SANDMARC iPhone 8 Plus Wide Lens Adapter Review

SANDMARC design photography accessories for smartphone users and on test, we have the wide lens adapter for the iPhone 8 Plus to find out how much it improves our iPhone photography.


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WIDE LENS EDITION - IPHONE 8 PLUS
 

Quick Verdict

The wide lens from SANDMARC certainly does what it's designed to do which is extend how much of the scene in front of you can be captured with your smartphone. 

The clip is slightly more fiddly than the case but just use the case if you find it to be an issue. You'll also capture sharper photos when using the case/lens combo, too, as everything is lined-up for you perfectly. The lens does make your smartphone top-heavy but if you remember to hold your smartphone with two hands you'll be fine.

Colours are good in photos and CA/flare/distortion isn't an issue which is great, especially as it's a wide-angle lens.

Overall, those who regularly take photos with their iPhones will probably find it a fun, useful tool so long as they don't mind parting with around £80 (plus shipping). 

+ Pros

  • Solid manufacture
  • Easy to use
  • Captures more in the photo
  • Handy case as well as a clip mount

- Cons

  • Price
  • Clip is harder to get in the right place than the case mount
  • Softer photos when using the clip (on occasion) 
  • Heavy and off balances the smartphone 

 

Accessories and adapters for iPhones and Android smartphones are available in abundance from online stores such as Amazon but they tend to be cheaply made and as a result, the image quality produced with them isn't always that good. However, there are brands out there, such as SANDMARC, who are producing quality lenses constructed from glass which may cost a bit more money but they do promise better results. 

On test, we have the wide lens for the iPhone 8 Plus but other lenses/iPhone options are available, too, with prices starting at around $90. 


SANDMARC iPhone 8 Plus Wide Lens Adapter Handling & Features

WIDE LENS EDITION - IPHONE 8 PLUS

 

The SANDMARC Wide Lens is a multi-coated, multi-element 16mm glass lens that gives you a 110-degree field of view and 0.56x magnification. When secured, via the clip or case, to the smartphone, you get 2X wider capture which might not sound like a lot on paper but when you capture a photo with and without the lens, you really notice how much more of the scene is captured. 

In the box, you get the wide lens, a case with a cutout for securing the lens, clip-on mount, lens pouch and caps to protect the front/rear elements of the lens. Filters are available for the SANDMARC lens line-up and the wide lens is compatible with 40.5mm step-up rings. 

To use the wide lens, you can either secure it to the clip or fasten it to the supplied cased and slip your smartphone into it. With the clip, you screw the lens into place then simply clip it to your smartphone and it's useful when you don't want to remove a case you already have on your iPhone 8 Plus. 

The clip is well made, feels sturdy and didn't move/slip when in place which is great as this is an issue with some cheaper models that are used this way. The thread the lens is screwed onto is metal, again, reassuring you of the product's quality and it also means it won't wear out quickly. There's also a disc which stops your smartphone getting scratched when the clip is in place. 

 

WIDE LENS EDITION - IPHONE 8 PLUS
 

One problem we did have with the clip was getting it in exactly the right place as sometimes, it did take a bit of time to line it up with the iPhone lens. If you don't get it just right, you can end up with slightly soft images or the lens edge appearing in your shots. It also makes the iPhone very top-heavy and you do need to hold the smartphone with both hands to ensure it's secure. 

The supplied case which has a cutout/thread for the lens to secure to, is much easier to use and we captured sharp images every time when it was used. It's a pretty thin case so isn't obtrusive but it's still constructed well and doesn't feel cheap. It was a bit tricky to get back off the iPhone but at least this means it's secure in use and, again, the iPhone was top-heavy when using the lens with the case so two-hand operation is needed. 

 

WIDE LENS EDITION - IPHONE 8 PLUS
 

Overall, both accessories do the job but if we had to pick one, we'd say the case/lens combo is the way to go to ensure you're capturing sharp shots every time. 

You can keep the case/clip secured to your iPhone but if you prefer to remove them when not in use, a soft pouch is supplied along with covers for the rear/front lens elements to prevent scratches. You also get a lens cloth which is really useful as, on occasion, we did get fingerprint smudges on the lens front when securing it to the smartphone. 

Once attached, all you have to do is hit the shutter button to take a photo. You don't need to change any settings, install an app or use the camera any differently which makes the wide lens really easy to use. 

 

WIDE LENS EDITION - IPHONE 8 PLUS
 

The lens itself feels incredibly well built, sturdy and have a little weight behind them which only further confirms in your head how well they're constructed. When I say a little weight, I don't mean it's a burden to carry as the compact size means they easily fit into a camera, or indeed handbag, when heading out for the day. 

If we're going to be picky, the lens hood could be a little deeper to help protect the elements from flare but apart from that, the lens is great. 

We did wonder if the lens would become redundant when changing smartphones but SANMARC says iPhone users would just have to purchase a new case, not a whole new set of lenses. 


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