Dual-Lens Smartphone Cameras, Part 2 : A Closer Look at the 2x Lens

 

Welcome to part 2 of the Dual-Lens smartphone camera breakdown. If you caught part 1, you know we discussed the benefits of the wide-angle lens and when it is best used. We also touched on the upside and downside of each lens. In this post we are going to take a closer look at the telephoto lens (Pun very much intended).

The Telephoto Lens

The telephoto lens has slowly become my go-to for my digiscoping needs. Primarily due to the fact that it cuts down on the dreaded “black ring” or vignette around your image. When digiscoping you are essentially looking through a tube. Similar to when you were a kid looking through a paper towel roll pretending it was a telescope. In most cases you are going to see the tube surrounding your image. But with the help of the telephoto lens it will dramatically reduce the vignette and in most cases remove it entirely.

I really prefer the look of the entire image versus a circle. The telephoto lens hasn’t always been easy to use. In the case of Apple phones, their native app does not allow you to select the lens very easily, in most cases, not at all. In the past we have had customers try to use the “Portrait Mode” but results varied. This was the primary reason Phone Skope developed our Phone Skope Camera App.

The Phone Skope Camera App

The Phone Skope camera app gives you full control over the camera lenses and other features. The starting motivation for the app was taking control of the telephoto lens. We could see the potential for it and we wanted our customers to be able to fully take advantage. The app is available for Android and iOS devices. It is free of charge and we think it will really help elevate your digiscoping results.

Examples

Earlier we touched on the ability and function of the telephoto lens I’d like to revisit that with some image examples. These images were taken through a spotting scope using an iPhone Xs Max and the telephoto or 2x lens. As you can see, we are getting a full screen image with very little to no vignette. It also comes in handy when you are trying to gather more information about a subject off in the distance. I have found two occasions where the 2x lens can be troublesome; when you are digiscoping hand-held with binoculars. The telephoto lens will literally magnify the shake of your hands. In the instance I recommend the Slo-mo feature, it really makes a difference. The second instance is in low-light situations. The 2x lens has improved greatly but you will still see more noise in your image versus the wide-angle lens.

Aligning Your Optic

With two different camera lenses you might be wondering how you would align the lens you select over your optic. Our latest Phone Skope cases, makes it very easy to align the telephoto lens. The earlier cases we had to choose which lens was best by testing low-light capabilities and quality of the photo or video. Over the last few years the 2x lens has become much better.

Our latest phone cases are one of the only on the market that allow you to quickly and easily align whichever camera you would like to use. These new cases have a small tab on them that you lift up and slide the adapter plate over whichever lens you would like to use. For the iPhone X/Xs and Xs Max phones, the wide-angle lens is on the top and the telephoto lens is on the bottom. If you are using the iPhone 7/8 Plus, the wide-angle lens is on the left and 2x lens is on the right.

Using A Different Phone?

If you are not using one of these phones and would like to figure out your lens setup try the following : Open the Phone Skope camera app, select the Spotting Scope/Binocular mode, then place your finger over one of the lenses. The Phone Skope Camera app defaults to the wide-angle lens so if the screen is black, you are covering the wide-angle lens. This means your second lens that is not covered is the telephoto lens.

Give the telephoto lens a try, you might find that you like the results much better than the wide angle. As always with your photo, please tag us on social media and use #PhoneSkope. We love seeing our customers photos and video, it inspires to continue to innovate and produce the best digiscoping equipment right here in the USA.

Did you miss Dual Lens Smartphone Cameras : When to use which Part 1? Check it out to get some more great tips on using dual lens cameras!

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