Turn your Phone into a DSLR – How to use a Wide Angle Lens on an iPhone

Turn your Phone into a DSLR – How to use a Wide Angle Lens on an iPhone

floating iPhone XS with Sandmarc Wide Angle Lens

You love taking pictures with your phone, but the built in lenses don’t give you the creative flexibility you are craving? This tutorial is showing you how you can achieve the versatility of a DSLR with the help of interchangeable phone lenses. I’m showing you how to use the Sandmarc Wide Angle Lens on an iPhone XS. If there’s no pic it never happened so I’m also showing you my results. If you want to up your Mobile Photography game, this is the Phone Accessory you’ve been looking for. All the photos featured in this post were taken with the Sandmarc Wide Angle Lens on the iPhone XS.

A Lens is just a Lens isn’t it?

A few weeks back Sandmarc reached out to me whether I’d be interested in testing their Wide Angle iPhone Camera Lens. To be honest I’ve been intrigued by such accessories for a while now, but the poor product quality of most manufacturers did hold me back. You may wonder “Isn’t a lens just a bunch of glass elements?”. We are talking about optics here so you have to know what you are doing. If you take a 4.000€ Full Frame Camera and put cheap glass in front it you’ll probably end up with decent photo. Now take a entry level DSLR with a high quality lens you’ll get a beautiful shot. The same applies to mobile phones. Fortunately Sandmarc already proved their capabilities with their Drone Filters.

The all inclusive package

Manufactures with mediocre gear often try win you over by throwing in all kinds of accessories in order to make their product more appealing to you. With Sandmarc’s Wide Angle Lens that’s not the case. You are not only getting all the helpful accessories, you are also getting a top notch thought through product. All Sandmarc Lenses come in a little bag, with one cleaning cloth, one Lens Clip and a Phone Specific Mobile Case. So when you place your order make sure to select the right version of your set. The addition of a phone case is unique, cause with most other brands you first need to buy a separate case that’ll fit your new camera lens.

How does Sandmarc’s Wide Angle Lens hold up in the Real World?

When I unboxed Sandmarc’s Wide Angle Lens I was quite surprised with the high build quality and it’s weight. You can observe the high performance of the lens in every single photo and video I took with my iPhone XS. I weren’t able to spot any kind of additional distortions, color fringing or chromatic aberration aside from the ones the iPhone already has. The Sandmarc Wide Angle Lens performs especially well in the corners. There is almost no drop in sharpness and the distortion is slim to none. It was even holding up it’s performance when I was taking long exposure shots.

Sandmarc Wide Angle Lens Example 1
Sandmarc Wide Angle Lens Example 1

What’s the best way to use the Wide Angle lens on your iPhone.

I had the opportunity of testing Sandmarc’s iPhone Lens under multiple circumstances. If you don’t like Phone cases the Lens Clip Sandmarc is including will be helpful. You can use it on the iPhone Camera in the back and also on the Selfie Camera in the front. But there’s a catch. The moment there is too much motion involved in your capturing process, the footage will start to have lots of distortions. This is understandable, since the clip cant put up enough force to counter your movement. In situations where you plan to move around a lot, I’d recommend you use the Phone Case that comes with your Sandmarc Lens. The lens mount in the case is made out of metal. This is reducing the tear and ware over time and is ensuring a secure mount on your mobile phone.

Did you say 16mm?

Sandmarc states that their Wide Angle Lens has a focal length of about 16mm. True the Lens is giving you in combination with the iPhone XS a much wider field of view. To me it didn’t feel like 16mm so i double checked it. I took the reference shot below with a Canon 16-35mm f2.8 at 16mm on an Canon EOS R. The shot I’ve taken with the iPhone doesn’t have the same field of view. I’m not entirely sure what’s going on there. The Wide Angle Lens to me seems more like a 18-20mm ish lens. Nevertheless the additional field of view is still giving me so much more creative freedom that the lens is now accompanying me everywhere.

Comparing the FOV between a Canon EOS-R and Sandmarc Wide Angle Lens
16mm FOV Comparison EOS-R vs. Sandmarc Wide Angle Lens with iPhone XS

There’s one more thing

Having a real Camera Lens in front of your iPhone Camera has another benefit. It enables you to create amazing looking lens flares. The iPhone Lens can create lens flares too but they are rather shallow. With their help you can make your shots pop and give them some additional depth. This is also a reason why almost all of my example shots here are having lens flares in them.

Sandmarc Wide Angle Lens Example 2
Sandmarc Wide Angle Lens Example 2

Can a Mobile Phone replace a DSLR?

There are situation where you can’t or don’t want take your DSLR with you. In such instances having additional Lenses for your Mobile Phone is amazing. Always rember. The best camera is the one you are having with you. With that said, the Sandmarc Wide Angle lens has earned it’s spot in my pocket and I can’t wait to explore the mobile photography world even further. Go check it out here for yourself you’ll love it!


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