One of my recent posts was about gadgets that will help you improve your mobile photography. During the research for this post I had a hard time finding quality Android Lenses so I started digging further. I discovered multiple iPhone lens manufacturers, not those who make a 20$ kit with 5 lenses made in China, but high end lenses that provide great value at a price of 80$-100$ and even more per lens. But while iPhone lenses were easy to find, Android lenses were scarce. The main reason is the vast number of Android phone manufacturers, which end up in hundreds of different styles and models which force the mobile accessories makers create thousands of different models for every product, just so it fits every phone out there. iPhone takes only 3-4 different models…
At some point I encountered the original Samsung Galaxy Lens Cover Kit, which retails at $149 at the Samsung store and I decided to give it a try. If you own a Galaxy S7/ Edge (it might fit S6 as well) this article can be useful for you. I will not deep dive to quality comparison between lenses, this review is my own view of the product and it’s uses.
First thing I did was looking for better prices, as it seems a bit pricey, even though it’s an original Samsung product. I fount that the kit sells for $79-$99 on Amazon and you can also find it for only $59 + free shipping on Ebay, which is where I finally ordered from.
Some reviews on Amazon say it will fit Galaxy S6 series, but please make sure to learn more before ordering.
Who needs Mobile phone lenses anyway?
Well, I can honestly say that not everyone needs it. The Galaxy’s built in back camera is fantastic, and having such a good camera in such a small device (compared to a DSLR) gives you agility and ability to squeeze into tight spaces where no DSLR has gone before and that’s awesome, but as the mobile journalism field gets more and more traction, you sometimes wish you could take a better shot/ angle of a certain image or video. Being the Facebook Live enthusiast I am, its often impossible to get close enough or get all the subjects into the frame, and this is exactly where the Telephoto and Wide Angle lenses the kit offers come in handy.
Samsung Lens Cover Kit – what’s inside?
Inside the kit you get a Galaxy S7/ S7 Edge cover, 2 lenses (Wide angle and Telephoto) and 2 round boxes to store the lenses when not in use. As the name implies, its not just lenses, its also a phone cover. But unlike many phone covers, this one is a high quality one and fits great to my Galaxy S7 Edge. If you think you’ll buy the lenses but throw away the cover, think again. The cover is your way to attach the lenses to the phone, as they gently screw into the cover for a perfect fit. This method is very important and it’s basically the biggest advantage this kit has over other lens models out there, as they usually use a magnet or some sticking strip to connect on top of the camera, which will probably result in you sticking/ attaching in a not-perfect position which will result in black spots around the photos. I actually really like the cover and threw away my old one, it doesn’t make your phone bulky and ugly.
Your built in camera’s field of view is equivalent to a 26mm lens on a full frame DSLR, which is considered a wide angle to begin with, but when you connect the Telephoto lens, you get twice the range, meaning you have a 52mm lens on, which is considered one of the best ranges for portrait photography. However, don’t expect this lens to turn your phone into a pro camera.
The wide angle lens gives you a wider view than the one you already have (110 degrees) and it won’t turn your photos to fisheye. It’s a great solution to take close up shots and videos with many objects to fit into one frame. While the Telephoto lens gets most of the credit on Amazon’s reviews, I fount that the wide angle lens fits my needs way better.
A nice bonus is the 2 circular boxes to store the lenses, as it is really not recommended to keep the lenses connected while the phone is not used, it will either break or they will scratch. The 2 boxes can be connected to 1 bigger box. Great solution and very well made, in my opinion.
I took both lenses to a Seattle coffee expo my company exhibited in, and mainly used the wide angle lens, basically because I had no problem going close up to everything I wanted to shoot. The lens was stored in the dedicated box in the frond pocket of my jeans without looking bulky and embarrassing.
I found the overall kit to be a great return of investment, the price is low compared to other android lenses, the build quality is great and the overall experience is very positive for this useful kit. I recommend purchasing it if you are looking to upgrade your built in camera and/ or making your first steps in mobile photography/ journalism and looking to build your own photography kit.1