Smartphone lenses just keep getting better! Dave Windsor road tested the latest Black Eye Pro Kit G4 selection through Rajasthan. This set of 3 awesome clip on lenses work with most modern smartphones.
As a travel journo I’m always looking for ways to work better, smarter and lighter. With massive improvements in smartphone cameras I’ve started to leave my heavy DSLR & lenses in the hotel. However, phones have some limitations. So high quality attachable smartphone lenses are filling some of the gaps, such as these from Helsinki based Black Eye.
I tested the Black Eye Pro Kit G4 (AU$369.95) on a recent trip to Rajasthan, India.
First impressions count, and the beautiful packaging totally wowed me. Crisp, black and very 2019. The Black Eye Pro Kit G4 includes the Pro Portrait Tele G4, Pro Fisheye G4, Pro Cinema Wide G4 and a Protective Zipper Travel Case coupled with a solid carabiner hook.
The universal smartphone lenses simply clipped onto my Samsung S9, and worked great on my wife’s iPhone 8 too.
Attention to detail, precise engineering and use of quality materials make this a truly premium looking, feeling and functioning product.
The three lens Pro Kit is housed in a secure case. It’s not ‘pocket sized’ but easily pops into my backpack. A little patience is required to grab the kit, choose a lens and align it over the rear or front facing smartphone lenses. It aligns a fraction quicker and easier without a phone case, but my preference is to keep the case on and take the extra moment.
If you have a go-to smartphone lens, such as the tele or wide angle, then that would easily fit into a jacket pocket.
Black Eye also have some cool looking tripods and handles that would definitely be worth popping into your backpack.
Black Eye Pro Fisheye G4
The Pro Fisheye G4 lens is great for fun, but also proved very practical when I stood too close to my subject. As seen above the fisheye can capture all 953 windows of the historic Hawa Mahal in the UNESCO world heritage city of Jaipur. Sawai Pratap Singh built the ‘palace of winds’ in 1799 and it’s an iconic ‘pink city’ highlight.
Black Eye Pro Cinema Wide G4
The 120° Pro Cinema Wide G4 captures about 20% more information (top, side, bottom) than normal smartphone lenses. So more of my hotel room (above) is able to be captured. However, in low light I sometimes found the edges a little blurred, which I expect is user error and inexperience on my part.
The Cinema Wide lens is also great for selfies, again capturing more people and more background. It would also work wonders on skyscrapers and landscapes enabling you to capture more tops, bottoms and sides.
Black Eye Pro Cinema Wide G4 phone lens works on smartphones such as iPhone, Pixel, Galaxy and many others.
Black Eye Pro Portrait Tele G4
Finally, the Pro Portrait Tele G4 lens got me 2.5 times closer to my subject, like the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur. My favourite Indian destination, the 15th century fort never ceases to amaze. Equally intriguing is the famous ‘blue city’ old-town lying below the fort. Exploring it’s labyrinthian streets and saying g’day to its inhabitants never gets old.
The Pro Portrait Tele G4 lens is also handy when it comes to portraits, enabling you to get close without being close. Shoot from a comfortable, less obtrusive distance, but still capture a happy smile … and mo. Smartphone lenses that work, easily improving your shots.
About Black Eye smartphone lenses
Back in 2013 professional snowboarders Eero Ettala and Fredu Sirviö, together with professional photographer Arto Ekman, wrapped their heads around a common problem. Eero and Fredu had been traveling the world for the past 10 years, filming for the biggest snowboard video productions and using their smartphone to take videos and photos, documenting and sharing these trips with their friends and fans. As posts on Facebook and Instagram became first a daily, then hourly activity, they needed to get more out of their smartphone cameras. As professional athletes always striving to push things further, they wanted to enhance their mobile content to the level of what the professional photographers and filmmakers were doing.
This is where photographer Arto Ekman came into the picture, and together they created the first Black Eye lens. Within a couple of months, the awareness of the product spread among different fields of lifestyle users, and the trio knew something big was about to happen
For more smartphone lense reviews check our Hitcase Pro road test here.