The Snugle lens for the smartphone: Macro photography with the iPhone

I like the snugle. Due to the unconventional attachment and the minimal size, you can always have the lens with you and use it with a cover.

A few weeks ago I had in my Instagram profile a few likes from a user who had very nice macro photos in their profile. On the profile page I found a link to Snugle - a small macro lens for smartphones.

Since the website had a German imprint, I just wrote harmlessly to the email stored there and asked for a test copy of the lens, as I really like to take macro shots, but unfortunately currently don't have a suitable lens for the iPhone XS. After a nice e-mail answer, my first Snugle arrived a few days later - ready for the first test photos!

The Snugle I - ready for an extensive test at Sir Apfelot (Photos: Sir Apfelot).

The Snugle I - ready for an extensive test at Sir Apfelot (Photos: Sir Apfelot).

Why is the Snugle Macro Lens Special?

Additional lenses for the iPhone and other smartphones are now a dime a dozen. But the main problem with the lenses is that they usually only fit on a special iPhone model, as the position of the camera lens on the iPhone changes almost every year and two lenses have been installed for several generations. We'll probably even find three lenses in the upcoming 2019 iPhone.

As a result, you can actually buy a new set of additional lenses with every iPhone, because the attachment of the smartphone lenses is usually tailored to a specific iPhone model and is no longer compatible with the new device.

This is what the Snugle I looks like - definitely different from all other additional lenses that you can get for the iPhone.

This is what the Snugle I looks like - definitely different from all other additional lenses that you can get for the iPhone.

Minimalism makes you flexible

The makers of the Snugle Macro Lens are taking a refreshingly uncomplicated and innovative approach: Instead of rigid mounts, there is a small blob of adhesive dough with which the Snugle lens can be attached not only to any iPhone model, but even to any smartphone leaves. In my photos you can see how to get from the clay lump to the attached lens.

With the removable plasticine adhesive, the Snugle can be attached to the iPhone quickly and easily.

With the removable plasticine adhesive, the Snugle can be attached to the iPhone quickly and easily.

Snugle fits with and without a case

The use of my iPhone case has also always been critical in the past, because most additional lenses for the iPhone either come with their own case or are designed in such a way that they wrap directly around an edge of the Apple smartphone. If you have a favorite cover, you can actually assume that it is guaranteed to be incompatible with the lens system.

Due to the unconventional attachment with a small lump of clay and thanks to its small design, the Snugle lens can be used with any iPhone protective case - or even without a case.

No matter which case you have on your smartphone: As long as the camera is left out, you can also attach the Snugle.

No matter which case you have on your smartphone: As long as the camera is left out, you can also attach the Snugle.

Snugle I, II or III

Currently there are only the models Snugle I and Snugle II, which have a quasi-light and a medium magnification factor. The Snugle III model is planned with a special holder, as it has the greatest magnification and accordingly it is easy to shake and there is a greater risk that the lens will not be placed completely centered.

For my test, I received the advance versions of Snugle I and II and was able to take photos with them. I hope to receive the Snugle III for another test when it becomes available. The recordings shown below were all taken with the Snugle I. I will soon take a few more photos with the Snugle II and then present them in a separate post, as this one has already grown a bit because of the Snugle I photos.

Here you can see the Snugle lens 1 (left) and 2 (right) in the picture.

Here you can see the Snugle lens I (left) and II (right) in the picture. Due to its construction, the Snugle II is more difficult to attach, as it has to be positioned more precisely over the iPhone lens.

Macro lens optical performance

When using the Snugle lens, it is particularly important that it is positioned exactly over the existing camera lens and that it is properly centered. If you are "wrong" here, you will get blurred and distorted areas in the image that you do not want to have. The kneading attachment not only has advantages, but there are also many additional lenses that are attached to the iPhone with a clip and also do not center themselves automatically. So these models have the same problem.

Once the macro lens has been attached to the iPhone, you can take photos. Accessories like that Photo ball you can safely leave it at home, because the lens is primarily intended for close-ups and - like all macro lenses - does not bring much Depth of field into the picture. A smartphone lens that is inherently faint is not necessarily an advantage.

At the bottom left you can see that the photo is slowly becoming blurred. This is a normal effect that occurs when using such additional lenses. The greater the magnification, the greater the blurring of the edges.

On the left and right at the edge you can see that the photo is slowly becoming blurred. This is a normal effect that occurs when using such additional lenses. The greater the magnification, the greater the blurring of the edges.

Edited macro photos taken with the Snugle I and iPhone XS

But here are a few recordings that I was able to take with the Snugle and which I feel are quite appealing. I edited all of the photos slightly - that is, cropped them and made slight corrections to color, contrast and the like.

A raspberry up close.

A raspberry up close.

 

This fly was also interested in raspberries.

This fly was also interested in raspberries. The picture only has a shallow depth of field, but the details on the fly's head are not bad.

 

Here the head of the fly can be seen in 100% resolution. Of course, this is no longer as sharp as with the scaled-down image, but you can see how big the resolution of the macro shots actually is.

