Black Eye, a competitor Olloclip and moment, a variety of clip-on lenses have been introduced for modern smartphones. The company claims its Pro Kit G4 trio of lenses can match the versatility of a dSLR. This is a bold statement. The Pro Kit G4 includes a 2x telephoto lens, a wide-angle lens and a fisheye lens. Can this kit really meet the promise of Black Eye?
Find out in Android AuthorityIt's Black Eye Pro Kit G4 review.
Add-on lenses are a convenient and relatively inexpensive way to upgrade the experience of making pictures with your smartphone. While more and more flagship phones are being shipped two or three back lenses, many phones just have a single backstile. The impetus behind these multi-camera designs is to enhance the utility of telephone-based photography.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 and Huawei P30 Pro are first examples of this modern multi-lens trend. Each one includes a standard lens, a wide-angle lens and a telephoto lens. This gives users the flexibility to capture the shot they want, whether it's zoomed in for near or ultrawye to get the whole scene.
With the Black Eye Pro Kit G4, you can paste three different lenses over your phone's camera to make way for such built-in lenses, so your mobile photography can move fast on the competition.
Black Eye's basic design is simple and effective. Each lens is attached to a metal clip. The clip has two solid fingers and a strong spring. Rubber strips inside the teeth prevent the clip from scratching the phone's glass. I can't overwrite how functional this form factor is.
Last year, Olloclip launched a similar universal clip-on system. It relied on plastic fingers, and suffered from a weak spring. As such it struggled to hold lenses over the phone. Black Eye's clip is much better and firmly attaches each lens to the phone. In addition, the cuts can easily slip into your pocket like a safe transport strap when walking around.
A small hole under the lens helps you to cover the phone's camera correctly. It was especially convenient with the Google Pixel 3 XL, which has a single camera on its back. The Black Eye clip system grips the Pixel 3 XL and was easy to install and center in a brand new one.
Black Eye's system doesn't work with absolutely any phone.
While seamlessly working with the Pixel 3 XL, the Black Eye lens system can also work with phones that have multiple cameras. It only takes a little more work. For example, I checked to see if the lenses on the LG G8 and Huawei Mate 20 Pro. It takes a little more refinement to center the lens on devices that have square or coil camera modules, though it's still easy enough to achieve the correct positioning. You will know the lens is off center when you see a large black ring around the camera via the viewfinder. What you see through the search box sharpen as soon as the lens is in the right place.
The stone can also be used with user-friendly cameras for some extra special selfies.
Black Eye's system doesn't work with absolutely any phone. Black Eye retains a list of devices with which the lenses are compatible here. Many of today's top phones are included.
Phone cases can also get in the way and I had different degrees of success. A thin case on the Pixel 3 XL did not cause any problems, but an OtterBox case did. Your mileage will vary.
The lenses themselves are top quality. They feature aluminum sleeves, highly polished glass and robust screws to secure the lenses to the cuts. I like every lens to have its own lens cover to protect the glass. The lids are a little picky.
The Pro Kit G4 has its own carrying case. The case is firm and firm on each lens and clip in its own fireplace. The bag is closed with a zipper, and a lanyard loop is robust enough to use with a carabiner. This means that you can attach the kit to the outside of your backpack if you want. Black Eye included a small microfibre cloth so you can clean the lenses if necessary.
Black Eye makes a variety of fisheye-to-telephoto lenses. The three lenses in this kit include the Pro Portrait Tele G4 for 2.5x magnification, the Pro Fisheye G4 for a 180-degree level and the Pro Cinema Wide G4 for 120-degree, wide-angle photos. Each individual glass element has three layers of protective layer. The housing is painted matt black.
Black Eye omitted the design of its lenses.
Pro Portrait Tele G4:
This is the finest of the lenses. To achieve the 2.5x magnification, the glass elements require space between them. I'm grateful for the extra bit of magnification beyond 2x. It will not go crazy 10x zoom on the Huawei P30 Pro, but it really works well as a portrait lens. For phones that do not have any optical zoom, such as the Pixel 3 XL, it helps to get a little closer to the action without cutting and losing the resolution. However, many of today's top phones include "2x" optical zoom camera.
