Black Eye Pro Kit G4 Mobile Phone Lenses

9 Black Eye Pro Kit G4 Mobile Phone Lenses

Pros

  • Professional-grade camera lenses
  • Provides users the ability to get more from their smartphones

Cons

  • Lenses can come apart easily if unscrewed
  • Lenses don't click into place on the phone
DESIGN
EASE OF USE
PRICE

Portable Pro Lenses for SmartPhones

As someone who truly enjoys photography, I am always interested in checking out gadgets that can improve my photo game. I keep my 5D Mark IV or EOS-R with me as much as I can but sometimes it’s just not practical to drag them around along with my ThinkTank camera bag. As wonderful as those cameras are for larger shoots, I still rely on my mobile phone (iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max) for quick product photographs on a regular basis. As advanced as the cameras have gotten on smartphones, I will admit that they still have a long way to go to keep up with the DSLR cameras. So the question here is, “What if I can produce even better images with the iPhone using external lenses that I can easily pack around with me instead of a full-size DSLR?” Black Eye Lens has designed a very sleek portable lens system that can pack up quickly and be taken just about anywhere. The Black Eye Pro Kit G4 is a great option for improving your photography with a smartphone. They are designed to work with any smartphone camera system so you can purchase one set and easily use them from one smartphone generation to the next.

Black Eye Pro Kit G4 Mobile Phone Lenses REVIEW

DETAILS

The pro series set of lenses from Black Eye are the high-end lenses that are designed with the highest optical quality in mind. Black Eye created these lenses with premium sharpness, high-end model smartphone cameras, lens coating for high flat resistance, premium chromatic aberration control, and lens coating and glass quality for realistic color reproduction. The Black Eye Pro Kit Lenses are compatible with nearly all smartphone cameras and the fourth generation (G4) lenses are optimized for the newest range of smartphone cameras with larger sensors (iPhone X, Samsung S9, and Pixel 3). The kit includes the Pro Portrait Tele G4 lens, Pro Fisheye G4 lens, Pro Cinema Wide G4 lens, Black Eye universal attachment clip, Lens cap x 3, cleaning cloth, microfiber bag, and protective zipper travel case. The specs for each style lens is listed below. NOTE: Comparison shots between the iPhone’s lens and the Black Eye lens are included throughout this article.

Pro Portrait Tele G4 

  • Sharpness: Sharp in the centre of the frame with a natural drop-off on the edges
  • Vignetting: Close to none
  • Barrel distortion: Close to none
  • Chromatic aberration: 1px at edge 
  • Design: 5 Elements in 4 Groups 
  • Lens coating: Double Sided 3 Layer AR Per Glass Element
  • Magnification ratio: 0,63X 
  • Tv distortion: >-0,5%
  • Resolution(Axis): 300 LP/MM
  • Resolution(Corner): 280 LP/MM
Black Eye Pro Kit G4 Mobile Phone Lenses REVIEW
Portrait photo taken with Pro Portrait Tele G4

Pro Fisheye G4

  • Sharpness: Sharp in the centre of the frame with a minimal natural drop-off on the edges
  • Vignetting: Close to none
  • Barrel distortion: not applicable
  • Chromatic aberration: 1px at edge 
  • Design: 4 Elements in 3 Groups
  • Coating: Double Sided 3 Layer AR Per Glass Element + 1 Hard Protective Coating
  • Magnification ratio: 0,2X
  • Tv distortion: >-95%
  • Resolution(Axis): 300 LP/MM
  • Resolution(Corner): 250 LP/MM

Pro Cinema Wide G4

  • Sharpness: Sharp in the centre of the frame with a natural drop-off on the edges
  • Vignetting: Close to none
  • Barrel distortion: Close to none
  • Chromatic aberration: 1px at edge 
  • Design: Groups 3 Elements in 3
  • Lens coating: Double Sided 3 Layer AR Per Glass Element + 1 Hard Protective Coating
  • Magnification ratio: 0,4X
  • Tv distortion: >-65%
  • Resolution(Axis): 200 LP/MM
  • Resolution(Corner): 150 LP/MM
Black Eye Pro Kit G4 Mobile Phone Lenses REVIEW
Black Eye Pro Kit G4 Mobile Phone Lenses REVIEW

USER EXPERIENCE

Out of the box, the Black Eye Pro Kit G4 is ready for use. There is no assembly required. To use them with your smartphone, you are instructed to line up the lens of the camera with the clip on the Black Eye Lens. While this makes the lens universal between smartphone camera systems, it does make it a little hard to keep the external lens in line with the phone’s camera lens. I had issues where it slid around quite a bit when I was taking photos.

A big part of our testing experience (Robyn and me) actually included a bit of a tragedy. The week the lens kit arrived, we planned to take a trip out of town to Nashville, TN to meet with Jon, another writer here at MacSources. The Music City has a lot of impressive scenery that we wanted to use to capture photos with the new lenses and that sort of walking tour — through Nashville’s downtown district — lends itself to a much more portable camera than a DSLR. The night before we were going to make this trip, we were running the last check of the equipment we were taking with us and had a huge misstep that almost stopped our trip to Nashville in its tracks.

