Since most smartphones today have both wide and tele lenses built-in, do you really need a 3rd party one?
The short answer, yes. Let us explain.
First, adding a tele lens allows you to use the built-in wider aperture lens (you put the 3rd party tele lens on it). On the iPhone XS Max (which we now shoot with) the wide lens is a f/1.8 and the tele lens is a f/2.4. Or on the iPhone 8 Plus (which was our previous phone and we still use it as well) the wide lens is a f/1.8 and the tele is a f/2.8.
So why does this matter?
By using the wider aperture combined with the tele you'll get shallower depth-of-field and better low light performance. Those alone are worth adding a 3rd party lens.
But wait, there's more. :) Watch this to find out...
So adding a tele lens can really enhance the look of your footage (and photography too for that matter) along with helping on a technical level on iPhones (Did you watch the video? Go watch, you'll see what we mean).
The tele lenses we use are from Moment. The original 60mm was probably their weakest lens as it did vignette some and was also pretty soft - especially on the edges. But on the video side of things (versus photography) it actually performed okay (we shot our short film "The Unicorn" with it and liked the look).
But recently they updated the lens to a 58mm and it is now one of their better lenses! We still think their 18mm wide lens is probably the best lens they have, but this one is a pretty close second for us.
Of course Moment is not the only 3rd party lens maker out there. Sirui and Sandmarc also make nice lenses - although full disclosure - we've never used them. We keep hearing from our YouTube community and friends on Twitter though that they are very solid (we hope to get some in the future).
So, do you have a tele lens? If so, which one do you prefer?
If you don't have one we definitely recommend adding one to your mobile filmmaking (and photography) kit. No really, go buy one now. We think you'll be surprised at the results you can get with your phone.