iPhone Telephoto Lens – Another Unsolicited Review

Yesterday I chatted about the faboo macro/wide glass lens kit I purchased from the good people at Photojojo.

While I sort of dig that little macro lens, I’m absolutely stunningly in love with the item I want to talk about today.

It’s an 8x telephoto lens for the iPhone.

If being able to get clear close up shots on the iPhone is a pet peeve of mine, then the lack of a real zoom puts me right over the edge.

The iPhone camera purports to have a zoom feature, but it’s really just a crop and zoom on the image, not an actual lens feature. So when the zoom is used on the iPhone camera, what you get is a crappy, noisy photo. This makes me cranky.

When I saw a random Tweet about this telephoto lens for the iPhone, I knew I had to have it.

It’s an 8x fixed length zoom. When using the lens you get 8x and that’s it. The lens comes with a focus ring, but that’s about it as far as bells and whistles are concerned.

Here’s the box the whole kit arrives in. Clearly they are striving for that Apple look and feel:

Here’s the kit that comes in the box. You get the lens, a case that the lens screws into for a perfect mounting and fit, a spring loaded tripod mounting device, and a small tripod (you’ll need the tripod, it’s really hard to hold this thing still as the lens throws off the balance):

Here’s a closer shot of the lens itself. Those cute little focal length numbers on there are just for show and not useful in any way.

And here’s a view of the lens itself. Pretty sweet:

Here’s a good shot of how the kit looks when it is all put together. I was having trouble getting a decent photo to show the whole assembled kit, so I found one from a review on the ePHOTOzine site:

Photo credit: ePHOTOzine

This isn’t a high end lens for high end photographers, but it’s sure a heck of a lot of fun. I really get a kick out of playing around just to see what I can get. I really think that the realm of iPhoneography is growing fast. I’ve seen some amazing work already. Crazy how fast that phone in your pocket became more than just a phone.

Here are some sample shots I took a few weeks ago. These shots were taken from the balcony of a seventh floor room at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. I love the depth of field I was able to achieve using this fun little plastic lens. There is no way the iPhone itself would have taken these kind of photos.

The first two I took using the Hipstamatic app. The third I used the Camera+ app to take the photos.

So upside of this little toy lens…it’s fun, it works as described, and at $35 from the Photojojo store, it doesn’t break the bank.

The downside, on some photos you can see the edges of the lens in the photo, but I was able to either crop or Photoshop that out in most cases (in the third sample photo above, I used the clone and stamp tool to remove, easy peasy).

Like the iPhone camera alone, the lens needs lots of light to help it along.

The kit can be a little cumbersome to assemble, as the case I normally have on the phone has to come off to accommodate the case that the lens threads into. That case isn’t really an everyday case, so that swapping around that can be kind of bothersome.

This lens won’t replace the zoom feature on any point and shoot with an 8x optical zoom, but it’s not supposed to. This little fun plastic lens is meant to be another tool to explore the bounds of the iPhone camera to see what you can create.

And for me, I’m rather head over heels in love with this little ingenious telephoto lens.

The first lens I bought arrived with some pieces of black plastic rolling around inside. I contacted Photojojo and they apologized profusely and sent a new one to me immediately. The didn’t require me to send back the old one either. Excellent customer service!

The good people at Photojojo simply impressed me so much with their products and customer service that I chose to write this review. They didn’t ask me to or pay me for my opinions. Just passing along a good thing.

Except as noted, all photos by Karen Fayeth and subject to the Creative Commons license in the right hand column of this page.

New Lenses – An Unsolicited Review

In the magical world of Twitter, after seeing a couple interesting retweets, I came across a site called Life in LoFi: iPhoneography.

Life in LoFi is a site dedicated to the emerging art of photography taken solely with the iPhone camera (or iPad or iPod). Lately I have been really into shooting with my iPhone, so I was happy to stumble across these good folks.

The Life in LoFi people are worth a follow if you are into iPhoneography. I’ve made good use of their tweets about photography apps that are either on sale or free. In the past two months I have picked up scores of new apps that I’d never have found on my own, and most of them were heavily discounted or free. There’s some amazing and powerful photography apps out there these days.