Here the head of the fly can be seen in 100% resolution. This is of course not as sharp as with the small image, but you can see how big the resolution of the macro shots actually is.

 

Here you can see a close-up of lichen on a 3 cm thick branch. Above left is a photo taken without the Snugle.

Here you can see a close-up of lichen on a 3 cm thick branch. Above left is a photo taken without the Snugle.

 

No, not a device from the SM needs, but the scroll wheel of the Satechi mouse that I once tested.

No, not a device from the SM needs, but the scroll wheel of the Satechi mouse that I once tested.

A macro photograph of a 1 cent piece. Although the Snugle 1 only has the smallest magnification factor of the three Snugle lenses, you can record enormous details.

A macro photograph of a 1 cent piece. Although the Snugle 1 only has the smallest magnification factor of the three Snugle lenses, you can record enormous details.

I think this picture of a bee on a sunflower is very successful. I had taken about 5 photos before I got one that had the bee in focus and in an appealing position.

I think this picture of a bee on a sunflower is very successful. I had taken about 5 photos before I got one that had the bee in focus and in an appealing position.

A clothes peg up close - looks kind of interesting too.

A clothes peg up close - looks kind of interesting too.

 

A button on the EasyAcc F10 that I also recently tested. I measured it: it is exactly 7 mm wide.

A button on the EasyAcc F10 that I also recently tested. I measured it: it is exactly 7 mm wide.

 

A torx screw head on a decking board. At the top left you can see a normal photo of the hallway.

A torx screw head on a decking board. At the top left you can see a normal photo of the hallway. The blurring in the left area of ​​the image may have been caused by incorrectly centering the Snugle lens on the iPhone lens.

 

A blossom in a macro photo - beautiful colors and the structure of the petals and the pistil give the photo an appealing effect.

A blossom in a macro photo - beautiful colors and the structure of the petals and the pistil give the photo an appealing effect.

 

This photo looks particularly interesting from my point of view, because the stamp of the flower is sharp and the rest of it is blurred.

This photo looks particularly interesting from my point of view, because the stamp of the flower is sharp and the rest of it is blurred.

 

Unfortunately, this bloom of a rose had already turned brown in some places. Nevertheless, from my point of view it is a nice photo opportunity.

Unfortunately, this bloom of a rose had already turned brown in some places. Nevertheless, from my point of view it is a nice photo opportunity.

 

Each of these flowers is only 4-5 mm in size. They would have been totally inconspicuous on a normal iPhone photo. With the Snugle 1 they become an eye-catcher.

Each of these flowers is only 4-5 mm in size. They would have been totally inconspicuous on a normal iPhone photo. With the Snugle 1 they become an eye-catcher.

 

Another pretty shot of a flower. Here, too, the bokeh effect is the style element that makes the photo so special.

Another pretty shot of a flower. Here, too, the bokeh effect is the style element that makes the photo so special.

 

In terms of the image composition, this is not a brilliant achievement, but you can see with the coffee bean, which magnification can already be achieved with the Snugle 1.

In terms of the image composition, this is not a brilliant achievement, but you can see with the coffee bean, which magnification can already be achieved with the Snugle 1.

 

The tip of a macro-sized ballpoint pen. Unfortunately, the subject is not very exciting, but this photo again shows the performance of the Snugle lens.

The tip of a macro-sized ballpoint pen. Unfortunately, the subject is not very exciting, but this photo again shows the performance of the Snugle lens.

 

Tip: take lots of photos!

My tip, which by the way applies to all additional lens systems for the iPhone: Better take a few more pictures, because the sharpness is often wrong, the automatic white balance is wrong or you have a wrong image section. The more photos you have to choose from, the higher the probability that there will be a good one with everything right.

Incidentally, when using such lenses, the sharpness is no longer set by tapping the lens on the display, but the distance between the iPhone camera and the photo subject is varied. Since you only have a shallow depth of field available, you have to keep an eye on the display and pull the trigger at the right moment, because with flowers in a light wind or with bees running in sunflowers, you miss the right focus pretty quickly - I speak from experience.

Additional lenses confuse the camera's automatic system

Another problem is the automatic operation of the iPhone camera. This is often irritated by additional lenses, which you notice when you snap it that the colors, the exposure or the contrast become strange. In my case, for example, the 1x lens on the iPhone XS threw out pretty confused colors while the 2x telephoto lens on the iPhone XS worked very well.

The iPhone sometimes brings out strange colors when the camera automatic is irritated by the lens (Photo: Sir Apfelot).

The iPhone sometimes brings out strange colors when the camera automatic is irritated by the lens (Photo: Sir Apfelot).

When can I buy the Snugle?

Unfortunately, you have to be patient until the three Snugle models are available in stores. The plan is that in October / November 2019 the first models in our own webshop at LilScope.com can be found. Later on, the Snugles can also be ordered from Amazon. I will then add that here accordingly.

I like the snugle. Due to the unconventional attachment and the minimal size, you can always have the lens with you and use it with a cover.

I like the snugle. Due to the unconventional attachment and the minimal size, you can always have the lens with you and use it with a cover.

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