Sand­marc iPhone X Lenses

Price: £143 from fave.co/2NQwRFw

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

The very high end of phone pho­tog­ra­phy has been pri­mar­ily oc­cu­pied by Mo­ment lenses and pretty much no one else. Sand­marc, known for its fil­ters and pho­tog­ra­phy ac­ces­sories for GoPros and drones, is now pro­duc­ing high qual­ity lenses for iPhones – and Sand­marc is giv­ing Mo­ment a run for their money with new wide, fish­eye, and macro lenses.

The Sand­marc Pho­tog­ra­phy Edition is a set of three lenses that in­clude a Wide, Fish­eye, and Macro lens. Each is also sold in­di­vid­u­ally.

Mount the Sand­marc lenses

Ev­ery lens comes with both an iPhone X case and a clip. It’s rare a case comes with a lens, so I ap­pre­ci­ate the

in­clu­sion, de­spite the case be­ing of generic qual­ity and its thin­ness prob­a­bly pro­vides only a min­i­mal amount of drop pro­tec­tion for the phone. One is­sue with the case is that the cur­rent ver­sion can only mount a lens above the stan­dard lens on the iPhone X, but Sand­marc says when it re­leases its tele­photo lens, the new case will have thread­ing avail­able over both the built-in stan­dard and tele­photo lenses.

I pre­fer lenses that at­tach to cases since they give you a per­fectly Cen­tred mount ev­ery time. Clip mounts can be a lit­tle tricky to cen­tre and are eas­ily budged in­ad­ver­tently, but clip mounts al­low the lens to be used on the front-fac­ing cam­era, on dif­fer­ent phones, and even pro­vides some de­gree of fu­ture-proof­ing as new iPhones with dif­fer­ent lens sys­tems de­velop. Sand­marc cov­ers you both ways. The rear of the lens at­taches to ei­ther mount­ing sys­tem via a threaded mount. I’m in the camp that prefers a bay­o­net style mount; it’s a lit­tle quicker and ori­ents the lens cor­rectly ev­ery time when a lens hood ex­ists.

Sand­marc says it uses pre­mium ma­te­ri­als in its lenses, in­clud­ing alu­minium and pre­ci­sion en­gi­neered glass. In my hands, they feel well-built, sturdy, and have some solid weight.

Sand­marc Wide Lens Edition

The Sand­marc Wide Lens Edition is the equiv­a­lent of a 16mm lens on a tra­di­tional 35mm cam­era and gives about a 2x field of view of the stan­dard lens on the iPhone X. Wide an­gle lenses are pop­u­lar be­cause they solve the com­mon is­sue of get­ting ev­ery­thing into a shot.

I saw a min­i­mal amount of dis­tor­tion when look­ing at a grid chart with the Wide Lens Edition. Typ­i­cally, the wider the an­gle, the more dis­tor­tion there will be, but Sand­marc’s lens does a bet­ter job than most. When dis­tor­tion ex­ists, it’s sub­jec­tive whether you find that par­tic­u­lar dis­tor­tion pleas­ing or not. The lens also solidly main­tains fo­cus from the cen­tre of the frame all the way to the edges.

I wasn’t able to see any ob­vi­ous chro­matic aber­ra­tions that would show up as a rain­bow­ish edge in high con­trast ar­eas. I’m not go­ing to judge on over­all colour since the iPhone X al­ready does a

large amount of im­age pro­cess­ing that could af­fect colours one way or an­other.

Sand­marc Fish­eye Lens Edition

If a wide an­gle lens isn’t wide enough for you, the Sand­marc Fish­eye Lens Edition is the equiv­a­lent of a 10mm lens and gives a 5x field of view. Fish­eye dis­tor­tion can ei­ther be more to­wards a very wide wide-an­gle or an am­pli­fied dis­tor­tion, and this lens is more to­wards the lat­ter.

Pho­tos will clearly be styl­ized fish­eye, which may or may not be what you’re look­ing for, and as such, Sand­marc rec­om­mends this lens for land­scapes and na­ture. This lens does lose fo­cus close to the edges

but I don’t think it’ll be a ma­jor is­sue and there doesn’t seem to be ob­vi­ous chro­matic aber­ra­tions.

Sand­marc Macro Lens Edition

I shoot a lot of tech­nol­ogy prod­ucts, and macro lenses are not only com­mon but crit­i­cal for cap­tur­ing the de­tail on small ob­jects. Un­for­tu­nately, macro lenses on phones only give you a very nar­row range of fo­cus. In other words, only a spe­cific dis­tance from the phone will be sharp and in fo­cus, lim­it­ing your abil­ity to frame and com­pose shots. For most peo­ple, a macro lens isn’t nec­es­sary un­less they shoot lots of tiny things. If you do need a macro lens, then the Sand­marc Macro Lens Edition is a great op­tion. The lens stayed sharp and

showed no signs of dis­tor­tion or aber­ra­tion. The bokeh was pleas­ant over­all and the fo­cus­ing dis­tance pro­vided a very us­able range of fram­ing.

Ver­dict

All in all, I was im­pressed by the Sand­marc lenses. They’re op­ti­cally about as good as any other pre­mium lens out there and by pro­vid­ing the dual mount­ing op­tions with ev­ery lens, it’s not only easy to start with just one lens but also pro­vides some fu­ture-proof­ing. Sand­marc also says that as fu­ture iPhone mod­els come out, it plans on of­fer­ing new cases sep­a­rately, al­low­ing you to con­tinue us­ing your older lenses on the new phones. And if you’re look­ing for a tele­photo lens, it’s set to in­tro­duce one soon, along with a case that will offer mount­ing above both the built-in stan­dard and tele­photo iPhone X lenses. Mo­ment has set the stan­dard with over­all qual­ity and de­sign, but Sand­marc is a far bet­ter value. Dan Masaoka

Sand­marc Wide Lens Tests

Sand­marc Fish­eye Lens Tests

Macro shots show no sign of dis­tor­tion

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