And then one day, the Life in LoFi people turned me on to a site called Photojojo. I’m probably massively behind the times in this discovery, but so be it.

Photojojo is dedicated to tips and tricks, and some of the best and most intriguing products for digital photography. Well, this site is right up my alley.

I sashayed over to the Photojojo online store and explored their offerings. My first purchase was a really fantastically cool item that I hope to review tomorrow. I had a little mechanical glitch with the product on that first order, and the Photojojo took care of me so well (customer service that goes above and beyond, truly) that I chose to go back to the online store to buy more product to support such a wonderful store.

Finally we get to the meaty part of this post. One of the items I bought from the Photojojo team was a real, honest to goodness glass lens for my iPhone. It’s a combo macro and wide angle lens.

Here’s what the kit looks like out of the box:

The macro lens is the smaller piece and is used alone. The two lens pieces screw together to become one solid lens for the wide angle shots.

Here’s the tricky part…this lens attaches to the iPhone by way of magnets. See that metal circle to the right in the below photo (center in above photo)? That has reusable stickum on it. You stick that ring around the iPhone camera lens (if you have a case on your phone, that has to come off). Then the lens sticks with a strong magnet to the metal ring.

I’ll be honest…it’s not a very elegant solution. It works, but it’s less than perfect.

Here are some photo examples to get a good idea of what the lenses can do.

This is a normal photo taken with the QuickPix app with no lens other than the one built into the phone.

This is the same photo at the same distance with the wide angle lens attached. It has a bit of a fisheye look to it, and you can see the sides of the lens in the corners, but that’s fairly easily cropped off. I did no touchup other than shrinking the size and a little boost on light balance in iPhoto.

Same photo with the macro lens. I got as close as I could and while keeping the object in focus.

The macro photo is not bad. It’s WAY better than anything the iPhone camera can do on its own. For example, I didn’t know my keyboard key had scratches in it until I took this photo. I’d never have captured that with the regular iPhone camera.

All of these photos are a bit noisy as 1) the iPhone camera just comes with a lot of noise and 2) I was not in the best lighting situation for these photos. I find with the iPhone camera, light is everything in order to make a decent photo.

One of my biggest complaints about the iPhone camera is the inability to get close up shots that are in focus. This little stick on lens really fits the macro bill. I’m not completely in love with the form factor of the sticky ring and magnet, but I’m able to make it work. I’ve played around with it some and find that overall, I’m quite happy.

This real glass wide/macro lens cost me the meager sum of $20 plus shipping from the Photojojo store. A bargain, in my opinion.

Tomorrow, I’ll review my other purchase from Photojojo. It’s another lens, but while the macro/wide angle lens simply makes happy, the lens I’ll chat about tomorrow knocks my socks off.

Stay tuned photo friends! I’m whipping out my book of superlatives!

The good people at Photojojo simply impressed me so much with their products and customer service that I chose to write this review. They didn’t ask me to or pay me for my opinions. Just passing along a good thing.

All photos by Karen Fayeth, taken with the QuickPix app, and subject to the Creative Commons license found in the far right column.

Mmmm. Tastes Like Turkey!

I’ve ranted off an on over the years about the plaguey b*stards with fluffy tails that run roughshod over my yard, streets and power lines. They eat the insulation off of cables. They eat all the plants out of the ground. They eat all the apricots off my favorite tree (and holler at me when I try to pick a few so I can make a nice pie.)

In case I’ve been too mild on this topic, I’ll say it out clear: I hate squirrels.

So I smiled to myself when I saw this headline linked off of CNN.com: Give Squirrel a Whirl

Yes, you of tender tummy and mild disposition, they’re talking eatin’ squirrel on the Eatocracry blog.

“The general consensus was that it tasted more earthy and sumptuous than the darkest turkey they’d ever tasted”

Now, I may not actually want to have one of these somnabitches on my dinner plate, but I’ll certainly help with the supply chain. If this trend takes off, I’m sitting on a gold mine over here.

