The gadgets you need to take better travel photos with your smartphone
Holidays and trips are all about sharing. Sharing experiences, sharing moments and, of course, sharing photos with the folks back home. Snap away on a DSLR or compact camera, however, and you’ll likely do nothing with your photos until you get home. By sprucing-up a smartphone with these clever add-on lenses and accessories you can not only share your travels easily on social media, but you can get much closer to producing professional-looking results.
A small and thoroughly portable 23g anodized aluminium lens clip that slides onto the corner of an iPhone 5/5S to instantly upgrade its optics, Olloclip is easily stowed in a shirt pocket for quick retrieval. In one orientation it gives an angle twice the width of the iPhone’s built-in camera while the other offers a fisheye effect (for a 180° field-of-view). A twist of each of those lenses creates two useful macro modes for extreme close-ups from 12mm and 18mm respectively.
This portable gadget lets you instantly upgrade by adding a fixed telephoto lens with 12x the zoom. As a bonus, each iPhone Telephoto Lens comes with a collapsible table tripod for steadying and focussing pictures better, which is critical if you’re planning to take snaps in low-light.
Welcome to digiscoping, smartphone style. Acting as a bridge between a pair of binoculars and an iPhone 5 or 5S, Swarovski Optik’s PA-i5 adaptor is connected to an eyepiece cup using an adapter ring. However, the PA-i5 on its own also acts as a low-profile protective case for an iPhone – perfect for the rigours of travel.
A great add-on for those heading out on safari or for bird-watching, the PA-i5 does require you to already have a pair of Swarovski Optik binoculars.
An attachable lens-style camera, this is an attempt to make either a smartphone or – uniquely – a tablet into a top quality camera. With Wi-Fi and easy pairing with any Android device via NFC one-touch, the DSC-QX100 offers a 20-megapixel images from an Exmor R CMOS sensor and an F1.8 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens, which boasts a much wider aperture than any smartphone can.
Aim for more than a simple panoramic with the Cameralapse, a portable rotating stand that helps you take pro-quality 360° and shareable timelapse videos. Taking 15 minutes to rotate 90° so a full hour to complete a 360° video, Camalapse attaches to any smartphone or compact camera using a small clamp tripod mount.
This very special effect lens kit slips onto the top side of an iPhone 5/5S to give you than nine different special effects and filters. As well as Dual, Triple and Quadruple Image Lens that produce multiple identical images, there’s a 60mm macro lens for taking close-ups, and an empty space for taking effect-less shots.
Connected and synced to any smartphone or tablet via the 3.5mm headphones slot, the iblazr has a built-in rechargeable 110 mAh lithium-ion battery that charges via USB. It produces around a thousand flashes per charge from four LEDs. It weighs just 10g.
If you’re using your smartphone like a camera, why not transform it into one? That’s the thinking behind the Focal, which clips on to an iPhone 5/5S and adds zoom and shutter buttons as well as a programmable button. The latter creates a customised control, while the case itself has cut-outs for the camera and flash openings, and a lanyard attached for hooking it to a wrist for much needed safety.
Working just like a pair of spectacles, the three lenses that make-up the iPro kit offer travel-friendly, clip-on, professional-grade optics. Each one twists on and off the corner of the device housing the built-in camera, thus upgrading the optics, but also protecting the phone’s camera itself. The .45x wide angle lens is great for landscapes and group shots.
A hand-held stabiliser that’s available for the iPhone 5S and the GoPro Hero 3 action camera, it’s designed to lend a professional-grade smoothness to all kinds of video. Ideal for serious amateur filmmakers after smooth tracking shots, the Steadicam Smoothee provides a balanced rig and uses a handle with plenty of grip.