Best camera accessories for iPhone and Android

9 oddball accessories to bring your iPhone or Android photos to the next level

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HTC

Smartphone camera accessories, in general, are in the throes of a turbulent adolescence. The selfie stick seems to be telling the story of a larger trend with smartphone accessories: Some are made for some bizarre purpose that seems unapologetically bizarre, while others are actually so useful that you should consider adding to your bag of tricks. As smartphones now dominate casual photography, expect the number of accessories that users can buy to “enhance” their photo-taking to skyrocket. We’ve assembled a list of some of the unconventional smartphone camera accessories out there — from the ridiculous to the brilliant.

HTC RE Camera ($44)

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Why use a periscope-esque device to shoot mobile photos? For starters, it’ll totally go with your Captain Nemo beanie. The HTC Re is waterproof up to 10 feet (30 feet with included rubber case) and enables quicker snapshots. The Re captures 16-megapixel images or 1080p videos with the touch of its one button. The Re camera hasn’t been updated for a while, and we doubt HTC will be making any more.

Read our full HTC RE review

Buy now from:

Amazon

Chest Mount for iPhone ($48)

chest strap for iPhone 6
store.hitcase.com

The action camera is pretty much the domain of GoPro, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck if you want to use your iPhone to achieve the same POV function. Film your epic lines with this iPhone chest mount from HitCase, which frees your hands from having to hold the phone so that, you know, you can concentrate on not wiping out.

Buy now from:

Amazon

iOgrapher Filmmaking Case ($50-60)

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Steady your iPhone footage with the iOgrapher case made from polycarbonate. It has mounts-galore to attach lighting and audio gear. We think it looks a little like a childproof tablet case or your 7th grade soccer trophy. But it’s far more practical and less expensive than other, iPhone camera accessories. It also has a port to attach your iPhone to any standard tripod and has a enough space to attach a converter lens from iOgrapher.

Buy now from:

Amazon iOgrapher

Cliquefie ($50)

cliquefie
Cliquefie

The Cliquefie is an attempt at perfecting the selfie stick – and it may have succeeded. Described as “chic, lightweight, and ultra-portable,” Cliquefie’s makers seem to be targeting the female demographic (never mind that a photo of the Cliquefie in a pink purse resembles a feminine hygiene product). But compared to bulky selfie sticks you buy at the drugstore, the Cliquefie is stylish. But there are other ingenious features: It has a detachable Bluetooth remote, an inconspicuous phone mount, and a retractable tripod! A Mini version ($30) is available for smaller bags, like said purse, but lacks the removable remote. We still think selfie sticks are annoying for most situations, but at least the Cliquefie can be quickly stashed away when the museum guard steps into the room. It comes in a variety of colors.

Buy now from:

Cliquefie

Megaverse Anti-Gravity iPhone Case ($30)

Like a handful of other products on this list, the Mega Tiny Anti-Gravity Phone Case was brought to life with the help of Kickstarter. As its name suggests, this case lets you mount your phone to almost any surface imaginable using a nano-suction surface on the rear of the case.

Mega Tiny, the company behind the project, claims the case is “perfect for hands-free use and selfies.” Just stick it to a wall, mirror, or a window and you’ll have an extra free hand to throw up whatever sign you’re feeling that day. It’s available for all iPhone 5, 6, 7, and SE generations.

Buy now from:

Amazon Mega Tiny

Shiftcam ($125)

Most third-party lens add-ons won’t work with the iPhone 7 Plus’ dual camera lenses, but the Shiftcam isn’t your everyday camera accessory. This case, currently available through Kickstarter, offers six additional add-on lenses that can be used interchangeably by sliding them in front of the lenses. Sure, the case is a bit bulky and isn’t too aesthetically appealing, but who cares? You have a 6-in-1 camera case to use!

Pre-order now from:

Kickstarter

Phoneography Spy Lens ($20)

If you want to be a little more sly with your next smartphone capture, this 90-degree periscoping lens will be your best friend. It uses a mirror, placed at a 45 degree angle inside the device, to snap photos around the corner. It works great for candid shots, high perspective shots, and low perspective shots. Just don’t get caught using it for anything nefarious!

Buy now from:

Photojojo

Miggo Pictar One ($100-$110)

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Smartphones may be our everyday cameras, but let’s face it, they aren’t comfortable to hold and unwieldy to use – at least for photography. The Pictar from Miggo brings familiar camera controls to the iPhone, through a mix of physical controls and a companion app. The neat trick with the Pictar is that it communicates wirelessly with the phone through sound – clicks that are inaudible to the human ear – so it doesn’t need a physical connection, nor does it draw power from the phone (it uses its own battery). The design harks back to old-school film cameras.

Read our full Miggo Pictar review

Buy now from:

Amazon Miggo

Lensbaby Creative Mobile Kit ($100)

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Add-on lenses for phones are a dime a dozen. But Lensbaby’s Creative Mobile Kit is anything but ordinary, but that’s to be expected from a company that makes nothing but creative lenses. Whereas most lenses are about clarity, the Creative Mobile Kit is all about putting fun effects on photos. Using it takes some getting used to, but once you figure out what works, you can give basic photos some artistic flair.

Buy now from:

Amazon Lensbaby

This article was updated on July 2, 2017 to include the Megaverse Anti-Gravity Case, Shiftcam, Phoneography Spy Lens, Miggo Pictar, and Lensbaby Creative Mobile Kit.