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  1. #1
    Registered User DownEaster's Avatar
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    Question Zoom lens attachment for cell phone camera?

    Cell phone cameras are surprisingly good these days. You can also get small macro lenses to facilitate close-up work, and even microscope lenses. However, I'm interested in long-distance views from high points, and there I've been disappointed in what's available. Seemingly there's an endless selection of fixed 12X telephoto attachments with bulky clips, and a few other fixed magnifications, but no actual zoom lenses.

    Am I missing something, or is this just too hard a problem to solve?

  2. #2
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    Not too hard a problem to solve, just a lousy solution for most cell phone type situtions. A fix focal length lens is less expensive, smaller, lighter, and has much better optics. You would be much better off with a couple different fixed focal length lenses than a zoom in most cases where you are using your phone.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  3. #3

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    I suppose if you can't find any zoom lens for cell phones, there is no demand or it's too hard and therefore expensive to do.

    I'm more interested in doing panoramas from high points then trying to zoom in on something on the horizon. Zoom would be more handy for taking pictures of wild life from a distance. For that, maybe the X12 fixed telephoto would work. If you can get it in place in time before the critter runs away.
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    I actually use a telephoto lens on my phone a fair bit. Being pretty wide angle to start with (most are equivalent to about a 30 mm lens), cell phone lensing sucks for capturing distant details even for many landscapes. What I find the telephoto is great for is bringing in the details of scenery or not-so distant animals or other features.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  5. #5
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    There is the Sony ILCE-QX1 SmartShot that claims to bridge the gap between a smartphone camera and an SLR.
    Seems to get mixed reviews, but might fit for your need.

  6. #6

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    Consider this: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Olympus-SP-...sAAOSw4DJYm4qs For 14 ounces and very little money you get a real camera with an excellent lens. Cell phone cameras do some things very well, but have serious limitations.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  7. #7

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    I bought one of those 12X "clip on your phone" red and black telephoto thingys that you see advertised a lot lately.
    I would NOT recommend it.
    Not a sharp picture and no where near the zoom capabilities that the ads show.
    Used it one day.
    Sits in a drawer.
    Should have known better, as it was only $12 or something.
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

  8. #8

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    After reading this thread it propmted me to go look at cameras, i am amazed at the deals on old “top of the line” SLR’s...Cool. You cam buy what was once a $700 dollar camera for about $50-100 Bucks.

  9. #9

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    If you have the Motorola Z Play, you can attach various mods to your cell phone, including a battery pack and this optical zoom lens. https://www.motorola.com/us/products...blad-true-zoom
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  10. #10
    Registered User BuckeyeBill's Avatar
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    I used a Kodak Pocket Instamatic 110 camera when I hiked in the Grand Canyon Back in the late 70's. No special lens and I had three people request larger size copies of a few pictures turned poster size for their offices.
    After getting the blowups and matted and framed. I profited a nice chunk of change $$$$ in the 4 digit range, which half went into the college fund and the other half into my hiking fund for my next little adventure.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by DownEaster View Post
    Cell phone cameras are surprisingly good these days. You can also get small macro lenses to facilitate close-up work, and even microscope lenses. However, I'm interested in long-distance views from high points, and there I've been disappointed in what's available. Seemingly there's an endless selection of fixed 12X telephoto attachments with bulky clips, and a few other fixed magnifications, but no actual zoom lenses.

    Am I missing something, or is this just too hard a problem to solve?
    A welcomed thread topic. My issue too despite choosing a smart phone for its highly rated and supposedly very able camera intending to leave a higher end heavier much more more expensive camera at home more often.

    Oh wait. A new smart phone came on the market with a better camera. Guess I'll have to go buy that now? :rolleyes
    Guess the older smart phone wasn't as smart as advertised?

