Best zoom lenses for smartphones, 2023
A good zoom lens can make for a great addition to a smartphone astrophotographer's set-up.
A good zoom lens can be an excellent addition to a smartphone astrophotographer's kit.
And the smartphone astrophotography hobby is certainly becoming more popular, due in no small part to a marked increase in quality of smartphone cameras released over the past few years.
Take the Google Pixel, for example. Its Night Sight mode was specifically created with astrophotographers in mind, which shows how smartphone manufacturers have been waking up to the fact that more and more of us want to be able to photograph the night sky with a smartphone.
Attaching your phone to a telescope may be the ultimate way of producing beautiful smartphone astrophotos, but there is a lot that can be achieved with nothing more than a decent smartphone, a tripod and a good astrophotography app like NightCap or PhotoPills.
One other smartphone accessory that will help you capture beautiful shots is a good zoom lens.
While it may be true that zoom lenses are slightly less in demand now that the biggest smartphone companies have begun equipping their devices with impressive digital zooms, there are many fantastic smartphone zoom lenses out there that can help you capture even better astrophotos.
Here are 5 smartphone zoom lenses available to astrophotographers today.
5 smartphone zoom lenses
CamKix Lens Kit
The CamKix Lens Kit might be best described as an entry-level kit, and will certainly suit those who are after something a bit lower-budget. The set-up includes an 8x zoom telephoto lens with manual focus ring, which is a great option for lunar astrophotography, as well as a wide angle lens and a fisheye lens.
The kit also comes with a tiny tripod that will help you keep your shot steady and sturdy, a phone bracket and a case for attaching the zoom lens to your phone. It also includes a velvet carrying bag for keeping your lenses protected during transport.
Olivon 8-24x40 Zoom Monocular
If you want to get a little more serious with your lunar astrophotography without increasing the size of your rig, digiscoping might be worth a try. This monocular can be used with a smartphone telescope eyepiece adaptor to produce a fantastic zoom lens setup for astrophotography.
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The monocular boasts an 8x to 24x magnification range, multi-coated optics and a rubber eye cup that can be adapted for use with or without spectacles. Although the additional eyepiece adapter would be required, the Olivon 8-24×40 Zoom Monocular is a great option for smartphone astrophotography.
Sony DSC-QX10 Smart Lens
The Sony DSC-QX10 Smart Lens can be mounted on iPhones and Androids and offers wireless connectivity as well as built-in WiFi. It also includes image stabilisation and 10x optical zoom. Packed with Zeiss optics, the DSC-QX10 can also be fixed to your phone via a cable and boasts a 18.2 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor.
Considering the hefty price tag that comes with the DSC-QX10, this is one option for those who are serious about their smartphone photography.
Xenvo Pro Lens kit
The Xenvo Pro Lens Kit is a clip-on lens for iPhone and Android devices that can capture macro and wide-angle images. It’s fitted with soft rubber pads to help avoid scratching your smartphone during use and also features a quick-release lanyard that could come in handy if you need to quickly take advantage of a sudden break in the clouds.
Apexel 36x telephoto
The Apexel 36x telephoto offers 36x magnification and adjustable focussing that can be performed by rotating the focus. It also boasts a Schmidt prism and multi-element coated glass lenses. What’s more, beyond its performance as a zoom lens for smartphones, it can also be used as a monocular telescope.
Iain Todd is BBC Sky at Night Magazine's Content Editor. He fell in love with the night sky when he caught his first glimpse of Orion, aged 10.