If you’re into mobile photography then you know all to well that a smartphones camera, although good is quite limited. That’s where products like the Aukey 2 in 1 lens come in. But is this variant any good?
In the box you get
The lens – This is a 2 in 1 style with a macro lens and wide angle add-on.
You also get
- 2 lens covers to keep dust off and to prevent damage
- A phone clip
- Carry pouch
- Cleaning cloth
Design and build
This is a mixed bag. The design is fairly simple as you’d expect from a lens like this. It comes in three parts. First you have the clip that attaches to your phone. This is made from plastic but it actually feels pretty well put together. On the inside there are small rubber sections to prevent any damage to your phone and these work well. The grabbing mechanism is a simple spring and it applies a decent amount of force. The downside of this is that on glass backed phone like my Mi5 it was a bit slippery and moved around quite easily.
The lens itself is made from a combination of glass, metal and plastic and again is good and bad. The metal section is solid and well made. The plastic is used for the thread, so it will wear overtime, but how long I couldn’t say. The glass is both a surprise and a problem. Seeing glass at the low price is good as it produces a better image than plastic, but the downside is that it shifts around in the lens and is a bit concerning. Whether it will break, its hard to tell, but its something I thought ought to be mentioned.
Also the lens is big and I mean big. Usually lenses of this style are quite compact but this one is quite large. Below is picture to give you a rough idea of scale. You can see just how large it is compared to a 50p and even next to a compact speaker. You can also see how far it sticks out from the side of your phone. So its definitely not a compact solution.
Overall for under £20 its nicely designed, well made but a bit on the big side.
Its very easy to use, you simply screw the macro lens to the clip and take photos. If you want to use the wide angle then you add that bit to the macro lens. Its very straight forward. Using it on your phone has its issues. Its quite heavy weighing in at 97g (with the wide angle) and 40g with just the macro lens. So its not exactly lightweight, especially if you are holding it and trying to the perfect wide angle shot of a landscape. You have to compensate for the extra weight which does take some getting used to as finding the perfect balance is tricky. Also if you have a glass backed phone its quite slippery, so keep that in mind during use as well. I almost had a few mishaps with my Xiaomi Mi5 whilst out capturing photos. A plastic backed phone or one with a grippy case should be okay, but glass or metal will likely cause a few issues. On the plus side the addition of the pouch and covers is nice as you can take it off and store it safely away, so it should last a long time.
All the photos below where shot with the Xiaomi Mi5 and the quality produced by the lens is good. I’ll start with the macro first and I am highly impressed with how close you can actually get to your subject. Below you can see some samples of the lens and some without and you really can get some impressive macro shots. I was able to get extremely close and capture some good detail.
I then tried repeating this with my phone at the same distance and it was a bit of a blurry mess. The camera would not lock focus that close up. It was only when I moved it away that it actually obtained focus.
The wide angle lens is decent. It gives you 140° to work with and if you compare to a phones average of around 71°. The LG G6 comes close with its secondary lens giving you 125°, but having the extra is better, right?
Well it does capture a lot more of the image, I’ll give it that. Below again are samples of both the phones camera and with lens and you can see that there is a lot more in the picture, that being said it is almost double the width. So for landscapes, tighter spaces and larger subjects its much better than the traditional offering from your average phone.
But now we get onto the problem. There is a fair amount of barrel distortion at the edges, so if your subject takes up the entire frame then there will be a slight inward curve to the edges. Its no-where near as noticeable as a full blown fish-eye lens but you can easily see it if you’re looking for it. On the plus side you can always crop in a small amount to cut of the edges or use Photoshop to correct the image. So if you keep this in mind in advance you can easily work around it. Also to note that its more noticeable for certain subjects, especially if they have anything verticle at the edge. See the sample below.
For £18.99 I’m quite impressed, the image quality produced for the macro is good and if you can get past the slight distortion of the wide angle and size of the kit, its okay. If it were a little more compact, lightweight then it would score higher. But as it is, its too big, too heavy and they’re are too many alternatives to choose from, which makes it tough to recommend. If I were to offer some feedback, I’d suggest using a lighter plastic body or less dense metal to bring down the weight and try reduce the overall size of it. Then it would have been easier to use and less cumbersome. But as is, its good but too compromised.
Get one here: www.amazon.co.uk/aukey-2-in-1