- 5 lens
- Slight chromatic aberration on some lenses
- Lower quality images than top-end clip on lens kits
Looking for a nifty, portable little kit to improve your photography without breaking the bank?
The CamKix 5-in-1 lens kit has lenses to cover every type of photo you want to take: macro, landscapes, portraits, funky... you get the picture (pun intended).
Every lens in the kit screws into a clip that attaches firmly to your phone like a peg. This style of attachment means that the kit will work with any smartphone (Android, iOS, Windows, etc.) although you may have to remove extremely bulky protective cases (such as the OtterBox) to get the clip to contact properly with the phone's camera.
All of this comes at a great price point. The caveat is that a few of the lenses have minor chromatic issues. These problems are common in smartphone lenses, but are less obvious in higher-end lenses such as the AUKEY Wide-angle + Macro lens kit.
Fish-eye lenses are always great fun to play with, and the CamKix lens is no exception. Clip this lens on to your phone and you'll boost the field of view to over 110° and get that characteristic Go-Pro/security camera effect.
Unfortunately, you'll probably find that the edges of the photos are a little blurry because of the way this lens bends light, and that there is some vignetting (dark shadows) in the corners. However, these are common problems with these types of lenses, and occur because the lenses are so small and because the phone's camera is not designed to accept lenses.
You can get rid of this type of vignetting by zooming in digitally, so that the final image is only based on the central, undistorted part of the sensor.
Macro and wide-angle lenses
As with all the CamKix lens kits, the macro and wide-angle lenses are part of 2-part set. The macro lens screws directly into the clip, and the wide-angle lens then screws into the macro.
The macro is hands down the best lens in this kit (another common feature of CamKix kits). As the name suggests, it will magnify small objects, allowing you to take very detailed close-ups (the total size of the picture in real life will be about 2 cm/1 inch). The focal distance is very short when using this lens, so you will need to hold the camera very close.
Circular polarized lens
What is does a polarized lens do?
Without getting into too much science, light waves vibrate in different directions. A polarized lens will remove light vibrating in a particular direction (just like polarized sunglasses).
When light is reflected (i.e. from a shiny surface, or from water) it vibrates in just one direction. Polarized lens thus allow the photographer to get rid of these pesky reflections. It can also increase saturation of the remaining colors.
The polarizer in this lens rotates, allowing you to adjust it to whatever angle the reflected light is vibrating at.
The lens will have no effect on magnification or field of view. And because it doesn't distort the image in these ways, the picture will be beautifully sharp (assuming that the camera on your phone is any good).
2x Telephoto lens
It's a bit of a stretch to call this lens a telephoto, but it will magnify your subject. Just not very much.
One can't blame CamKix too much for this: telephotos with a greater magnification are pretty heavy, and are not suited to the clip-on attachment used in this kit. If you need more zoom, Leeko manufacture a reasonably priced 8x telephoto with a universal mount that should fit most smartphones.
On the plus side, the minimal magnification of this lens results it little image distortion, and a clean sharp image.
Each of the lenses in this kit screw into the light clip. The screw connection is well designed and easy to use. The lenses won't get jammed and it's easy to switch between them.
You then position the clip over the camera lens on the back of the phone. The clip will need to seal around the camera (it has a rubber pad) and you may find that some phone cases inhibit this.
The kit also comes with a useful zippered carrying case that will protect the lenses and fit comfortably into a pocket.
The beauty of this kit is that it will work with any smartphone.
If you would prefer a more robust way of attaching lenses to your phone, CamKix make kits for different models of phone including the iPhone 5/5s, the iPhone 6/6S, and several Android phones.