For almost as long as phones have had built-in cameras, people have been snapping additional lenses onto them. We can’t help it—as good as smartphone cameras have gotten over the years, we still yearn for fish-eyes, macros, and better overall image quality.
These lenses vary in quality and style, but almost all connect to your phone with some huge, clunky case. You probably already have case for your phone—the last thing you need is another one to juggle as photo opportunities pass you by.
Now, the folks at Photojojo are looking to revolutionize the world of detachable lenses using something remarkably simple: a cord.
The Iris Lens is a professional-grade attachment lens that can mount over your smartphone camera, regardless of whether or not it’s already in a case. It’s one of those gizmos that’s so simple and so effective that it’s hard to imagine why it took this long to get invented in the first place.
The mount is simple and secure thanks to the device’s elastomeric paracord, which is basically a bungie cord. (In fact, elastomeric paracord appears to be a phrase invented by Photojojo—the only place it appears is in articles describing the Iris Lens).
Photojojo is offering the Iris Lens in three variations—wide-angle, macro, and fish-eye. They’ll attach to a number of iPhone and Android devices (including both the Galaxy S5 and S6), and they’ll do it whether or not you have a case on your phone. Photojojo says it’s actively working on more phone-specific mounting plates for other Android devices.
So just how good are these lenses? They appear to work pretty darn well, based on the sample shots provided by Photojojo.
Once you’re done taking pictures, the Iris Lens converts into its own carrying case, complete with wrist strap.
The Iris Lens is currently available for preorder at Photojojo ($59 for a single lens, $109 for all three), and will ship the week of December 14.