Friday, December 14, 2012

Jelly Lens Camera Accessory Set


   What are these funny little colorful things?  Camera lenses!  Miniature temporary lenses for your cell phone that simply stick on, remove easily and can be reused.  I've been enjoying Instagram more but have been frustrated by my cell phone's focus limits.  I picked them up because I wanted a macro lens for my smart phone, and these were one of the cheaper options.  So what do I think of them?  How well do they work?  I'll tell you!

   The concept is very simple - each lens or filter has a sticky ring that will fit around your cell phone's lens.  When it isn't in place on your phone it has a round plastic disc cap to place on it.  Each package includes a color-matched leash for attaching to your phone, but I have already removed most of these for my pictures. I would not suggest using the straps as they only wanted to get in the way for me, and the sticky jelly rings will get dirty if they are dangling about.  I store mine strapless in a little tin:

   To help you understand just how these work and stock to your phone, here are two lenses with and without their caps.  Straps have been removed but I left them in the background.

   There are 14 lenses (or 12 sets, 2 packages include 2 instead of 1) that you can find in this style, and as I have not had the opportunity to take pictures with each one of them that I would actually keep, I'm snagging this collage right from the Jelly Lens website with their own examples of the photo effects.

Image source.
   If you browse their Online store each you can click to see a tiny image off what each lens does on it's shop page.  Let's take a look at my group shot one more time I'm I'll list my filters from left to right, pointing them out by color.

Top Row:
Lime Green, Wide Angle Lens - this lens will let your camera lens "see more", or give a fisheye effect for up close shots.  Quite nice and two useful effects in one!
Red, Stretch Lens - by placing the lens vertically or horizontally you can essentially make something (someone) look skinnier or fatter.  I'd like to try this for landscape shots, but morphing people doesn't appeal to me.
Light Blue, 6 Image Mirage - a fun kaleidoscope effect.  Not very practical but fun to try!
Light Pink, 3 Image Mirage  - splits the picture in a triple kaleidoscope effect.
Lighter Pink, Heart Frame - makes a red border around your subject that looks more like a triangle than a heart.  This lens comes with the one directly below in my photo, the:
Pale Green, "Blue Filter"/Green Filter -  It is green and does just that.  Make photos green.
Bright Blue, Star Filter -  this one makes a blurry blue star frame around your subject, and is packed with the filter directly below in my picture, the:
Yellow-orange, Sepia Filter - This is more yellow than any sepia I've ever seen, but it does work as a filter.
Middle-Left Row:
Dark Blue, Polarizing Lens - like having your camera wear sunglasses, this cuts glare.  I'm excited to try it for sky pictures!
Orange, Macro Lens - this lets you get super close, in fact you need to be for it to focus at all!
Bottom Row:
Pale Yellow, Soft Lens - puts a central circle in focus and everything around is blurred.
Lavender, Starburst - puts a central circle in focus and creates radiating lines from there, gives an effect of movement.
Aqua, Vignette - central focus area, but the blurred edges are more of a choppy motion blur.
Grey, Spark - This lens has criss-crossing lines to create Xs at points of light and soft focus, potentially a very pretty effect.

   It is worth nothing that all of these lenses will obliterate your flash.  Using flash with these doesn't work.  You will also see the edges of the lens on the outer corners of your pictures.  This isn't an issue for me as I mainly wanted these for Instagram use, and you always crop photos to square for that.  They are also a joke to stick onto my full-size camera, as they are way too small.

   Let me say that all of the lenses work, but I don't think they are all practical.  The mirage lenses are fun, but this isn't an effect I'll reach for often.  The central-focus lenses work nicely but I'm more likely to add border and vignetting effects in during a photo edit.  And the color filter lenses do work but I'd much rather take a color photo and recolor it afterward.  Some of these lenses can be replicated by a digital camera's built-in settings and options, or done by a photo editing app.

   The winners in this collection for me are the Wide Angle/Fisheye, Macro, Polarizer and Spark effect lenses.  Here are a couple of my favorite shots using these that have made it to Instagram so far:

Used the Macro Lens - close up of glitter nail polish.
Used the Spark Lens - more glitter nail polish!

   These lenses are just basic plastic pieces but they work surprisingly well.  As for their stickiness, they can be washed in mild soapy water to revive their sticky rings.  I have to use one hand to hold the lens in place on my phone because I use the original HTC Incredible, and it has a larger camera that protrudes slightly.  My phone isn't very sticky-ring friendly.  I'll always need two hands for taking pictures with these lenses, but it is more reassuring for me to keep my chosen lens between two fingers when I don't have a strap on it.  In contrast all the lenses stick firmly to my husband's Sony phone that has a smaller camera, no issue for him!

   These retail in most Online shops for about $5-$7 per lens, but I didn't go that route to buy my set...  The cheapest way I found to buy these was as a complete set on eBay.  If you're comfortable buying that way that is what I recommend.

   In conclusion I am happy with these lenses but now I know that I didn't need to whole set.  Yes I would recommend them, but realize that means carrying something extra along to use, and they can only help cell-phone quality improve so much.  But most of all they are fun to play with, and I think that is their real intention.  Keep an eye out for more of my Instagram pictures using these!

   Hello!  My name is Rochelle, and as the creator of Princessly Polished, your feedback means the world!  Leave a comment or send me an email.  Thanks for reading... stay polished!

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  1. Macro lens is AMAZING!! I really need to get it :)
    Thanks for sharing!!

  2. I have the most fun with that one! You're welcome!

  3. I ordered a couple of these! It will take awhile to get... but I am so excited! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Great! Mine arrived pretty fast, hopefully yours do, too! You're welcome!

  5. Take a look at - fits all smart phones, cheap, and fun to wear!

  6. I want to try these lenses. They seem pretty cool. Thanks so much for sharing!

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