Here is a fun story. Some time ago, I played with the idea of holographic projections. I ended up ordering 100mm lenses to focus the reflection. I ended up with a dozen or so lenses as if you have to wait 5 weeks for your order, you might as well make sure you will never run out of 100mm lenses. Long story short I used a spare lens to create a DIY macro for my phone. I have been using it up until now, to take some close up shots of the products. Time for a hands-on experience with AUKEY clip-on lens.
AUKEY clip-on lens vs DIY macro monstrosity
The AUKEY clip-on lens in question is a 2in1 macro with a 140º degree wide-angle add-on. The AUKEY lenses are metal, with glass lenses, plastic clip-on hinge and caps. It’s a well-made gadget. I don’t think I actually acknowledged the size of the lens until I took it out of the box. This thing is huge! Frankly speaking, both, my Frankenstein of a lens and the AUKEY clip-on will look slightly ridiculous. Who cares, right? As long as the pictures are nice, I’m happy to parade around with a sizable attachment.
Originally, my DIY lens was designed for the Nexus 6P, but I have upgraded since. The custom lens ‘case’ no longer fits like a glove with Google Pixel. This presents the exact problem that both lenses are actually facing. With a universal fit, comes about 20 sec of fiddling time just to get the lens in the right position. A small price to pay, but still something to pay attention to for that perfectly planned picture.
Close up and personal
Let’s start with macro attachment, mostly because I have to start somewhere, and I don’t have any matching product in the wide lens category. Both, my £0.50 Frankenstein and the professionally-looking AUKEY clip-on provide the phone with the same level of magnification.
We can completely ignore the Google Pixel photo (middle) which is out of focus. Both lenses provide a very similar level of the macro (AUKEY has slightly bigger magnification at the cost of curved edges.). After closer inspection, I was able to focus the DIY lens closer to the phone, but because the lens is made of plastic, the refraction is much more visible than with AUKEY clip-on lens.
Here is another set for you:
And lastly, this happens when you use both together:
A trip to a wide side!
Let’s pop the wide-angle on and see how much extra we can squeeze into a single frame! You could place the AUKEY clip-on lens on the front-facing camera, just be mindful, on some phones this can cover up sensors, limiting the front-facing camera functionality.
As usual, nothing is perfect, and I have to address two things before I give my final thoughts. Due to the design of the lens, it’s not compatible with phones that have dual cameras. Huawei P10 complained when I covered one lens while taking a picture.
Unfortunately, you can see parts of the lens cap thread in the corners of the pictures. Static images can be easily cropped to remove the artefacts. I’m mostly annoyed at this as it could be solved by a different lens cap design, which wouldn’t need the collar to attach to the lens.
Overall, the quality of the AUKEY clip-on lens is very nice. The grip feels strong enough, the glass lens is decent and if your phone has a single camera at the back – you can go ahead and buy it! Just remember about the wide lens adapter issue. A quick crop job will fix it, but you will need some more time to fix up a video.