One of the more popular lens options for smartphone photographers is Photojojo’s magnetic lens kit. Consisting of Fisheye, Super Fisheye, Telephoto, Wide Angle, Macro and Polarizing cell phone lenses at an affordable price, it’s an attractive option. Find out how it performs in our Photojojo magnetic lens review.
Thanks to camera phones, we now live in an age where missing that perfect photo or video opportunity is hardly an issue. Most of us couldn’t be happier with the performance and convenience our smartphone cameras provide.
However, if you’re a prolific smartphone photographer, you’ve probably been frustrated on more than one occasion when trying to take a close-up or fit more scenery into frame. If the fixed focal length of your smartphone camera has got you down, fret not.
The market is thick with lens kits for your smartphone camera, and we’ve taken the time to test out one of the more popular options, the Photojojo wide-angle/macro phone lens.
Photojojo magnetic lens Individual Options
Most smartphone lens kits, such as the Camkix 3-in-1 or the Aukey Optic lens kit, come equipped with three different lenses: a fisheye lens, a wide- angle lens, and a macro lens.
This may seem like a well-rounded assortment, but the fact is that you’ll probably find more occasions to use the wide-angle and macro lenses than you will the fisheye.
Most smartphone photographers are looking to get closer shots of flowers or fit more family or landscape into frame than they are trying to distort images with a fisheye effect.
Plus, there are several free apps available that will apply a fisheye effect to your images for you without having to pay for an extra lens.
Photojojo stands out in this respect by giving you the option to purchase their lenses individually. They run just $20 each, with the wide-angle/macro lens providing the biggest bang for your buck as a detachable combo for the same price.
SEE MORE: Amir lens review for iPhone
Photojojo magnetic lens: Weak Mounting System
While most smartphone lens kits mount to the phone by means of a clip or a threaded phone case, Photojojo’s lenses are magnetic and mount via a small adhesive metal ring that fits over your phone’s lens (along with an adhesive strip if you’re using an iPhone).
According to the manufacturer, this mounting system allows the lenses to be fit to any phone with a camera on it. This seems like a uniquely strong selling point, but alternative mounting systems such as clip-ons offer nearly the same universality.
Attaching an adhesive ring sounds simple enough, but we found that they can actually be a bit cumbersome to apply, requiring you to press down on them for a full minute prior to waiting another 30 minutes before use.
Even after this waiting period the rings are prone to falling off. Considering that the lens comes with a limited number of rings (ours came with five), this could be an issue if you’re not particularly careful.
Photojojo also claims that their magnetic system works with or without a case, however we tried attaching the lens over both a thick, hard bumper case and a thin, soft silicone case and they wouldn’t adhere. Furthermore, when we took the cases on and off the metal ring would shift quite a bit.
If you can manage to get the ring stuck to the phone and centered over the phone’s lens, you can pop on the wide-angle and macro lenses rather quickly which gives you a better chance of catching that perfect photo opp before it disappears.
Unfortunately, this is about the only positive aspect of Photojojo’s magnetic system. In addition to the tricky metal rings, we also discovered the lenses easily become dislodge when lightly bumped, meaning you have to be particularly careful when shooting.
Put simply, while the concept of magnetic smartphone lenses is rather intuitive when you consider potential benefits such as a quicker mounting process and a slightly more universal fit, Photojojo misses the mark with their rather flimsy and unpredictable adhesive ring system. The set-up is awkward and the mount lacks the stability you would expect from a $20 smartphone lens.
Photojojo magnetic lens: Macro Outshines Wide-Angle
At just 0.67X magnification the Photojojo wide-angle lens doesn’t provide nearly as short a focal length (and therefore not as wide an angle) as some of its comparatively-priced rivals. Nevertheless, it still allows you to fit a significantly larger scene into frame than the standard smartphone camera.
The image quality, however, is not that great. While we were impressed with the level of detail in our images, we couldn’t avoid cropped corners. Even with careful positioning of the lens and magnetic ring, our photos still ended up with dark, blurry edges.
The Photojojo macro lens, on the other hand, performed much better. While it’s only offers 10X magnification, it makes up for this with incredibly sharp images.
Similarly priced lenses may offer greater magnification, but their shallow depths of field can’t compare to the remarkably large area of focus offered by the Photojojo lens.
It also boasts a 1-inch focal distance, which is a little over two-and-a-half times most lenses in its class. This means you don’t have to get as close to your subject to capture sharp images, which is particularly useful if you’re shooting insects or other creatures that may be easily spooked by an encroaching lens.
Photojojo magnetic lens Web Support
One key to success with these lenses is visiting Photojojo’s website. While you can purchase their lenses on Amazon, their fun website provides much more in the way of product specs, sample photos, and even a FAQ page, which was particularly handy when it came to figuring out what the magnetic iPhone strips were for.
The site also features a Contact section where you can ask questions about products, purchasing, advertising, etc. We reached out to them twice with questions and received answers back with a couple of hours.
Photojojo magnetic lens Verdict
Taken as a whole, the Photojojo wide-angle/macro lens is a mediocre choice for the money. Its inferior mounting system and cropped wide-angle shots leave much to be desired.
However, if you’re just looking for a macro lens, the Photojojo 10X performs so well that it alone can justify the $20 price tag. It might even make you forget about the poor mounting system.
You can find a solid mounting system with decent wide-angle and macro lenses in the newly updated Amir 3-in-1 lens kit. It features a sturdy clip-on mount and includes a super wide 0.4X wide-angle lens and a 25X macro lens all for the same $20 price as one Photojojo lens.