REVIEW – I’m a smartphonographer. What’s that? It’s a person who uses their smartphone as their primary camera. I sold my Canon 70D DSLR last year and have been using my Pixel 2 XL and Huawei P20 for all my photos. Can the addition of add-on lenses from Bitplay take my photos to the next level? Let’s find out.
What is it?
The Bitplay AllClip is a universal smartphone lens holder that is designed to hold Bitplay’s specially designed lenses.
What’s in the box?
I was sent the following items, but they are all separate items and don’t come in a kit/set.
HD wide angle lens
HD Macro lens
M52 CPL Filter and adapter
Design and features
I have seen all sorts of add-on lenses for the iPhone which usually require a special case that has a threaded socket over the area of the phone over the lens. That’s great for iPhone users, but what about Android phone users? That’s where Bitplay comes in with their AllClip which is a universal lens mount that is compatible with smartphones that have a width ranging from 58mm – 80mm (2.3″ to 3.2″).
I did all my testing of the AllClip and lenses with my Pixel 2 XL. The AllClip is an expandable holder that has clips on the end that wrap around the edges of the phone to hold it in place. With a case on my Pixel 2 XL, the AllClip was still able to fit over the back of the phone so that I could attach the Bitplay Premium HD lenses to the clip.
The AllClip is a universal Bitplay lens mount that lines up over the phone’s lens. You can adjust the horizontal and vertical alignment of the mount by moving the AllClip up and down and by sliding the mount left or right. Once the mount is over the lens and the AllClip is securely in place, the mount is fixed in position and won’t inadvertently slide around. At least I found that to be true while testing with the Pixel 2 XL.
You will notice that with my phone, the AllClip covers the fingerprint reader sensor and interferes with the flash next to the lens. Depending on the phone, the clip also might cover the power switch, volume buttons, and other controls, so this is something to keep in mind.
With the AllClip installed, you can now attach Bitplay’s lenses. They sent me their premium wide-angle lens, and their macro lens, along with an M52 CPL filter.
The Bitplay lenses have a 13mm threaded mount that screws into the socket on the AllClip. Each lens comes with a protective cover for the mount and for the lens itself. Each lens also comes with a small drawstring pouch to hold the lens when it is not being used.
Attaching the lenses is simple and takes little to no effort.
The AllClip and attached lens definitely add significant bulk to your phone and you probably would not want to stick your phone with the clip and lens in your pocket as it most likely would not fit and the clip could come off.
I said above that attaching and reattaching the lenses and the AllClip isn’t hard, but it can be a little awkward depending on the situation. For example, a week ago, I was in Florida on vacation and thought it would be a perfect opportunity to try out the Bitplay lenses for some beach shots. The problem was that trying to juggle the AllClip, lenses, lens caps, and drawstring pouches without getting sand on them was a bit tedious.
I can’t imagine wanting to carry my phone around with the AllClip and a lens attached to it for very long because I use a fingerprint reader to unlock my phone and with the AllClip on the back, it was covered and inaccessible. But enough whining, let’s take a look at a few picture samples using the Bitplay lenses.
Premium HD Wide-Angle Lens
The difference when adding the Premium HD wide-angle lens is obvious. You can see significantly more of the condo in the photo with the wide-angle lens compared to the photo taken without the lens.
Again, you can tell that you see a lot more of the beach when using the wide angle lens.
I noticed something odd about the wide angle shot above. If you click on it and look at the trees/leaves in the upper left side of the image on the left, they look smeared.
Premium HD Macro Lens
I obviously take a lot of close up shots for my reviews, so I was excited to test the Bitplay macro lens. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out to be useful to me because it only works well if you can place the lens at an exact distance from the subject. This is aided by the lens design. As you can see, it has a frosted hood. This hood is designed to let light in.
But as you can see, shadows can cause the subject to become too dark.
The close-up images that I was able to take with the macro lens are ok, but that’s only because I took them indoors on a flat surface. When I tried to take some pictures of the same shells out on the beach, it was much harder to get the lens correct distance from the subject and with the sun shining, I wasn’t able to see what I was doing on the phone’s display.
M52 CPL Filter
It looks like a lens, but the M52 CPL is a filter that is made up of 3 parts. The filter itself and an adapter with a silicone ring. attaching the M52 filter to the Premium HD wide-angle lens took some effort only because it didn’t seem to make sense until I read the directions. But even then, the process is a little fiddly and it was not easy to do while I was on the beach.
Once attached, this particular filter is designed to remove glare on glass or water surfaces and improve the capture of blue skies and white clouds by filtering out the unwanted lighting.
The difference between the two images is subtle. You can see that the sky in the image with the filter has more blue. Turning the filter when it’s installed over the lens is supposed to have some effect on the image but I didn’t even know that was something you should try based on the instructions that came with the filter. I just happened upon that info on Bitplay’s site. Unfortunately, it was after I came back from Florida and we haven’t had a sunny day to try it here yet.
What I like
- Adds extra capability/features to your existing smartphone camera
- Wide angle lens lets you capture more
- Macro lens allows you to get very close to your subject
What needs to be improved
- AllClip can cover some features/buttons
- Not sure how useful the macro lens and M52 filter really are
My smartphone is the best camera I’ve ever owned because it’s always with me. I like Bitplay’s universal AllClip and lenses which provide the ability to extend smartphone camera’s capabilities as long as you are ok with the caveats that come with these accessories. My guess is that I will rarely use the M52 CPL filter and the macro lens going forward, but I can definitely see myself using the wide angle lens, especially when I travel and want to take landscape pictures.
Price: $19.96 for the AllClip, $49.99 for the Premium HD Macro lens, $99.99 for the Premium HD Wide angle lens, $43.99 for the M52 CPL Filter
Where to buy: Amazon
Source: The sample for this review was provided by Bitplay.