The Definitive Guide to iPhone Photography Gear.
Your iPhone is designed to be the perfect phone cam, no accessories required. But…
There are some great accessories that can really unbridle your creativity and make shooting easier. So here’s the definitive collection of iPhone photography tools. (Every option available is not covered, just the ones I’ve found to be the best quality or most useful.)
For the serious iPhoneographer (is that ironic or oxymoronic?) Moment lenses are unmatched in optical quality and design. The line, made from cinema glass, was recently updated to v2 with new bigger mounts to accommodate the growing size of built-in phone lenses.
- The Moment New Tele Lens is a 2x lens, which gives you a 112mm⇔ view when placed over the iPhone 7+, 8+ and X built-in Tele lens.
- The Moment Wide v2 is one of the most beautiful lenses ever created. Period. Built with negligible barrel distortion (bowed lines), this lens has beautiful keystoning (trapezoidal exaggeration) and takes unbelievably crisp images. It’s excellent for landscape and architectural photography with an 18mm⇔ view when placed over the iPhone built-in Wide lens. I also have a deeper review of this lens here.
- The Moment Superfish, a beautifully-smooth, 170º fisheye lens that was designed to leave no awkward curved black edges on your photos.
- Moment New Macro gives you 10x of truly sharp magnification with a 25mm⇔ lens that focuses down to .7"
If considering buying Moment lenses please buy through this link. As an Ambassador for Moment I get a small commission that helps support this site and keeps the price of my eBooks down. Thank you.
Moment lenses require mounting. I prefer the Nomad X Rugged Case. It’s thin enough to be used as your daily case and offer substantial protection.
The folks at PhoneSkope make this awkward looking adapter to attach binoculars, monoculars, field scopes and telescopes to your iPhone. Scope mounts are a whole other rabbit hole, but I’ll note that if you don’t have a really good optical device ($200+) attached to your phone, you’ll be disappointed with the results.
Most of the filters available for the iPhone don’t work with the iPhone Plus models’ dual lenses. But if you’re using Moment lenses, Moondog Labs 52mm Mount lets you use standard 52mm photo filters on the Tele and Macro. The most useful filter is a Circular Polarizer for removing reflections, saturating colors and enlivening the sky. This effect is hard to duplicate in editing.
To anchor your camera firmly to a tripod, you’ll need a mount that holds the camera. Fortunately there are scads of good ones available.
- For cool factor alone the Manfrotto TwistGrip is my fave. It’s all-metal design folds flat in your pocket, stands on its own and has a cold shoe on top for attaching a light or a mic. Squeeze the top and bottom from the back of the bracket before tightening for proper locking. They also make a bracket and handle you can add for shooting video.
- Studio Neat’s Glif is small, sturdy and has an quick-lock, as well as three tripod mounts (top, bottom, side) for attaching gizmos, like a light or a microphone for video.
- Shoulderpod G1 is the bulkiest of the batch, but also lightweight and stands on its own.
All the above mounts let you attach your iPhone standard or Plus model securely to a standard 1/4"x20 tripod screw.
As mentioned, all conventional tripods can be used with the iPhone 7+ and the above mounts, so I won’t get into the zillions available. Here are a few I’ve found really useful.
- The Manfrotto Compact Tripod is inexpensive, sturdy and very easy to extend and collapse. The pistol-grip head is the easiest to operate of any tripod available.
- The Sirui T-005KX Travel Tripod is a pro-grade, full-size tripod, great for studio as well. It’s big advantage is that folds up to a foot long and weighs a little over 2 lbs, so it’s an excellent hiking tripod that tucks in the bottom of a day pack.
- The Ultra-Pod is a table-top tripod that’s incredibly versatile. You can use it legs closed with the attached Velcro strap to attach to a pole when there’s nothing horizontal nearby.
- The Velbron Ultra Stick Super-8 Monopod is a sturdy monopod that locks quickly and collapses to 10 inches. Note that it doesn’t have a tilting head. The Giottos Mini Ball Head is small, cheap and sturdy.
- Woods Power Grip Camera Mount lets you attach your iPhone to the inside of your windshield or any glass surface. It’s useful for blur shots in the car with long exposure apps like Bluristic, Slow Shutter! by Lucky Clan or NightCap.
The built-in flash is really useful since it’s always with you, but there are more serious pocketable lighting options.
- An inch and a half square, Lume Cube pumps out 1500 Lumens, 100-watt bulb⇔. It has 10 power settings, but the tiny LED is so bright you’ll need to bounce it or diffuse it to avoid blinding subjects. A [kit]9http://j.mp/2yxPvuo) with a housing is available as are diffusers, grids and filters for more serious photography. They can be used in multiple as constant lights or as flashes with the Lume Cube app.
- iBlazr 2 Wireless Flash is a Bluetooth flash that snaps onto your iPhone or can be hand held. With the free Shotlight app you just tap the back of the flash as a remote shutter. It’s tiny and about as powerful as the built-in flash. Useful for macro photography.
The Tom Bihn Side Effect is the bag I find most useful. Yeah, it’s pricey, but man is it useful. It can be worn with a strap over your shoulder, but I use mine as a waistpack with the optional belt strap. If you wear it around front, it’s like having a drawer full of accessories right there.
The Patagonia Atom Sling 8L is the equivalent of a small day pack with ample room for photo gear, including the monopod mentioned above, iPad Pro 9.7 inch and lunch. Swing it around front and easily access your gear.
More on mastering your iPhone camera: The Crap-Free Guide to iPhone Photography