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Phone Lenses 8/27/12

David Livshin is a professional photographer, but for quick shots, he's using his iPhone more and more. David Livshin "I find the opportunity to be unobtrusive sort of wins out over having to lug the cameras around." But the iPhone camera - like most smart phones - doesn't have an optical zoom. "Smart phones only have a digital zoom that loses pixels as it zooms in. That reduces image quality." Consumer Reports tested two new brands of add-on lenses for smart phones. The Olloclip costs 70 dollars, and it's a three-in-one lens for the iPhone 4 and 4S. Terry Sullivan "You fit each of them over the iPhone's lens, like this." This is a regular photo taken with the iPhone. Here's the same photo, taken with the Olloclip's macro lens … its fisheye … and its wide-angle lens. Consumer Reports also tested add-on lenses from Photojojo that work with both iPhones and several Android phones. The lenses cost about 20 dollars each. To use them, you attach a ring on your phone with adhesive. The lenses attach to the ring magnetically. Terry Sullivan "We found the ring sometimes came off the phone when we removed a lens." And Consumer Reports found a drawback with both brands - the lenses cover the phones' flash. But in good light, testers found both the Olloclip and the Photojojo lenses can take some beautiful pictures. Terry Sullivan "The close-up shots and video of flowers in particular were stunning." The upshot - Consumer Reports says these lenses can definitely expand a smart-phone camera's capability. ."

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