Distortion, or the lack there-of. One of the surprising things about the Sirui 18mm lens on the iPhone SE2020 and the Moment thin case is how little distortion there is both across the field and at the edges of the field. If you have used other wide angle add-on lenses for your phone, or even the native wide angle lens if you phone is equipped with one, you know that this level of quality is the exception, not the rule. This shot did require some “vertical perspective” correction in Polarr as the 18mm perspective tips verticals back toward the horizon if you have the camera pointing up at all, as in this case, to catch more of the sky drama…but that is just something all lenses do whenever the sensor is not perpendicular to the horizon. It is so common in photographs that we generally do not even see it. Architectural photographers, who care about such things, use special lenses which eliminate the vertical tilt. It can also be corrected in many photo editing apps. iPhone SE2020 with the Moment thin case and the Sirui 18mm lens. Native camera app on Auto.
I am really impressed with the quality of the Sirui 60mm lens when mounted on the iPhone SE2020 and the Moment thin case. This is actually taken with the native Apple Camera App at 2x digital zoom, giving me a nice close up at 120mm equivalent. I am beginning to see the appeal of a phone with multiple cameras and different focal lengths from ultra-wide to moderate telephoto. Something like the iPhone 12 Pro model…but I am a long way from replacing my SE. 🙂 For now I can deal with switching lenses as needed. The Moment thin case makes it easy.
The Sirui 18mm lens on the iPhone SE2020 produces an interesting field of view, in that, unlike many ultra-wide lenses I have worked with in the past, at least in the standard 4×3 format of the iPhone Camera App, it is wide in both dimensions…capturing an image which is both broader and taller than normal. Makes sense. If you want a more panoramic effect, you can switch to the 16×9 format. Technically, you should not get any wider a view since the 16×9 format is just a crop of the 4×3, but in practice you do gain a few pixels along the edges. The longer, more narrow view, with less foreground and sky does have its appeal, as it produces a very “expansive” feeling in landscapes.
Of course you could just crop the 4×3 image in post processing, but there are, I think, advantages to composing in the 16×9 format in the field. It makes you look at the world differently, and, in fact, opens you to new imaging possibilities. This shot with the subject (object?) in one corner of the long thin frame, for instance.
Using the native Camera App on the iPhone, it is just a matter of opening the control panel and choosing the 16×9 format. Worth a try when working with landscapes and other stationary objects 🙂 Sirui 18mm lens on the Moment thin case on my iPhone SE2020. Native Camera App on auto.
One of the things I love about the 18mm view is the interesting perspective of the ultra-wide angle lens. In normal landscapes it is not so obvious…nothing like a “fish-eye” lens for instance, but once you get in close or down low, the perspective opens out in a why that your normal lens just can’t match…with extreme depth of field. Not all 18mm lenses work. Many ultra-wide lenses, especially add on lenses for phones, have a lot of distortion in the field and a lot of softness at the edges that destroys the perspective effect. Not so the Sirui…which is, in many ways, as good as my Sony 18mm combo lens, or the ZEISS Touit that I used for a while. A very fun lens to use. iPhone SE 2020 with the Moment thin case and the Sirui 18mm lens. Native Apple Camera App. ISO 20 @ 1/1350th.
In working with the Sirui 400mm on my iPhone SE 2020 I have pretty much decided that I am never going to really be content with the images it produces, as images. They just do not compete with even a simple long-zoom point and shoot camera, let alone with my Sony Rx10iv. However, shooting 4k video through the Sirui 400mm is another matter all together. I am quite pleased with the results. The video in this post is shot in 4K and then reduced to 720p for posting here, and it is still, I think, quite good. Sirui 400mm, on the Moment thin case on the iPhone SE 2020. Stock camera app. Mounted on a selfie tripod and released via bluetooth release. From inside my backyard photo blind. I prefocused on the feeder and just waited for the birds to land. They did not always sit for long 🙂
The trick with the Sirui Macro lens is getting the right distance. It has a very narrow range of focus. It also has a little translucent “hood” that gives the approximate distance for closest focus, which might be useful for coins and such, but is less useful in nature. It is a matter of moving the phone closer and further until you get a sharp image on the screen…and if your subject has any dimension to it…until the parts of your subject you want in focus are in focus. And, again, I find that using a camera app that allows you to set the shutter speed is a big help, as you are generally at an awkward angle to hold the phone as steady as you might like while touching the shutter icon, or pressing the volume buttons. iPhone SE 2020 with the Moment thin case and the Sirui 10x Macro lens.
One of my hopes for the Sirui 60mm “portrait” lens was that I would be able to use it for telephoto macro shots…to capture butterflies, dragonflies, flowers, and other small subjects from a reasonable distance. 60mm is not much reach, but it is way better than the native semi-wide angle lens on the phone. Add 2x digital zoom, which, on my iPhone SE 2020 at least, produces images which are quite good…all but indistinguishable from non-digital zoom images…and you are out to 120mm and a reasonable working distance for telephoto macros. This is an easy shot, in that the subject was not going anywhere fast…or anywhere at all. It is not dragonfly season yet, but I hope to get a chance to test the Sirui 60mm on a moving target soon. I am certainly pleased with the level of detail in this shot. iPhone SE 2020 with the native camera app in Auto, Moment thin case, and Sirui 60mm. 2x digital zoom.
In good light, the iPhone SE 2020 and the Sirui 18mm on the Moment thin case produces excellent results…to the point where I no longer feel the need to carry my Sony a6500 and its 18mm equivalent lens combo. For the landscapes I like to capture with the ultra-wide, and for the ways I use those landscapes, the phone and Sirui lens does just fine. I am also quite happy with the built in Apple Camera App for landscapes. I am not sure when or if the “Smart HDR” feature is being activated, but I like the results. The balance between light and shade is very natural.
Playing with the Sirui 10x macro lens on the iPhone SE 2020 with the Moment thin case. Another very good lens though a lens I will have to remember to use more often. I find that I have to put myself in macro mode on occasion or I don’t take macros. This is a common moss in the forest here in Southern Maine, growing mostly on decaying wood, almost exclusively on still rooted tree stumps. I do not know enough about moss to know its name, but it certainly is pretty as a macro. I find that for macros, I need a higher shutter speed than the built in camera app is likely to choose, or my finger on the shutter touch blurs the image, so this was taken with ProShot using the same custom preset I use for the Sirui 400mm, with the shutter speed pegged to 1/500th. As spring comes on here in Southern Maine, and I have more photo ops, I will likely be splitting the Nature Phonography posts from the Pic for today posts. 🙂
I took a short ride on my trike yesterday, and an even shorter walk out into the forest along the way to see what I could see and to play with the Sirui lens set on my iPhone SE 2020. I have the Moment thin case, so mounting the lenses is just a twist. I got out the 10x Macro lens for its first real world test. I was surprised at the depth of field…much greater than I expected, but still shallow enough to isolate a subject against its background. You need to be able to get really close to your subject. This not a “telephoto macro.” The main trick is to keep out of your own, and the phone’s shadow. Overall I am impressed. This lens is going to be a lot of fun, if I can remember to use it. 🙂 A bit of moss with a pine cone embedded from beside the trail made a vivid macro still life. iPhone SE 2020 with Sirui 10x macro on the Moment thin case. Stock Camera App on Auto. Processed in Apple Photos.