Testing a $35 iPhone Zoom Lens Attachment vs. $7K DSLR Kit

Posted April 11, 2018
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It's time for another smartphone vs. DSLR comparison and today Casey Niestat is testing out zoom lenses. He is taking a look at a $35 lens attachment for his iPhone against his $7K (his claim) DSLR kit. Now the price comparison is a little unfair since the phone he is using cost $1,000, but you get the point. 

First, let's talk about what a zoom lens is. It's pretty much what it sounds like. A zoom lens is a long lens that can get you clear images from long distances. Think about trying to take a photo of the moon, to get any detail you'll need a long zoom lens. Another example is those photographers and videographers who stand in the end zone and on the sidelines at football games with those huge lenses so that they can get close up shots for the front page and highlight reels without having to run onto the field. 

Now, we advocate here at TheVJ.com that if you want a closer shot, get closer to the subject; but sometimes, like at a football game, you can't.  So, getting a zoom lens will allow you to get those shots when you need them with the right lens (rather than zooming in with a normal wide angle lens which will degrade and flatten the image). That's why you may have one.

This brings us to the question of the day (that Casey will soon talk about): should you get a lens attachment for your phone or a zoom lens like the ones the people on the football sidelines have. One will cost you $35, or a little more if you want one from Zeiss or a couple hundred dollars for a new lens for your DSLR or other cameras.

Here's the video from Casey:

There you have it. Like we've seen time and time before, the iPhone camera can measure up to the DSLR. It gets the job done, and for a price tag like $35, it's hard to see why you would spend hundreds of dollars on anything more for your DSLR.

The reality is that smartphone video production is the future. The attachments and accessories for phones are only going to get better and better while DSLR technology basically stays the same. Realistically, you don't really need any attachments for your smartphone as it can already get amazing images -- and if you feel you need to zoom, just get closer to your subject. If you're standing on the sidelines of the football field (or soccer pitch), then you may want a zoom lens, and $35 is not a bad price to give your videos an extra dimension. Like Casey says, as viewers of videos on the web get more and more sophisticated, you, as the video producer, must provide a polished professional product that delivers has various shot scales and framings to keep the viewer interested. So maybe a zoom lens will help that.

Our advice though, is to stop throwing money at your DSLR kit, and get onboard with the smartphone video revolution.

If you want to learn to produce video with just your smartphone, and turn it into a well-paying career, check out our mobile section for courses on shooting, editing and everything in between.


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