less — that’s the going rate — this is a deal. Lenses with wide angle perspective for a pro camera are often cost more than $1,000.  So this is a cheap and easy way to add a dimension to your smartphone pictures.  And no, it is not the same as a pro camera wide angle shot.  But it is better that the stock viewing perspective built into the phones. And it is fun.

Photo credit: Richard Hay for

There are plenty of apps that will add filters and generate an effect on a taken photograph.  But a physical lens add-on actually changes what is in the picture by expanding the optical perspective of the stock camera. Nice.

For, I’m Richard Hay. Happy shopping.

Happy picture taking.