Pro Fisheye G4:
I love fisheye photography. It's so dramatic and fun. It allows you to exaggerate the foreground while packing in a massive background view. I was able to take a shot that included the full ceiling in my office and the tops of all four walls. Likewise, you can use fisheye to take a picture that includes the floor, wall and ceiling. There is nothing else like it, and no phone ships with optical fisheye capability. The fisheye is pure joy.
Pro Cinema Wide G4:
With a 120 degree view, the Cinema Wide offers you the broad landscapes. Black Eye has distorted to a minimum. It's also useful when you need to capture a group shot indoors, or otherwise be close to your subject, while also containing lots of background. It's probably the best "everyday wear" lens, as it really increases the size of your shots. Huawei, LG and Samsung began to hit female cameras on their phones and I found them incredibly useful.
Black Eye omitted the design of its lenses. However, I never got a better-made, easier-to-use system Moment's case-based system is also very good.
What does the photo look like? Well, for the most part, with the usual caveats regarding how these lenses bend lightly. Remember, we've used a Google Pixel 3 XL with the normal shoot down. All the noise reduction, exposure and white balance problems that are normally seen on Pixel 3 XL shots wear over. The lenses only have an impact on sharpness, of what I can tell.
I shot a telephoto shot, fisheye shot, wide angle shot, and a normal shot in a handful of spaces, so you can see how the images compare. Full resolution samples are available here.
I really like the wide angle increasing the point of view with minimal impact. The subject barely shows any sign of distortion. In fact, it is hard to find any distortion at all. The angles of the angles tend to soften slightly, but otherwise they are quite good.
The fisheye produces a lot of distortion and softness. With a 180-degree point of view, the lens can catch you pretty much anything that lies ahead. The effect is not as obvious outside, although it becomes very clear inside. Straight lines will bend and curl as if the picture is laid on a bubble. The angles show a lot of softness and loss of detail, which can be expected.
The 2.5x telephoto helps most when you want to take people's photos. When paired with the Pixel's portrait of you have a very good tool on your hand. Remember, 2.5x will not allow you to catch close-ups of hundreds of feet. The magnification is sometimes difficult to find. The one thing I appreciate is that you can combine the optical zoom provided by this lens with digital zoom in the camera application. This means that your shots will look better. I had no obvious mitigation or other problems. The telephoto lens does a great job.
The bottom line here is that you can get more from your smartphone camera via these lenses. Sure, some phones have wide-angle and telephoto built in, but not much. The Black Eye Pro Kit G4 is for the phones that are not.
It all comes down to math. The Pro Kit G4 sell for $ 249. You can buy an entry-level camera with 5x or 10x optical zoom for that money, but you can't get any type of dSLR system at that price. Furthermore, like any good dSLR, you invest in a system with the Black Eye lenses. For example, I bought a camera earlier this year and a number of lenses to use with it. This is how you should see the Black Eye kit.
If $ 250 is too much scratch, you can go to some of the steps Black Eye's less expensive lenses – which all rely on the same clip system. Options include a 3x telephoto, macro, simple wide angle and a series of two-in-one and three-in-one kits. You can also overshoot the idea of the kit and buy each lens individually. This could be the best way for the budget.
The right thing to keep in mind is that these lenses are almost universal and can be used with tablets and other devices. For those who are interested in giving up their mobile photography or Instagram game, $ 250 can be a small investment. More in mind, a phone and a few clip-on lenses are much less than a large dSLR.
Black Eye's smart clip system is the best I have used, and the lenses in this kit offer hours of mobile photography fun. With fisheye, wide-angle and telephoto options to choose from, your single-phone phone has become much more powerful.
Will I recommend the Black Eye Pro Kit G4? It helps to know what you're doing, and a little creative flair is a must. Being a photographic fanatic, but getting rid of the idea of wearing a heavy SLR and plenty of glass, the Black Eye Pro Kit G4 finds a reasonable balance. It immediately gives your phone a greater degree of creative potential.