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"Ultra-premium lens for cell phones"??? Comments please

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  • "Ultra-premium lens for cell phones"??? Comments please

    Any advice or comments for "ultra premium" lens' for smart/cell phones?

    Comments please.

    This link came in on my computer some weeks ago and again today.

    http://studylifestyle.com/2016/tech/...=msn-Australia

    I am not necessarily interested as I have an Apple IP6s mobile/cell phone and a good SLR camera which work quite well enough for me.

    I posted it in case others were interested and/or might like to pass advice/comment on it (good or bad) for the benefit of others here.

    This is not regarded - by me at least - as "OT" as cell/mobile phones get extensive use in the shop and other jobs with a "Machinery/machining" component to assist with the job.

  • #2
    I think you'd have to rip out the existing lens in your phone to really get any decent improvement.

    AFAIK its 10x harder to correct for distortions/etc then it is to just not cause them in the first place.

    The other issue is your cell phone still has a 3mm sized sensor with piss poor electronics, sitting right next to an active 0.5W RF transmitter that can't be good for noise levels, because it was designed to be cheaply added and not as a standalone high quality camera.
    Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.

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    • #3
      From a quick look at their web page, these lenses appear to be what are called "extenders". Extenders are used in front of the standard lens and they pre-process the light bundle to make the combination of the two (standard lens plus extender) act like a single lens of a different focal length. They have been made in both positive and negative powers to produce telephoto and wide angle effects.

      Since the original lens remains on the camera and in the light path, you can never get any better resolution than it is capable of in the first place. Well, OK, it is possible to create an extender that also includes some distortion to exactly counteract any distortion in the original lens, but it would have to be designed for ONE PARTICULAR primary lens and would be of no use for any other. Since these "lenses" are being sold for any brand of camera or phone, that is NOT the case. So, they can not be counted on to improve sharpness, only to degrade it.

      These extenders are somewhat like a telescope. They use a pair of lenses to magnify or widen the image coming in to it. And the original lens is like your eye, looking into the telescope. Now, if you move your eye a bit to the side of the telescope eyepiece, the image will disappear. If you move backwards a bit, it will become smaller. The same thing will happen with these lenses. If you do not clip them on to your camera or phone in exact alignment, then their performance will be degraded. Oh, and with that clip on design, there is every possibility that the extender can also be at a crooked angle. That did not happen with traditional cameras that had screw on accessories.

      I mentioned that the sharpness will not be increased with them. But many other performance factors are also doomed to be decreased: contrast, sensitivity or amount of light gathered (F stop), with a telephoto extender the focus range will decrease, barrel or pincushion distortion, etc.

      Can they work? Sure they can. I had extenders for my fixed lens, 35mm camera forty years ago. Were they as good as separate lenses? Heck no. And these "lenses" also will not be.

      Another consideration here is that lenses for smaller cameras are easier to make. So also are extenders. So extenders for the small format cameras that are built in to the modern phones are easier the design and make than the ones I had for my 35mm camera. It is easier to design for a focal field that is only a few millimeters across than for one that is around an inch and a half. But then, the smaller image must have much greater resolution in terms of lines per mm. How much easier is that design process? Anybody's guess. It is a trade-off of many factors.
      Paul A.
      SE Texas

      Make it fit.
      You can't win and there IS a penalty for trying!

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      • #4
        This would be a better choice: http://www.getolympus.com/us/en/air-a01.html It's a camera body that uses a cell phone to control it. It uses the same micro 4/3rds sensor as the DSLR Olympus cameras, so all of the lens fit as well.

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        • #5
          Thanks for a very good report B_M.

          True, the cell phone sensor so far a s I know has a fixed resolution and so any "magnification/pseudo-zoom" would have the same or similar effect as "zooming" on a scanned image pic on the computer - there is no "free lunch" - as the resolution will reduce as the "zoom" increases and vice-versa.

          I much prefer my digital DSLR camera as its easier to get a image from it to the screen say here with it than it is to get an image from the Iphone to the screen of my PC.

          But the lens as proposed may well suit some here - perhaps not - but I thought it well worth posting it here for information.

