I've been snapping some pictures on my iPhone 4 recently. The iPhone 4 is a great casual camera, but I've been running into situations where I wish I had just a bit of zoom. The iPhone doesn't have any optical zoom abilities. What it does have is a ditigal zoom, which produces a very pixelated and ugly result.
After doing some searching, I recently picked up the 2x Optical Zoom lens from USBFever. In my search, I'd found that there were lenses that offered up to 12x zoom (again, which you can get from USBFever). But, besides being rather bulky, these lenses require a tripod. Anyone who's tried taking a steady picture with a smartphone camera knows the difficulties of trying to hold the phone steady. Stick a 12x zoom lens on that phone, and it's not humanly possible to hold the phone steady enough in your hand. But my goal was to get something which I could easily snap on or off in casual use, and lugging around a giant lense and a tripod doesn't seem that casual to me. At that point, you might as well carry around a real camera.
So, a week after ordering, the lens found itself to my door from Hong Kong ready to take for a spin.
The lens itself is screwed in place onto a specialized iPhone case which comes included in the package. The idea is that you keep this case on your iPhone at all times, and then just screw in the lens whenever you need it. I actually really like the case, so that won't be a problem.
After taking some shots, a few things became apparent. First of all, it does indeed zoom. But there's also a very noticeable distortion around the edges, accompanied by a vignette effect. The distortions are more noticeable in some shots than in others.
The distortions will have to be something I keep in mind when deciding whether to use the 2x lens, but I like having the option when I want to see something a bit more closely.