Smartphones keep getting better as computational photography and sensors improve, but there are still restrictions. A company called ShiftCam has been making add-on lens cases for iPhones since 2017, with existing models available from the iPhone 7/8 onward.
I’ve been testing their new iPhone 11 Pro Max version, which comes with an iPhone case that features rail slots on the back that accept the multi-lens system to slide on and off the case. It comes with an integrated 4x Telephoto, 10x Macro, 20x Macro and 180-degree fisheye lenses and a circular polarizer filter (CPL). In the box, you’ll also get a soft pouch to hold the lens system and an adapter, which is only used if you buy one of the additional ProLenses available separately.
The MultiLens case with the multi-lens attached provides the iPhone 11 Pro Max with an even more powerful camera system. In particular, the 10x and 20x macro lenses capture up-close details of objects you would not be able to get otherwise. You can take macro shots of things like insects too, but this requires a lot of patience and skill.
The 180-degree fisheye lens provides a unique perspective on things. You do get heavy vignetting but that’s all part of the uniqueness. The 4x telephoto lens basically doubles the 2x lens on the iPhone. I did find the 4x created a yellow colour cast but nothing that couldn’t be corrected later in the app.
I found over time that leaving the multi-lens system on the case becomes a bit of a drag because it added bulk and the lenses were a magnet for dust and fluff. Instead, I used the soft pouch but then I often forgot to bring that with me when going out to take photos.
You don’t need any special software to use the system, which is a big bonus as it works simply by the optics in the lenses. Image quality is excellent.
Overall, the ShiftCam multi-lens produces excellent results and further expands the possibilities of your phone’s cameras. It is a little bulky and can be challenging to use, so it all comes down to how serious you take your smartphone photography. If you’re up to the challenge, the ShiftCam can deliver the results.