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          • #6
            Thanks Paul and elf - great positive informative replies - just as I'd hoped for.

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            • #7
              I have a Sony DSC-QX100 "Lens Camera" that is intended to attach to a smart phone. To go with it I have a super high resolution smartphone with high powered 8 core CPU and 16 gig ram. The Sony Sensor is a full 1 inch sensor so it has very good dark sensitivity suitable for night sky photography. It works very well but it does have certain strict limitations. The lens is Carl Zeiss and is excellent. It can be used without the smartphone as long as you don't mind not having any way of seeing what you are shooting. It has full auto and full manual modes. The main problem is the time delay in getting the smart phone up and running when it is in full off mode. That can take a while for it to boot and then make the wi-fi connection. Once that is done it works well. I especially like the focus system where you point at what you want it to focus on using your finger on the screen and bingo, it focuses very quickly and correctly on whatever you pointed at. I wouldn't spend that much money on it again but it also isn't a waste of money, just too much considering the switch on limits.
              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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              • #8
                Thanks Evan.

                I was hoping for one of your very precise, knowledgeable, very useful and professional replies - and you did it.

                Many thanks indeed.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by oldtiffie View Post
                  Thanks for a very good report B_M.

                  True, the cell phone sensor so far a s I know has a fixed resolution and so any "magnification/pseudo-zoom" would have the same or similar effect as "zooming" on a scanned image pic on the computer - there is no "free lunch" - as the resolution will reduce as the "zoom" increases and vice-versa.

                  I much prefer my digital DSLR camera as its easier to get a image from it to the screen say here with it than it is to get an image from the Iphone to the screen of my PC.

                  But the lens as proposed may well suit some here - perhaps not - but I thought it well worth posting it here for information.
                  No, a lens can get you more optical zoom, aka real zoom, not zooming in on a captured image

                  the issue is that a small sensor can only take in so much light. A larger sensor like found in a real camera can pick up more light and hence needs less sensitivity and hence less noise in the resulting image.
                  Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.

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                  • #10
                    The QX-100 has three times true optical zoom and it is excellent. With the very large sensor it also takes very high quality images in poor lighting. The 1" sensor size is many times larger than the usual sensors and that is what makes the difference more than anything else. The number of pixels is totally immaterial as long as the sensor is something over 8 to 10 megapixels, which all of them are. Most cameras now have far too many megapixels because it was seen as a selling feature to the uneducated camera buyers. Numbers like 20 megapixels are just plain ridiculous for small sensor cameras and reduce the image quality dramatically. One of my best cameras is an old Nikon with just 4.3 megapixels. But, it has a real CCD sensor with the sensor pixel size matched to the lens optical resolution size. This produces a theoretically perfect match between the lens resolution and the sensor resolution. As a result the images are as good as it is possible to make and that number of megapixels are all anybody really needs for snapshots. I still use that camera for closeup shop work of any kind. It does the best job with the exception of my Canon DSLR cameras. What they now advertise as CCD sensors are generally crap due to the very small pixels. The old good size CCD sensors are far superior to the CMOS sensors because of the very even pixel exposure and very low noise. CMOS always has higher noise than CCD with the exception of the now so very tiny CCD sensors. They are just as noisy as CMOS.
                    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                    • #11
                      I did make a few SNAFU's here - they were silly and should not have happened.

                      https://www.google.com.au/search?q=g...rd=ssl#q=snafu

                      Thanks for the "catches" and pointing out my errors.

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                      • #12
                        1. I would consult www.dxomark.com (or any similar site) for relatively unbiased and quantitative reviews of photo gear

                        2. My understanding is that there still is much art in making lenses and mountings. i would discount claims of someone who has not been doing it for a while and has a wide reputation for understanding and applying that art to the mechanics of making lenses.

                        3. Regardless of the quality of a lens, it always will have some flaws -- both in design and manufacture. adding more lenses to a system may compensate for some flaws in the original system (see, for example, the Hubble telescope or your own eye-glasses) but the added lenses add other flaws back in. At the very least, more glass in the light path means more absorption of light so that much less light reaches the sensor.

