iPhone 4 plus monster lens equals… still an iPhone 4

The idea of kitting out an iPhone with such a huge lens is at once whimsical and potentially useful, but people shouldn’t get carried away. A lens might be a fun accessory, but remember what we learned about optics and sensors. Every image, no matter what lens is on there, will have to pass through the iPhone’s significantly lower-quality lens eventually, and ends up hitting a microscopic sensor and being immediately converted to relatively low-bitrate H264 video. The iPhone 4 shoots tolerable video to begin with; why can’t we be happy with that?

Well, because doing stuff like this is fun. How cool is it to fiddle around with a big manual lens clamped to your freaking iPhone?! Actually, that probably doesn’t work at all. Lenses like that one are designed with a completely different focal system in mind, and the image comes out the interior end in a size and shape the iPhone wouldn’t know what to do with.

Sure, you could get one of those OWLE systems, use a steadicam and monopod and all that, but at some point you’re going to wish you had a real camera with a real lens and real mechanical focus. It’s all fun and games, but when you get serious about shooting video, all you can see are the flaws in your system. Even operators of hundred-thousand-dollar rigs will tell you that they shoot around their setup’s limitations. The iPhone has many such limitations, not least of which would be image quality that can’t really be improved by putting a lens in front of it.

Anyway, I’ve gone on far too long here. “Look, an iPhone with a lens on it!” would probably have sufficed.

[via many places on the internet]