    Back on the electronics merry go round. Where she stops nobody knows. What I do know is my wallet keeps getting lighter and the financing for another adventure has been spent on something else other than a hike.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by BuckeyeBill View Post
    I used a Kodak Pocket Instamatic 110 camera when I hiked in the Grand Canyon Back in the late 70's. No special lens and I had three people request larger size copies of a few pictures turned poster size for their offices.
    After getting the blowups and matted and framed. I profited a nice chunk of change $$$$ in the 4 digit range, which half went into the college fund and the other half into my hiking fund for my next little adventure.
    Subject matter and dusk/dawn light can offten make up for inferior equiptment..not that the 110 was inferior.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by BuckeyeBill View Post
    I used a Kodak Pocket Instamatic 110 camera when I hiked in the Grand Canyon Back in the late 70's. No special lens and I had three people request larger size copies of a few pictures turned poster size for their offices. After getting the blowups and matted and framed. I profited a nice chunk of change $$$$ in the 4 digit range, which half went into the college fund and the other half into my hiking fund for my next little adventure.
    Unable to resist responding to a necrothread, but I call bull****. I owned one of those cameras, and the film size alone made them crap.

  14. #14
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    Sometimes, the overall quality of the content in the pic - the subject matter - can outshine other things that define a quality shot.

  15. #15
    Registered User BuckeyeBill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllDownhillFromHere View Post
    Unable to resist responding to a necrothread, but I call bull****. I owned one of those cameras, and the film size alone made them crap.
    Call it whatever you want, those pictures put money in my pocket.
    Blackheart

  16. #16
    Registered User DownEaster's Avatar
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    Well, I pulled the trigger on a fixed 8X clamp-on lens, which (at least in the pictures) seems less ungainly than the many 12X offerings. I'll give it a try when it arrives. For $5.90 (shipped) it's a low-risk experiment.

  17. #17
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    At $5.90 shipped how good will be the quality of the item or the pics? Sounds like something out of a cracker jack box? Maybe I'm wrong?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by nsherry61 View Post
    Not too hard a problem to solve, just a lousy solution for most cell phone type situtions. A fix focal length lens is less expensive, smaller, lighter, and has much better optics. You would be much better off with a couple different fixed focal length lenses than a zoom in most cases where you are using your phone.
    This sounds like a PITA. More crap and complexity to make a smart phone camera take long range clear pics which it isn't designed.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    This sounds like a PITA. More crap and complexity to make a smartphone camera take long range clear pics which it isn't designed.
    Some trials yesterday with a fixed telephoto lens on iPhone 7+. A solid tripod is essential! Very difficult to focus as shows in the test images

    Goldfinch in winter plumage taken through window from about 5 metres using 2x telephoto lens of iPhone 7+ with clip-on telephoto. Note extreme shallowness of depth of field. A useable image when cropped.

    Several trials against brick wall from about 4 metres. Note extreme distortion away from small central zone of focus. 2x + telephoto // normal + clip-on telephoto // 2x // normal

    Very significant loss of light using telephoto, equivalent to 4+ stops at full extension!

    I carry the lens and very small tripod, and use it very sparingly only when desired object can be isolated within a cluttered background that benefits from shallow depth of field and lots of peripheral blurring.


  20. #20
    Registered User DownEaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    At $5.90 shipped how good will be the quality of the item or the pics? Sounds like something out of a cracker jack box? Maybe I'm wrong?
    With the 12X fixed lenses running about $9 each, this seems in line. The biggest user review issue with the 12X lenses has been that you'd get cropping at the periphery unless you meticulously centered the clamp-on lens over the cell phone camera. I hope an 8X lens might be a bit more forgiving. I've got an 8X monocular that I've enjoyed using to view the scenery from high points, so 8X is probably enough magnification to satisfy my panoramic photo desires.

    The cell phone market is huge, so the cell phone add-on market is also large. Most optics these days get cranked out by machines instead of requiring the precision crafting of yesteryear. Economies of scale do the rest to bring the prices down.

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