                        4. The electronic circuitry that comprises each individual light sensor generates heat. The sensor chips on phones are small, yet have large pixel counts. That means that the pixels are closer together. The closer the pixels are to each other, the more the heat builds up and causes electronic noise in the system and degrading the quality of the image. Software and different sensor design/circuitry can compensate for the noise. Better lenses can't. So to the degree that your cellphone image's quality is degraded by sensor noise ... improving lenses won't help.

                        5. A component of optical path quality is the alignment of all the elements. In this case, it includes how the add-on lens is attached to the phone. How do you guarantee that alignment with these lenses? If you put it 0.1mm off center, the image will be distorted. It's also kept in place by some plastic clip thingie ... Compare that to the precision machined metal case and mounting mechanisms of any decent DSLR camera.

                        6. But (I looked at their web site) for ~$50 in the US ... it's a toy, at a toy price, so have a blast. And despite the potential problems, it might just be fine, depending on what you want.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by oldtiffie View Post
                          Any advice or comments for "ultra premium" lens' for smart/cell phones?

                          I have a set of "ultra premium lenses" for my smart phone. The set cost me about $15 US each. One set was for macro + wideangle and the other was for telephoto + fisheye.

                          The telephoto does provide a telephoto. The macro provides for very close up focus and the fisheye does provide a very wide angle, just as they do on an SLR. They do not interfere with the auto focus of the camera.

                          I bought the model that was designed for the Galaxy S4. A replacement battery cover is provided that replaces the stock battery cover. This has a screw mount over the camera. The galaxy has a 13 MP sensor and decent optics already. I don't remember how many F stops the telephoto costs you, but it is a few. You pay a fortune for a DSLR telephoto lens with a low F.stop. The macro lets you get close enough that blocking the light becomes an issue. Expect some vignetting.

                          It might provide DSLR quality... but that's like saying that your banana is "fruit quality". There is no standard list of features, resolution, dynamic range, etc that define "DSLR" quality. If you already have a sensitive sensor and decent optics on your camera, the external lenses can extend it's capabilities somewhat.

                          These little lenses have a place. If you don't want to carry a camera on a hike, for instance, the macro lens will allow you to get some nice closeups of the snake that bit you or the mushroom that you ate for the paramedics to analyze. The telephoto won't quite let you get far enough away from the bear to be comfortable taking closeups of his fangs.

                          BTW... not all cell phones are terrible. While not as good as a top of the line Canon, the Galaxy S4 specs are quite respectable for a point and shoot.;

                          Primary 13 MP, f/2.2, 31mm focal length, autofocus
                          Features 1/3" sensor size, 1.14 ┬Ám pixel size,

                          And my galaxy S6 has a slightly better camera; 16 MP, F1.9, 28 mm focal length, Camera sensor size: 1/2.6" Pixel size: 1.12 μm
                          Features: Optical image stabilization, Manual focus, Back-illuminated sensor (BSI), etc, etc


                          In closing, the external lenses are supposed to provide some features that a small, fixed lens has trouble providing. They are analogous to the doubler tube used on my 1970's SLR, or the macro lens that threaded onto the filter ring on the front of the lens. They are not the quality of a $1000 lens, but remember that it's easier to get fewer flaws in a lens that is 1/2 inch across than it is in a lens 2 inches across.

                          Dan
                          At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

                          Location: SF East Bay.

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                          • #14
                            In my world $50 is not a toy. I consider that serious money.

                            Apon looking at the photos on their web site a second time, the lenses we are talking about look more like single lenses (but probably acromats), not the extenders I was talking about. They just add or subtract diopters from the camera's original lens. Dan's $15 lenses sound more like what something like this should cost in production quantities.

                            Do they have a place? Sure. But don't expect miracles.
                            Paul A.
                            SE Texas

                            Make it fit.
                            You can't win and there IS a penalty for trying!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              There are some great posts here that should assist readers to make very informed judgements about these lenses for "smart" cell/mobile phones.

                              Many thanks to those who contributed and gave freely of there time and knowledge.

                              I for one am now much wiser and better informed.

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