Black Eye Pro Kit G4 Mobile Phone Lenses REVIEW

We have reviewed other smartphone lens systems that have lenses hidden within the body of another lens. For example, a Fisheye lens would unscrew from the frame of the lens to reveal a macro lens beneath it. Well without knowing that the G4 does not do this, Robyn unscrewed the wide angle lens thinking it would unveil a different option below. To her surprise, it did not. I should have warned her but in my defense, I was turned around at my desk and thought she was just looking at them. I heard her exclaim, “OH!” and I turned around to find that the optics had splattered out of the lens housing and all over the desk.

We had a panic moment at first but ultimately decided to attempt to put it back together. This was a total nightmare because no matter how we put the lenses back in order it would not focus. There was no documentation on the Black Eye website about how the lens optics were constructed so we were at a total loss. I think between Robyn and I we spent two hours cleaning and trying to figure out why we could not get the optics to fit right in the lens body. We texted Jon and told him that we would not be able to meet him in Nashville because we didn’t see a reason to make the trip if we were not going to be testing the G4 Lens kit.

Black Eye Pro Kit G4 Mobile Phone Lenses REVIEW

After we determined that we should give up this battle, I headed to bed and decided to order a new Black Eye Wide Angle G4 lens from Amazon so I could work on the review once it arrived. At this point, I was not only disappointed, but I was also super aggravated that we had a perfectly fine lens one second and nothing a second later. Even though the fault of the disassembly is on us, this is where my complaint comes into play. Other systems the lenses are not able to be unscrewed unless they have the option for a different lens type below. So to find out that you can simply unscrew the Wide Angle from BlackEye to the point of the optics falling out of the lens body, I was a bit flustered that this could happen on such an expensive kit.

So back to me laying in bed about to order the lens from Amazon — I decided to look at the images on the product page to make sure it was the same lens we had. To my surprise, Amazon had a diagram of how the optics are aligned inside the lens. I am including this here.

This was a straight up godsend. If this image would have been on Black Eye’s website, I would have not spent two hours fumbling with what I thought was all the pieces. Yes, that is correct. I said what I thought was all the parts. As it turns out, out we had been missing the smallest piece of glass in that lineup and even though the other parts would fit together we had no focus. So if they dumped out onto the desk where the heck was this optic? I immediately thought to myself, “Is this diagram right? Or did this little piece of glass jump off the desk and disappear into the unknown?” If you guessed, “it jumped off the desk and somehow ended up across the room on the floor,” you would be correct.

Black Eye Pro Kit G4 Mobile Phone Lenses REVIEW
Black Eye Pro Kit G4 Mobile Phone Lenses REVIEW

When I saw this image on Amazon, I jumped from my bed to scour the floor. After a bit of searching, I did find it and was able to clean the glass and get the lens put back together. It was a huge relief that I didn’t have to drop money on a new lens when we had a brand new, never-used lens right in front of us. So what is the moral of this rant? Black Eyes, please add this image to your website. Also, maybe in a future release please seal the lens body so it can’t be unscrewed or add a small sticker on the lens body that states “don’t unscrew.”

Honestly, I don’t know what would have been a good option for this. I had researched these and knew there was no Macro but Robyn had never seen them and it was her first time handling them so she had no clue that the spilling of the glass would happen. It’s a very simple mistake that anyone could have made and I am sure many people will. That was really the only major con I found when I used these lenses. They have a great clarity and with the exception of them not staying in the proper place on the smartphone lens, they were easy to use.

Black Eye Pro Kit G4 Mobile Phone Lenses REVIEW
Black Eye Pro Kit G4 Mobile Phone Lenses REVIEW

CONCLUSION

When you use these lenses the first thing you will notice is the improved zoom range when using the telephoto or the wider view when using a wide angle or fisheye. The truth of the matter is it’s not just the zoom factor it’s a whole range of options you didn’t have with the standard smartphone lens. I have been using my DSLR and then switching off to the BlackEye system to try to compare the lenses to what I would get from the same type of lens on a Pro level DSLR. That is where I have been not only surprised but also awakened that yes, even though these are called Pro lenses, they aren’t going to give you the exact replica of DSLR lenses as far as quality goes.

Black Eye Pro Kit G4 Mobile Phone Lenses REVIEW
Photo taken with iPhone XS Max & Pro Cinema Wide G4
Black Eye Pro Kit G4 Mobile Phone Lenses REVIEW
Photo taken with Canon 5D Mark IV & Tamron 15-30mm

Don’t get me wrong. If you look at the Instagram account for Black Eye you will see some straight up AMAZING photos. But for me, I find being able to get these style photos with a smartphone to be harder than doing it with a DSLR. This might be due to how I am so much more comfortable with how to adjust settings on my DSLR and how doing so on a SmartPhone is sort of nonexistent unless you are using a third party app that gives you more control of your camera features. I think that the BlackEye lenses are still an amazing investment for your smartphone photography, if you are using your phone to take most of your photos you won’t be disappointed with the improvement these lenses can provide you.

Black Eye Pro Kit G4 Mobile Phone Lenses REVIEW
Black Eye Pro Kit G4 Mobile Phone Lenses REVIEW

As for as Pro photographers your not going to sell your gear and start making a living from the latest iPhone and lens combo. But what you will get is the ability to take your skill to a new level and catch an amazing shot while out and about when your DSLR is not with you. I will be taking these lenses with me everywhere I go so when I am out I will have options to take an amazing photo the first time and not sit back wishing I would have had my camera when it was set up for a shot at the office. So back to the question at hand. Would I say the glass in these lenses is worth the coin? Yes, for sure. They are great. If you plan on smartphone photography definitely check them out.

For more details, visit BlackEyesLens.com
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