In this Amir lens review, we put the popular – and cheap! – Amir 3-in-1 lens kit for iPhone through its paces.
With the introduction of camera phones, nearly everybody has a high-quality camera at their disposal. The iPhone 6s features a 12-megapixel camera and a 1/3-inch sensor.
While these specs are impressive for a mobile/cell phone, that doesn’t mean a little improvement can’t be had.
Not surprisingly, soon after smartphone manufacturers decided to take their cameras to the next level, a multitude of lens kits hit the market.
These kits allow you to produce extremely detailed close-ups with macro lenses, spacious landscapes with wide-angle lenses, 180-degree fields of vision with fisheye lenses, and we’ve even seen some telephoto lenses hit the market of late.
You can turn your smartphone into a versatile camera, which in the age of social media and photo sharing is highly desirable.
One such lens kit we put to the test is the Amir 3-in-1 photo lens kit, currently retailing for $12.88 on Amazon. Included in the kit is a 140° wide-angle lens, a 180° fisheye lens, a 10X macro lens. The lenses mount via a clip with a screw-on mount, and are compatible with nearly all smartphone and tablet cameras.
Easy to use
What’s initially satisfying about this lens kit is that it is clip-on. The clip has a tight rubberised grip which prevents it from falling off and protects your phone’s screen from scratches. Poor or insecure lens fit can be a common problem with some magnetic lens kits, such as Photojojo’s iPhone and Android kits.
Clip-on lenses are also convenient because, unless it’s unusually thick, you don’t have to take off your phone case for a good fit (it may affect the optical performance though). Depending on which phone you use, however, (we used an iPhone 6s), it can partially block the flash. This was not an issue with the iPhone 6s.
The Amir 0.4X wide-angle lens captures images at a healthy 140° angle. It provides a one-step option in lieu of using the phone’s panoramic feature, which requires steady, consistent movement of the phone. The wide-angle lens is especially useful when taking pictures of expansive landscapes.
Using this lens tends to produce images that are a bit grainy around the edges, but it’s nothing too severe.
The fisheye lens provides 180° angle capture, and produces sphere-shaped images with dramatic, dark corners. With this lens it’s critical to make sure it’s centred over the smartphone’s camera lens. Otherwise, you may end up with blurry images and lopsided focus.
The macro lens in this kit is stored screwed into the fisheye lens. This helps the kit be a bit more compact, and the lenses are well-threaded, making them easy to screw and unscrew.
The Amir macro lens features 10x magnification with fixed-focal-length glass. It can produce stunning detail provided there’s a strong light source and the lens is about 1cm from the subject.
While these steps may not be obvious to amateur photographers (which constitutes the majority of smartphone photographers), they are detailed on both the exterior packaging and directional insert.
Maintaining a 1cm focal distance can be tricky if you don’t have a particularly steady hand, especially keeping in mind that holding the phone close to the subject will block out some light and lower shutter speed.
Aside from lens performance, small but significant features such as dual-side lens caps, a small drawstring lens cleaning bag, and the ability of the macro lens to screw into the fisheye lens for compact storage make the Amir 3-in-1 lens kit easily portable. That’s, perfectly in line with the concept of convenience driving smartphone technology today.
Bottom line, for a price tag of $12.88, the Amir photo lens kit is a practical, solid, lens assortment for the amateur smartphone photographer. The lenses fit well on the clip and are easy to install, and the clip sits snugly and sturdily on the phone.
While the macro lens can be a bit tricky to use in low light and the fisheye requires precise centring, the lenses all perform quite well, especially when coupled with an understanding of a few basic principles of photography.
If you’re willing to spend a few dollars more, $19.99 to be exact, you can opt for Amir’s newer model, which boasts an improved 0.36X wide-angle lens and a 25X macro lens.