Photo Illustration by Josh Raab for TIME
By Josh Raab
Updated: June 23, 2017 10:14 AM ET | Originally published: December 28, 2015

The iPhone’s camera is plenty powerful, but it does have limitations. Because it has a fixed focal length, it can’t produce images that are truly telephoto or wide-angle, for instance.

Luckily for iPhone photographers, a wide variety of third-party lens attachments are now on the market. They make it possible to get all sorts of unique photos with the iPhone’s camera, expanding shooters’ creative potential.

TIME tested a number of these lens attachments to see which stand out from the pack. Each was tested on an iPhone 6s and the first three on the iPhone 7 Plus as well. Here’s what we found.

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Moment Lenses (2017)

Josh Raab for TIME

With an improved build, these metal and glass lenses feel almost like the real thing. Once the case is on they are easy to swap out. The case is a massive improvement to the stick on mounts that came with the first lens, just be sure to get the right sized Moment case for your phone.

Buy now: Moment Lens, $80 and up, Amazon | Moment Case, $30, Amazon


FLIR ONE Pro - 3rd Gen (2017)

Josh Raab for TIME

The latest FLIR lens takes one step closer to putting military-style thermal technology in your pocket. It connects directly to an iPhone’s charging port. It is worth noting that the FLIR watermark bakes itself into each image, forcing photographers who want to remove it to crop it out of the image itself.

Buy now: FLIR One Pro, $250, Amazon


DxO One

Josh Raab for TIME

The DxO One is a fully functioning camera that allows photographers almost full manual control. Using it’s own camera and lens, it is controlled through the app but does not use the iPhone’s camera at all. It even has it’s own miniature live screen on the back and emits a wifi signal to connect remotely to the phone. When plugged in it is easiest used horizontally.

Buy now: DxO One, $475, Amazon


Photojojo Iris

Photojojo Iris Wide Lens
Josh Raab for TIME

This lens connector and three-lens set comes with an E-Z Installation guide, but there was nothing easy about actually attaching the gear. The Iris works with some cases thanks to a small piece of plastic inserted between the phone and the case. Once installed, the lenses worked well, though the mount keeping them attached to an iPhone is bulky and uncomfortable to use.

Buy now: Photojojo Iris, $70, Amazon

 


Olloclip 4-in-1

Olloclip 4-in-1 Lens
Josh Raab for TIME

The Olloclip packs a lens on either side, meaning both your landscapes and your selfies can be improved. They don’t always fit snugly on the iPhone 6s, but an accompanying case helps. A diverse set of lens options means there’s glass for every kind of photography, ranging from close-up macro images to funky fisheye photos.

Buy now: Olloclip 4-in-1, $80, Amazon


Mobi-Lens Kit

Mobi Fisheye Lens
Josh Raab for TIME

These clip-on lenses aren’t much to look at, but they’re tons of fun to look through. The fisheye lens offers a full 180-degree view with plenty of curvature, while another option offers a more normal wide-angle result. The Mobi lenses are easy to attach and remove, and can work with many thin iPhone cases.

Buy now: Mobi-Lens Kit, $24, Amazon

 


Lensbaby Creative Mobile Lens Kit

LM-30 Lens
Josh Raab for TIME

Lensbaby’s tiny lenses are easy to use and relatively inexpensive. The glass provides varying zoom magnifications, including a 2x extender. The company’s most fun lens to use is the LM-30, which creates a prism effect around the edges of your images. The lime green plastic mount isn’t the nicest-looking, but it does allow for each magnetic lens to be snapped on and off with ease.

Buy now: Lensbaby Creative Lens Kit, $100, Amazon


ALM mCAMLITE Starter Kit

ALM 37 Wide Converter Lens
Josh Raab for TIME

While most photography equipment strives to be low weight, the ALM mCAMLITE is intentionally heavy. This lens is actually a mount intended for taking video; the weight provides increased stabilization. The lens’ size imitates the look and feel of a professional camera—and weighs almost as much, coming in at 1.2 pounds. The stabilizer includes mounts for tripods, an external microphone, an external flash, and interchangeable lenses.

The ALM might be overkill for amateur photographers, but it could be ideal for serious shooters out there.

Buy now: ALM mCAMLITE Kit, $100, Amazon


Insta360 Nano

The Insta360 Nano does not use the phone’s camera, instead attaching a separate camera to the iPhone through its charging port. The attachment is solidly built and easy to use. It requires the use of a proprietary app, but allows for the user to easily shoot 360 degree photos and videos. Here’s a 360 degree photo we took with it. One quirk is that because the camera plugs into the bottom of the iPhone, the user has to hold the phone upside down while shooting. This may seem strange at first, but is not as inconvenient as it may sound.

Buy now: Insta360 Nano, $200, Amazon

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