Smartphone Hardware Add-ons

Today’s post completes the review of smartphones and how they compare with DSLRs. This wrap-up looks at add-ons and other accessories that don’t come with the phone, but may be useful depending on what you’re trying to achieve. Coming up next – smartphone apps, so keep tuned-in.


Are you thinking about ways to get around the smartphone lens’ fixed aperture, fixed focal length limitations? Via optional lenses?

  • Fish-eye, telephoto and macro lenses are available
    • By my standards, the quality of the results range from poor to terrible
      • At least as compared to the images I want (& get from a DSLR)
      • Your needs, expectations and tastes may differ
    • IMO – save your money (or buy mine at a huge discount 😉 )
  • A big caution: Think twice before using your smartphone’s digital zoom
    • Using optical zoom throws away pixels (& degrades image quality)
    • If you zoom from the fixed focal length of 29mm to 58mm (2X)
      • Resolution is reduced by 75% (in my case from 8 MP to 2 MP)
      • Why do that? Oh, I forgot, because add-on lenses aren’t very good

And – how about things like: Polarizers? Neutral density filters? Tripods?

  • Each of the above three share one thing in common
    • They solve problems that CAN NOT be fixed in post-processing
    • This is true regardless of whether the camera is a smartphone or DSLR
      • Lenses are lenses, light is light, and physics…
      • and the camera type is immaterial when it comes to these three
  • The options for polarizers & ND filters, like optional lenses, aren’t good
    • They are available but read the reviews very carefully
    • Attaching them to a smartphone is often a Rube-Goldberg affair
  • How about a tripod (I mean one that extends at least 5 feet)
    • Portability is the best thing a smartphone has going for it (vs. a DSLR)
      • If that’s so, why in the world carry a tripod???
    • Full disclosure: I bought a gadget to attach my phone to a tripod
      • Arca-Swiss style base that works with full-sized tripods
        • 1/4 & 3/8 inch threads provide added attachment choices
        • Switches easily from vertical to horizontal
      • Just-in-case” since I already owned a quality ballhead & Gitzo tripod

Here’s a recent article on smartphone accessories if you’re interested in more…

Next up >>>> Hardware & software are blending (and not just in cameras):

  • A review of smartphone photo-related software apps
    • They take up where the hardware left off…
      • Often leading to in-camera captures that DSLRs can’t match (yet)

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