To take beautiful mobile photos, you don’t need to buy the latest camera phone: you can squeeze a lot out of cheap optics if you approach the issue of shooting wisely.
Many people have long been using smartphones as their main camera. If you also consider yourself a proponent of mobile shooting, we recommend including several accessories in your arsenal. With them, the development of mobile photography will be much more exciting, and photos and videos will be much better.
This tool comes first in importance.
A tripod is needed to firmly fix the camera to prevent jitter and blur. With the support in the form of a tripod, it is easier to build a composition, crop the scene and choose a shooting angle. It is also needed for obtaining images with a high shutter speed when the shutter speed is set to a low value. This method is used to create color streaks from car headlights, “milk” water, as well as light shots without increasing ISO.
A tall tripod can be used with both a digital camera and mobile devices. A small desktop tripod or a flexible octopus (pictured above) is also suitable for a smartphone. Tabletop is recommended for a flat hard surface (it is unstable on the ground or sand). The legs of the octopus are flexible. This design allows you to fix the device at any angle in a standing or hanging position, for example, on a railing, branch, etc.
2. Microfiber cloth
Another inexpensive but very important accessory.
With the most accurate handling, the smartphone collects hundreds of fingerprints. Some of them remain on the lens. If you do not wipe the lenses, the quality of the photos will decrease, the pictures will become blurry and faded. Such defects cannot be removed in the editor.
Any soft material is suitable for wiping the lens, but it is best to have a special microfiber cloth on hand. Its fibers quickly remove greasy stains and do not leave scratches on the glass. In the Fellowes cleaning kit there is not only a napkin, but also a case for storing it, as well as a special spray for touch screens.
3. Bluetooth button
The rear camera is activated more often than the front. As a rule, it has a higher resolution and more flexible settings, including a well-optimized portrait mode . But taking a selfie on the rear camera is not an easy task. If you set a timer, you’ll have to rush to the place of shooting in a hurry and it’s not a fact that you will have time to take a successful pose.
For such cases, there is a remote shutter button, or a Bluetooth button. This tiny remote control allows you to control the shutter from a distance, that is, press the shooting button at the moment when everything is ready.
4. Detachable lenses
Removable lenses for a smartphone (they are also clothespins) will come to the rescue if the built-in optics initially do not have great capabilities. This accessory allows you to change parameters such as focal length, zoom, perspective and add a fisheye effect.
Smartphones with multiple lenses themselves are quite versatile. However, with clothes pegs, there will still be more opportunities. Most removable lenses are compatible with many models, so after buying a new mobile phone, you can almost certainly use the old set of lenses with it.
The sets themselves are many. As an option, take a look at Momax. This is a kind of starter pack of a mobile photographer. It contains everything you need for experimentation.
5. External flash
Good photography needs good lighting. When there is little natural light, a compact LED flash will make up for it. It runs on its own battery, has a dimming function (brightness level adjustment), and connects to a smartphone via a 3.5 mm jack or via Bluetooth. With it, you can get clear, bright pictures at any time of the day.
6. Portable battery
Frequent use of the camera greatly depletes the battery. If you do not want to turn off the shooting due to the fact that the smartphone is about to run out, we recommend carrying a portable power source. The most capacious models are enough for 3-4 full charges, but their disadvantage is that they are very heavy. Lightweight banks have a lower capacity, but do not pull out your pocket and are cheaper. The balance between weight and capacity is a 10,000 mAh Verbank, for example, Xiaomi Mi Power Bank 3 10000.
7. External microphone
Acoustics is an area where smartphones hopelessly lose even to mediocre recording equipment. Nevertheless, good audio is an essential component of high-quality video content. For normal sound recording, you will need an external microphone, for example, a loop of Rode Smartlav +. It connects directly to a 3.5 mm jack or via an adapter.
You can use different types of microphones with your smartphone: directional ones like Rode Videomic Me or wireless ones like the Comica CVM-WS60. Which one to choose from depends on which videos you are going to record. Before buying, we recommend that you understand the types of microphones and their purpose.
8. External camera
The hardware of the smartphone is very limited in size, and the size of the matrix is of great importance in photography. A large sensor works better in low light, minimizing noise. An optical system also needs additional space for various mechanisms, including a magnification mechanism. For example, Huawei P30 Pro and Oppo Reno 10x Zoom have opted for optical zoom: they enlarge the picture without a noticeable loss in quality, thanks to the periscope lens, which consists of reflective elements.
If the built-in optics are initially weak, then it can not be pumped in any way. Nevertheless, you can dramatically affect the resolution and quality of photos if you attach a compact external camera to your smartphone. We are talking about devices such as DxO One, Sony DSC / QX10 and Hasselblad True Zoom Camera Moto Mod. They do not have their own display, but in conjunction with a smartphone, they turn into a powerful full-featured camera.
DxO One can be connected to the mobile phone via USB-C or the Lightning connector. The shooting capabilities are based on a 20.2 MP one-inch sensor and a lens with an aperture of f / 1.8 (equivalent to 32 mm). The shutter speed varies from 1/20000 to 30 seconds. Video recording options - 1080p / 30 FPS or 720p / 120 FPS.
Sony DSC / QX10
In this compact camera, the lens is capable of a tenfold optical zoom (25-250 mm). The external design is flawless, but the sensor is smaller than the DxO One: it has a physical size of 1 / 2.3 ”with a resolution of 8 MP. The range of aperture values f / 3.3 - f / 5.5. The quality of photographs is positively influenced by Exmor R technology and Sony glass, but this device was released in 2013, and today its capabilities are inferior to expensive camera phones.
Motorola Hasselblad True Zoom Camera Moto Mod
The detachable Hasselblad True Zoom optical module is a rather unusual concept. But with the exception of tenfold optical zoom, it does not offer any particular advantages. Its 1 / 2.3 ”sensor is not as good as those used in modern mobile phones. The aperture switches between f / 3.5 and f / 6.5. On the body there are dedicated shutter, zoom, and xenon flash buttons. The disadvantage of this device is that it is only compatible with the Moto Z line.
9. Cage for video
Modern mobile cameras are quite capable of creating serious video content. But since a lot of tools are needed for shooting, you need a place to place them.
A popular solution is the so-called Ulanzi U Rig Pro video cage. This is a frame with mounts for all shooting equipment - a microphone, flash and the smartphone itself. The cage is fixed in landscape or portrait orientation, it can be fixed on a stationary object or held in hands.
10. Stabilizer (steadicam)
Image stabilization technology has achieved good results. Each expensive camera phone is equipped with OIS without fail, while cheap and mid-budget devices are still content with EIS. The only problem is that built-in stabilization is often not enough to create smooth video content. Record the highest quality videos without shivering will help the stabilizer. This accessory resembles a selfie stick . Special motors are built into it, which ensure the stability of the smartphone in three axes. As a result, the video goes smoothly and does not twitch.
There are many stabilizers. First of all, pay attention to Osmo Mobile 3 from the famous brand DJI. The device has a folding design, connects and charges via USB-C, supports several modes, including time-lapse, slow motion and sports mode.
The camera is the main, but not the only shooting tool. The creation of truly interesting content requires certain costs, both time and financial. Of course, you can shoot on a smartphone without all these gizmos, but then you will be limited only by those functions that the manufacturer considered it necessary to add to your mobile phone. However, in the end, everything depends on a person and his desire to develop: the art of mobile shooting cannot be mastered without perseverance and a share of creativity.