It doesn’t take much to realize that more and more people are coming to rely on their smartphones as their “daily driver” cameras these days, taking way more pictures with their iPhones and Androids than they do with a point-and-shoot. Given the rapid increase in image quality and the pervasiveness of smartphones, it’s not at all surprising that there are several iPhone camera accessories that aim to supplement and boost your iPicture-taking capabilities.
We’ve previously discussed a number of iPhone photo filter apps, but this time around we’re looking at actual hardware that you can attach to your iPhone. Just as you can buy new lenses, filters, tripods, and all sorts of other accessories for your full-fledged SLR and other “real” cameras, the same is becoming true for the Apple iPhone too. Here are twelve such examples in no particular order.
Shown at the top there’s a product called the Olloclip. It’s a single attachment that effectively gives you three different camera lenses: fisheye, wide angle, and macro. By using these different lenses, you can take entirely different pictures, including the 180-degree field of vision offered by the fisheye and up to 12mm close-up focus of the macro. Pick up an Olloclip for about $70.
It can be hard to grip and hold your iPhone steady, especially if you want to tack on a bunch of iPhone camera accessories. For that, it may be worth investing in an OWLE Bubo. This is a mount and grip for the iPhone that lets you use interchangeable lenses, as well as providing you with a microphone and tripod mount points. It’s not exactly cheap at $160, though.
Have you ever wanted to take a 360-degree panorama? What about a 360-degree fully interactive video? You can do that with the Kogeto Dot, used in tandem with the accompanying free app for the App Store. The lens easily snaps onto the back of your iPhone and then you can share your “dotspots” online for free. The Kogeto Dot sells for $80.
Doing a similar kind of thing as the Kogeto Dot but in an entirely different way is the GoPano Micro. It also lets you shoot interactive 360-degree videos, but it does so with curved mirrors and almost a periscope-like form factor. It, too, is $80.
Continuing with the 360-degree video tilt, we have the Bubblescope. Created “because the world isn’t flat,” this is also a panoramic lens that clips to the back of your iPhone. Unlike the conical periscope of the GoPano Micro, though, the Bubblescope has a ball at the top to do its 360 degrees of photographic and videographic work. The version for the iPhone 4/4S is on preorder for GBP 69.99.
USBfever 6X Telescope
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get some creative iPhone camera accessories. Case in point is this 6x “telescope” from USB Fever. It’s effectively a telephoto lens attached to a crystal clear case and it’s compatible with the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, though there’s a version of the 3G/3GS too. Get 6x optical zoom for just $15.99.
If you have shaky hands like I do, then you’re probably just as frustrated with the shaky videos that typically result from shooting with a smartphone. Tiffen is a well-established brand in the professional sphere with its Steadicam range of products, but they also have a smaller version called the Steadicam Smoothee for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. It uses the same fundamental technology as its larger and more expensive cousins, but brought down to the iPhone’s scale for about $150. Get super silky shots no matter how much you move.
Fisheye Pro Lens
The great thing about the Fisheye Pro Lens from Firebox is that it’s not only compatible with the iPhone, it will also work with just about any other mobile device with a camera like a Nokia, Samsung, BlackBerry, HTC, or LG. This is a magnetic lens that snaps on and off easily, giving you a dynamic fisheye effect at a moment’s notice. It sells for GBP 28.99.
Glif by Studio Neat
There are several little things that are missing from the iPhone, like expandable memory, but from the context of taking pictures and videos, it needs a proper tripod mount. The Glif by Studio Neat may be one of the simplest iPhone camera accessories on this list, but it’s arguably the most useful. Basically, it’s a simple case that provides you with a standard tripod mount. It can also be used on its own to more easily balance your iPhone for hands-free propping. Best of all, the Glif is only $20.
Joby GorillaMobile for iPhone
Maybe you don’t need a traditional tripod mount and you just want a way to keep your iPhone planted for a photo or video. For that, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something better than the Joby GorillaMobile. A part of the Gorillapod family of products, this is a tripod with three bendable, flexible legs that can be used to wrap around just about anything. The GorillaMobile for iPhone retails for $30.
iFlash iPhone Camera Accessories
Need a light? The iFlash attaches to the dock connector on the bottom of your iPhone, iPod, or iPad, giving you a powerful LED light that be help illuminate a dim situation. This lets you take better pictures in the dark, especially if you have an older iPhone that lacks an LED flash. Pick it up for $13.
Sometimes, you just want to take clearer pictures, but you still want to provide suitable protection for your iDevice. This isn’t one of the fancier iPhone camera accessories, but it can get the job done. It’s called the Clarifi case from Griffin and, in addition to being a protective case for your iPhone 3G/3GS, it also has a built-in lens for clearer close-up pictures. It once retailed for $34.99, but it has since been slashed down to just $9.99.
Image credit: olloclip.com