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August 27, 2013

Cooler iPhone photos, in a snap

Love your iPhone camera but wish it had a few more bells and whistles? Well, now it can, thanks to an array of new attachments that do everything from letting you shoot underwater to adding quirky effects to your photos.

We tested a few and offer our reports below.

Photojojo lens set

Three lenses $49. Fisheye $25. Telephoto $20. Wide/macro $20.

Of the three lenses, all of which I tried, my favorite was the macro.

There's nothing more frustrating than not getting close enough to photograph the busy bees or the flower petals in your back yard. The macro lens allows for a closer focal point and a shallow depth of field so that the subject stands out from the background. The lens is sharp in the middle, but the image does soften a bit around the edges. But considering that it's $20, well, nothing's perfect!

Just as with a 35mm camera, a fisheye lens is a "trick" lens that you don't bring out very often. It bows the edges and provides a small focal spot in the middle of the frame. It's a fun effect but not something that most photographers would use every day. If you're not into this look, save the 25 bucks.

The telephoto lens doubles the length of the iPhone lens, which is pretty cool since I'm usually running forward to get better framing. It alleviates having to crop and resize images, maintaining the larger file size that an iPhone 5 offers. This is a nice addition to the iPhone gizmos in your pocket.

Ease of use: The lenses attach to the phone via a magnet in the lens itself. Several self-adhesive washers come with each lens for multiple applications. Applying one of the washers to the back of your camera is a breeze; be sure to leave it on for at least 30 minutes before use (as recommended). I put one on and immediately started shooting: Plop — the lens fell off. After the allotted waiting time, the lens attaches to the washer magnetically. Easy breezy.

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