Carson LensMag ML-515 for iPhone 5 Review
by Laura Hicks -  5/28/2013

The Carson LensMag ML-515 is a two pack of high-powered magnetic magnifiers for the iPhone 5. The LensMag comes in a two pack with a 10x and 15x magnifier. The LensMag is easy to use. All you have to do is remove the magnifier from the case and slip one on the back of your iPhone. It easily and quickly connects to your iPhone through a magnet on the inside, right side of the lens attachment. The LensMag hold snug to your iPhone through this magnet and does not easily fall off. The LensMag is available for your iPhone 5 for $19.

The LensMag is small, yet powerful. The two pack comes with a 10x and 15x magnetic magnifier. Either magnifier slips onto the back of your iPhone 5 quickly and easily. It only takes a second to attach the LensMag. The LensMag sits at the top corner of your iPhone covering the lens and leaving a space for your flash. The LensMag is very lightweight--you don't even notice it is there. You will have to remove your phone case before using the LensMag. The LensMag comes in black. It is available for $19.

In use
The LensMag slips onto your iPhone five very easily. It takes but a second. The LensMag is a fun tool for those a love macro photography like myself. Bit the LensMag takes a little getting used to. Because it is a macro lens, it is much more sensitive to focal range than a traditional lens. Like any macro lens, having your subject in focus takes patience. Getting the right focal distance from your iPhone to your subjects takes a bit of practice. The use of a iPhone tripod would be helpful, but not required. I do not carry an iPhone tripod and I was able to get images that were pretty sharp. As you can see in some of the sample images a tripod would have been helpful. However many of these images were taken with a slight breeze. This made the subject move slightly and made the image less than tack sharp. The 15x lens was harder to use than the 10x lens mostly because less of the image was in focus. Moving subjects were fun to look at through the lens, but were difficult to photograph this way. Because an iPhone cannot focus as quickly as the subject moved, it was hard to capture. For example, I tried to will use the LensMag while photographing a small, moving ant. As soon as I got the ant in focus, it would move. Unfortunately, no matter how hard I tried, I could not get a sharp image of the ant. I would suspect this would be typical about or what kind of macro lens you are using on the iPhone.

Image quality
For $19, this accessory produces quite a nice image. I was very impressed with its ability to capture a sharp image given enough practice and patience. Non-moving objects are obviously much easier to photograph than those that move, but camera shake from your hands can create an issue. With a 10x or 15x zoom the part of the image in exact focus is so slim that it is easy to move outside of the range without realizing it.

When you are to grab focus and hold it, the LenMag produced images that are really sharp. The defocused areas of the image are pleasingly soft. 

I choose to use the LensMag outdoors and photograph some very small flowers. The LenMag functioned without fail. Besides needing a bit of patience to get the best shot, the images that it produced looked very good. Don't give up. Getting the right shot with any macro lens takes some work.

Sample Images

The LensMag ML-515 is a great iPhone accessory. For $19 you get two magnification lenses housed in a small case. The lens attaches easily to your iPhone through a magnet in the lens. Overall, the lens stays in place and does not move while in use. It can accidentally be moved with the swipe a finger, but that did not happen while I was using it. The magnet is strong, but not without a little give.

Overall, I was happy with the images produced by the LensMag. Some were slightly soft, but this was mostly due to user error (camera shake) than a function of the lens. Unfortunately, camera shake can a big issue when taking macro shots. Using a mini tripod would greatly reduce this issue. However, I generally do not carry one and did not use one for this review. About 1 of every 4 images were very sharp. 2 out of 4 were slightly soft and 1 out of 4 was unusable. Even on a large computer monitor the sharp images looked really good.

The case fits nicely in your pocket or your purse and can be carried anywhere. If you are interested in a macro lens, but don't want spend the money on an Olloclip (or do not want the additional lenses) the LensMag is a great option. For $19 this iPhone accessory is a no-brainer. As a macro photography addict I can easily recommend this lens for your iPhoneography.