Can snap-on lenses improve your smart phone holiday snaps?

Photo of Mogens Johansen

Our expert travel photographer reviews the SnapLens Pro series of smart phone lenses. 

It seems many people’s favourite camera these days is their smart phone. I enjoy the convenience, too, but I’m often frustrated by the limitations of the tiny built-in lenses.

Despite improvements in lenses and sensor size in many of the latest smart phone cameras, they still struggle to compete with a good old-fashioned compact camera. 

Most compact cameras will outperform a smart phone camera in several areas. The lens quality and zoom range is one obvious difference, but they also offer a greater range of controls and shooting modes. Smart phones typically rely on digital zoom rather than optical zoom. With digital zoom, the image quality gets poorer and poorer as you zoom in. There is no loss of image quality with optical zoom.

SnapLens has just released a new series of lenses that add a lot more scope to your smart phone camera. The SnapLens Pro range consists of a telephoto, a wide angle and a macro lens. As the name suggests, they simply snap onto the lens of your phone. 

I gave the range a test run on my iPhone and found they produced very acceptable results. The lenses are easy to attach, but it is equally easy to knock or move them slightly off the phone’s camera lens while using them. 

There is no argument that they are a very welcome addition to your smart phone, if that's your go-to camera. The 2x telephoto lens is great for portraits, the wide-angle lens is perfect for landscapes and group selfies, and the macro lens allows you to get extreme close-up shots.

Call me old fashioned – I still prefer a proper compact camera. They are generally about the size of a smart phone, are not expensive, have more control options and better built-in optical zoom lenses, and they generally have built-in wi-fi and Bluetooth so it is easy to transfer and share images via your smart phone. 

Fact File


SnapLens lent the SnapLens Pro set to Mogens Johansen.