Cool gadgets for iPhone photographers

iPhone owners love the cameras on their phones, and with good reason—the iPhone is giving point-and-shoots a run for their money. These fun accessories will take your iPhoneography (or iPod touchography) to the next level. They also make great stocking stuffers.

The Glif

The brand new Glif accessory for iPhone 4 is the ultimate multipurpose mounting tool. This recyclable rubberized plastic piece can be used to prop up the phone or attach it to any standard tripod. It can also hold the iPhone at several angles for movie viewing or stable picture taking. The Glif costs $20 and began shipping this week.

Attachable metal lenses

For picture quality that’s more akin to a DSLR than a camera phone, pick up this set of metal lenses from Photojojo. The lenses ($40 for both the fisheye and one combo wide angle/macro lens) attach to the iPhone with a magnet and a small metal ring that you stick around your phone’s lens. The tiny, metal lenses are lightweight and attach easily to a key chain or wrist strap. If you’re using an iPhone 4, the metal circle will cover your flash, but you can cut a small section from it to make it work. These images show a before and after example of the fisheye lens, which costs $25 by itself.

Up close with a macro lens

The image on the left was taken with an iPhone without the Macro lens, and the photo on the right was snapped with the lens attached. The macro/wide-angle lens costs $20 by itself.

Color lens and flash filters

Kola Colored Lens and Flash Filters ($15; Photojojo) come in a pack of eight. While not iPhone specific, the colored gels can be held over the lens or flash of an iPhone or iPod touch to create a range of colored effects. The filters are a great old school tool for adding a tint of a single shade to your photos, but they’re not ideal for layering and there’s no way of actually attaching the filters to the camera.

While Kola offers a wider range of color, a hands-free alternative to the filters can be found at USB Fever for iPhone 3G and 3GS users. Here, you can get a single lens that rotates to display yellow, green, or red filters ($24).

Instant video rig

Both iPhone 3G and 4 users will be able to reap the (bountiful) benefits of the OWLE case. The OWLE is an aluminum camera mount with a microphone and wide angle/macro lens. For $160 you can bring your iPhone up to speed with many of the handheld camcorders on the market.

Joby Gorillamobile tripod and bumper

Joby's Gorillapod for the iPhone is an iPhone case that clips into a flexible legged tripod. The case is a simple plastic shell (for 3G, 3GS, and iPod touch; $30) or bumper (for iPhone 4; $40) that mounts onto the tripod for stable photography, time lapse, and video recording. The Gorillamobile holds its own against other iPhone tripods because the legs can bend or wrap around objects to capture the perfect angle.

Zoom lens and iPhone case

iPhone cameras are notoriously near-sighted, but with this case, lens, and stand available at USBFever ($35), you can increase the zoom of your iPhone 4 camera up to 8 times. A similar gadget from ($20) adds 6x zoom to the iPhone 3G and 3GS cameras.

Clarifi case

For $30 (the cost of most phone cases from the Apple Store), you can get a case that protects your phone while boosting your photos. Griffin Technology's Clarifi Cases for the 3G and 3GS iPhone models are available in black or white and feature a sliding lens that enhances the iPhone’s close up shots. When you’re ready to shoot at a normal range again, just push the lens aside with your fingertip.

Special effect jelly lenses

This trio of brightly colored filters ($15; Photojojo) make for fun photos, but also garner bonus points for being easily attachable and detachable. For $15, you get a three pack of lens that provide wide angle, kaleidoscope, and fuzzy-edged starburst (pictured before and after here) effects. The back of each lens is a reusable gummy ring that sticks to the back your iPhone. The lenses can sometimes fall off, but on the plus side they don’t leave any sticky residue after they're gone.

iPhone cover with wrist strap

The iPhone lacks noticeably in the wrist strap department. If you’re using your phone as a camera, being able to quickly whip it into snapping position when you see a great photo opportunity is key. The Bone Collection Phone Bubble case ($15; available for the 3GS, 3G, and iPhone 4) is a fun protective case that comes with a wrist strap that’s perfect for keeping your phone (and attachable lenses) nearby and accessible.

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