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Sandmarc iPhone X Lenses review

The very high end of phone photography has been primarily occupied by Moment lenses and pretty much no one else. Sandmarc, known for its filters and photography accessories for GoPros and drones, is now producing high quality lenses for iPhones—and Sandmarc is giving Moment a run for their money with new wide, fisheye, and macro lenses.

The Sandmarc Photography Edition is a set of three lenses that include a Wide, Fisheye, and Macro lens. Each lens is also sold individually.

Sandmarc iPhone X Lens MountsDaniel Masaoka/IDG

How to mount the Sandmarc lenses

Every lens comes with both an iPhone X case and a clip. It’s rare a case comes with a lens, so I appreciate the inclusion, despite the case being of generic quality and its thinness probably provides only a minimal amount of drop protection for the phone. One issue with the case is the current version can only mount a lens above the standard lens on the iPhone X, but Sandmarc says when they release their telephoto lens, the new case will have threading available over both the built-in standard and telephoto lenses.

I prefer lenses that attach to cases since they give you a perfectly centered mount every time. Clip mounts can be a little tricky to center and are easily budged inadvertently, but clip mounts allow the lens to be used on the front facing camera, on different phones, and even provides some degree of future-proofing as new iPhones with different lens systems develop. Sandmarc covers you both ways. The rear of the lens attaches to either mounting system via a threaded mount. I’m in the camp that prefers a bayonet style mount; it’s a little quicker and orients the lens correctly every time when a lens hood exists.

Sandmarc says they use premium materials in its lenses, including aluminum and precision engineered glass. In my hands, they feel well-built, sturdy, and have some solid weight.

Sandmarc Wide Angle LensDaniel Masaoka IDG

Sandmarc Wide Lens Edition

Sandmarc Wide Lens Edition

The Sandmarc Wide Lens Edition is the equivalent of a 16mm lens on a traditional 35mm camera and gives about a 2x field of view of the standard lens on the iPhone X. Wide angle lenses are popular because they solve the common issue of getting everything into a shot.

Sandmarc Wide ComparisonDaniel Masaoka/IDG
Sandmarc San Francisco Wide ComparisonDaniel Masaoka/IDG

I saw a minimal amount of distortion when looking at a grid chart with the Wide Lens Edition. Typically, the wider the angle, the more distortion there will be, but Sandmarc’s lens does a better job than most. When distortion exists, it’s fairly subjective whether you find that particular distortion pleasing or not. The lens also solidly maintains focus from the center of the frame all the way to the edges.

Sandmarc Wide Lens Tests Daniel Masaoka IDG

Sandmarc Wide Lens Tests

I wasn’t able to see any obvious chromatic aberrations that would show up as a rainbowish edge in high contrast areas. I’m not going to judge on overall color since the iPhone X already does a large amount of image processing that could be affect colors one way or another.

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