It’s easy to forget that the iPhone is the most popular camera in the world. Take a look at the Flickr analytics and you’ll scan through just about every version of the iPhone before you see the name Canon or Nikon or Sony.
The iPhone has become a serious tool for photographers and videographers, and as it’s evolved a burgeoning market of iPhone accessories has grown along with it. These days you can get some amazing accessories and kit your iPhone out as a proper video rig or something else entirely.
In this buyer’s guide we round up the best iPhone accessories you can buy to improve your smartphone photos and videography.
At the core of the ExoLens system is the machined aluminium bracket that attaches to the phone and that accepts the optics. The Bracket Frame has a gel liner that sits inside the machined aluminium bracket to cushion the phone and it slots onto the iPhone spanning the width of the phone.
You can buy variants of the ExoLens for the iPhone 6, 6S and 7, and attaching it is dead easy. With the bracket mounted to your phone, the lenses simply screw into the frame.
Lens options include a Zeiss Muta 0.6x Asph T* Wide-Angle, the Zeiss Vario-Proxar 40-80 T* macro-zoom and a Zeiss Mutar™ 2.0x Asph T* lenses. Build quality for both the bracket and lenses is outstanding, and optical performance is superb.
There’s currently no option for the iPhone 8 or iPhone X; however we suspect we’ll see one before too long.
Olloclip Filmer’s Kit
The Olloclip Filmer’s Kit enables you to elevate the potential filmmaking on your iPhone by equipping it with a variety of specialist lenses. With the kit you get a Telephoto, Ultra-Wide, Super-Wide and Fish-Eye / Macro 15x.
Each lens is an individual module with a lens cap and spring-loaded clip that enables it to be loaded into the Olloclip System. The lenses attach to the clip system that in turn fits snugly over the existing iPhone lens.
The Lens Clip system is double sided so that a lens can be mounted in each direction. When you want to swap between the Telephoto and Super-Wide, for instance, all you need to do is flip the clip.
There’s also a GoPro adapter in the case, so if you want to remove the phone clamp from the grip, you can quickly swap it for the GoPro adapter and mount your action camera.
If you shoot video on your iPhone, then the Olloclip Filmer’s Kit is a worthwhile accessory.
The Shoulderpod S2 is an essential iPhone accessory for anyone who wants to shoot video on their smartphone. Its wooden handle connects to the G1 grip mount, which in turn can be stretched to fit any iPhone (or Android phone for that matter).
What’s more, you can detach the G1 grip from the handle and screw the Shoulderpod S2 directly to your tripod. You can also use it landscape or portrait format.
There are a lot of video mounts out there for smartphones, but what we like about the Shoulderpod is its beautiful and robust build quality at such a modest price tag. Plus, its modular design means you can add mics and light panels and other accessories you need to complete your rig.
DJI Osmo Mobile 2
The DJI Osmo Mobile 2 is a motorised gimbal that is specifically designed for use with mobile phones for capturing shake-free video and stills. It works in tandem with the DJI Go app, which facilitates the connection between the phone and gimbal, allowing you to use the controls on the gimbal to stop and start recording. The app also provides some simple editing tools and helps with sharing the footage.
The secret to the Oslo Mobile 2’s stabilisation capability is the three-axis gimbal technology with built-in sensors and brushless motors that automatically compensate for movement around three pivot-points.
A USB port has also been provided and if you need to, you can use the Osmo Mobile 2 battery, which normally has a 15-hour life, to charge your phone. It’s worth noting here that as the charging port is covered during use, you can’t power your phone while it’s mounted in the Osmo Mobile 2.
At the base of the Osmo Mobile 2, there’s a 1/4-inch screw mount so you can attach it to your tripod if you like. DJI also offers an optional holder which is handy if you want to stand the unit on a desk or table for filming.
The Osmo Mobile 2 doesn’t just hold your smartphone, it can connect to it via Bluetooth, enabling you to zoom or stop and start recording using the controls on the gimbal.
At £129.95/$129.95 the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 is an excellent purchase for anyone looking to improve their smartphone video or dip their toe into vlogging. Honestly, this is one of our favourite accessories of the year for any type of camera.
Manfrotto Twistgrip System
Price: From £35
Manfrotto’s Twistgrip is a simple but beautifully crafted device designed to enable you to tripod-mount your iPhone. Essentially, the system enables you to transform your iPhone into a video rig, and unlike other systems out there it’s ultra-compact.
The system consists of the Twistgrip, which is basically a clamp that adjusts to the size of your phone, and a Handle (with hand strap) and an Accessory Bar. At the top of the handle is a standard 1/4-inch screw so it can be bolted directly to the base of the Twistgrip or if you like an action camera or another compact camera. Meanwhile, a 1/4-inch thread on the base allows other accessories to be bolted on if needed.
But it’s the addition of the accessories bar that enables you to really start taking iPhone videography more seriously. With its various screw mounts you can add a light and the support of a decent microphone. Do this and you’ll notice a huge difference to your videos.
The Twistgrip might not have the stabilisation of the DJI Osmo Mobile 2, but it is less than half the price yet still enables you a great deal of control over your filming.
Sandmarc lenses for iPhone
Price: from $69.99
Sandmarc makes lenses and filters for GoPro and DJI gear, but it also makes a fine range of iPhone lenses that are quickly becoming our favourites. The range is compatible with the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X.
The Sandmarc macro lens for iPhone is the cheapest of the bunch at $69.99. The fisheye lens is priced $79.99 and offers 5x wider capture, Sandmarc says.
The wide lens offers 2x wider capture and is priced $89.99. Alternatively, you can buy all three of the Sandmarc lenses for iPhone for $189.99.
Each lens comes with what Sandmarc says is the world’s thinnest lens case mount, or you can use it with a clip mount if you don’t have a case or wish to use your own.
We’ve been shooting with these for a few months now and find the optical quality superb.