The only trouble is…The Good Man won’t let me fire a bb gun at the rodents. He says the neighbors might not approve…you know, owing to the fact that my bb gun aim has never been right.

Rodent, it’s what’s for dinner.

She Did What?!? Ooooh Guuuuurl….

Here we are at Thursday again and that means it’s time for Theme Thursday fun.

This week’s theme is: Gossip

Or as a friend once said, “If you can’t say something nice, come sit by me.”

There are certain words that, for reasons I cannot explain, I just prefer to think of in Spanish. Chisme is just such a word. There is the relatively plain word “gossip” and then there is the inflection laden word “chisme.”


I would like to say I’m above all this chisme business. That I never sit in the passenger seat of a pickup with my best friend, Sonic sodas in hand, and cuss and discuss the world around us. I’d like to say I’m not like that, but I’d be lying.

I’m an eternal Nosy Nellie. I don’t like to get mean…I just like to know what’s going on. Call it insecurity. Call it envy. Call me irresponsible…just don’t call me late for dinner.

And let’s be honest, hasn’t Facebook just upped the ante on chisme? I mean, you can see what so-in-so is saying on their wall and then there’s the inevitable “did you SEE what she said?” or “did you SEE that picture?”

It used to be the biddies would pick up the party line and listen in on their neighbors (guilty as charged) but now it’s all out there on the interwebs.

I think it’s interesting, I looked up the etymology of the word gossip. Here’s what it said:

“The word is from Old English godsibb, from god and sibb, the term for godparents, i.e. a child’s godfather or godmother.”

Um, ok. I’m a godmother times three…so doesn’t that give me permission to cluck like a hen with all my girlfriends?

“The verb to gossip, meaning “to be a gossip”, first appears in Shakespeare.”

And I’m all literary and stuff, too!

Now…come on over….tell me, what’s the latest? You got any chisme for me?

“Don’t chat! Chatting leads to treason”

1941 Soviet era poster, used under Fair Use and found on Wikipedia

My Bounceback Done Gone

First of all…I’m glad to be back on the interwebs. The hotel where I’m staying this week is supposed to have free WiFI, and in the past, it’s always been great, allowing me to surf and do email with ease.

During this week it’s been dog slow. At one point it took a half hour for a page to load. For three days I’ve been begging someone to restart the router on my floor and this netted me many a blank stare from the hotel staff.

They finally gave me a tech support number and the nice tech support guy in another country diagnosed my technical issues. And then he restarted the router. Sheesh!


Along with interweb woes, I’ve been living it up a little on the road food. (see my abject joy of Sonic post).

Lately (meaning, prior to this trip) I’ve been trying to eat small meals several times a day. Good small meals with lots of lean protein and less sugar along with going easy on the dairy, and no gluten.

God I’m getting old. Look at that paragraph above. Sheesh.

But…when I do all of that and throw in a little exercise, I feel pretty good. I sleep well. My brain is clear. I have energy.

Today, I had to endure a daylong training class. I did nothing more than sit on my rear all day. No exercise and boooooring. So to pass the time I poured milk in my coffee (bloat) and had a pastry from the oh too pretty plate of goodies (tummy gurgle) and ate a sizeable lunch on top (*burp*).

Now I’m all bloated up like Violet Beauregarde (the one who swelled up into a blueberry and had to be juiced) and wondering just what in the heck possessed me when I know better?

As I said to the good man via a whiny text message….”A few minutes of :) for several days of :( Ugh!”

Ugh, indeed.

It didn’t used to be like this. I used to be able to eat dairy and wheat and fats of all sorts of saturation with reckless abandon!

Where did it all go wrong?

I aged. That’s where it all went wrong. At 22 I could bounce back from a journey down cheesey tater tot lane in about a day. Now it takes me many days and some hard work and diligence just to come back to even.


Thus ends my whining for the day.

I know, I know…ya’ll went two days without a blog post for this? Hmph!

I’ll try harder tomorrow.