Home Technology 16 Best Camera Accessories for Phones (2023): Apps, Tripods, Mics, and Lights

16 Best Camera Accessories for Phones (2023): Apps, Tripods, Mics, and Lights

by Baker Graemy
0 comment 28 minutes read
16 Best Camera Accessories for Phones (2023): Apps, Tripods, Mics, and Lights

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Featured in this article

A Mobile Studio Bundle

Lume Cube Mobile Creator Kit 2.0

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A Mount Adapter for Peak Design Fans

Peak Design Creator Kit

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Pocket-Sized Camera Lenses

Moment T-Series Lenses

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An Easy-to-Use Ring Light

Lume Cube Ring Light Mini

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We’re living in a golden age of mobile photography. The gear in this guide will up your game for making content at home or out and about, using just your smartphone. Our favorite Android phones and iPhones have outstanding cameras, but tripods, mics, and video lights can elevate the quality of your work. Here’s everything you need to turn your phone into a pro-grade powerhouse.

Check out our other buying guides, like Gear and Tips to Make Studio-Grade Videos at Home, Best Compact Cameras, Best iPhone 15 Cases, Best Pixel Phones, and Best Instant Cameras.

Updated October 2023: We’ve added the Lume Cube Creator Kit 2.0, Lume Cube Ring Light Mini, Moment T-Series Lenses, Moment Filmmaker Cage, Insta360 Flow, Boling P1, DJI Mic, Rode Wireless Go II, Nimble Champ, Canvas Lamp, Joby Wavo Plus, and Peak Design Creator Kit.

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  • Photograph: Lume Cube

    A Mobile Studio Bundle

    Lume Cube Mobile Creator Kit 2.0

    Lume Cube’s Creator Pack includes a Lume Cube light, a compact tripod that can open up to 55 inches in length, a shotgun mic with a windscreen, and a universal phone mount with clips to attach all of these accessories together. I got more use out of it than I expected.

    The mic quality is solid, and the windscreen keeps your voice clear and crisp even when recording in the outside world. The light is circular, giving your face or even interior scenes a nice glow that doesn’t feel washed out. And the tripod collapses down to just 10 inches, making it easy to stow. It’s a great all-in-one solution.

  • Photograph: Peak Design

    A Mount Adapter for Peak Design Fans

    Peak Design Creator Kit

    The Peak Design Creator Kit is sort of like one of those USB-C adapter hubs—it’s the link between your phone and a variety of different mounting solutions. You get a magnetic locking mount that works with the Peak Design SlimLink phone case (available for select iPhones, Google Pixel phones, and Samsung phones), and a few different mounting options: a Peak Design Arca quick-release plate, a 1/4-inch tripod mount, and a GoPro mount adapter. That means you can easily mount this thing on almost any tripod or GoPro mount. Your phone, with the case protecting it, will easily slot into the SlimLink mount and stay secure. It’s easy to remove with one hand too.

    You’ll get the most out of it if you’re already in the Peak Design ecosystem, since the Arca quick release (the plate that mounts to the Capture clip and Peak Design tripods) is the star of the show, making it super easy to swap mounting solutions without having to unscrew a bunch of things or get out an Allen wrench. With the Capture clip, you can use the Creator Kit to mount your phone to your body–via the strap of a backpack, a clip on your belt, or even a clip on your camera bag for vlogs or just a secure carrying solution.

  • Photograph: Moment

    Pocket-Sized Camera Lenses

    Moment T-Series Lenses

    Your smartphone’s camera is already great, but its key shortcoming is the built-in tiny lens. A bigger lens means more detailed and more dramatic images. That’s where Moment comes in. Using professional-grade optics, Moment lenses greatly expand your phone camera’s capabilities. The company’s new T-Series lenses replace the older M-Series and take advantage of the larger image sensors in modern phones. We’ve tested several of these lenses and highly recommend the 1.33X Anamorphic Lens ($150) for anyone looking to capture cinematic video; the 10X Macro Mobile Lens ($20) for supreme close-ups; and the 14-mm Fisheye Mobile Lens ($120), which is just plain fun.

    To use any of Moment’s lenses, you will have to invest in a Moment Phone Case (available for recent iPhones and Google Pixel phones), but the designs are stylish, and they offer excellent all-around protection. Moment also includes MagSafe magnets, allowing even Android phones to take advantage of the ecosystem. You will also need to purchase the $5 drop-in lens mount for the iPhone cases, which is how you screw the lenses into the case. Finally, iPhone owners will want to use Moment’s Pro Camera app, which makes it easy to switch cameras and de-squeeze the footage from the anamorphic lens. (Android owners can use a third-party app like Filmic Pro). If you’d like, you can also attach this filter to the lenses, which can let you cut glare from bodies of water, shoot long exposures, or get better photos of the sunrise or sunset.

  • Photograph: Lume Cube

    An Easy-to-Use Ring Light

    Lume Cube Ring Light Mini

    Just slot your phone into the universal mount in the middle of this ring light and you’ll get an easy way to cast light on your face as you film (vertically or horizontally). The light gets bright enough to illuminate your face even in the darkest of rooms, and you can adjust the brightness or color temperature to make the white tones cooler or warmer. You just need to make sure to put it near a power source to keep it plugged in via the provided USB-C cable (you can use it with a power bank in a pinch). The best part is how long it can extend—it goes from 16 to 40 inches when fully extended, giving you options on where to place it, whether you use the included tripod or the desk clamp.

    An alternative: Do you shoot a lot of top-down videos of products? The Canvas Lamp ($172) is pricey, and there are definitely cheaper ways to achieve the same if not a better effect, but it’s an all-in-one solution that’s hassle-free. I suggest snagging the desk clamp, but you can mount your phone to the top of the light (like a ring light, and there’s a MagSafe mount too), and it will capture footage while blanketing the desk with light. The light isn’t terribly bright, and the lamp arm can be wobbly, but it’s a simple way to shoot top-down with a built-in light source.

  • Photograph: ProGrip

    A Grip With a Battery

    ShiftCam ProGrip Starter Kit

    Shiftcam’s ProGrip comes close to turning your phone into a full-on DSLR. Once you attach your phone, the ProGrip can pair via Bluetooth. Use its onboard buttons to control your shutter, and its included power pack keeps your phone charged (with wireless charging that should work with iPhones and Android phones). It’s pretty bulky but way lighter than a full-on DSLR.

    It’s a good choice if you’re going to be out and about and you know you’re going to be shooting a lot of photos, or if you want a grip that can do double duty as a tripod mount. I’ve taken this on a hike and it was great—it makes you feel like your phone is very secure when you’re crossing rough terrain. The extra battery life kept my handset alive much longer than it would have otherwise. The starter kit includes a carrying case, a cold shoe mount to attach another camera accessory like a video light, and a hand strap.

  • Photograph: Insta360

    A Compact Gimbal

    Insta360 Flow

    Shoot a lot of video? This gimbal does a pretty good job of keeping your footage smooth, especially if you’re dealing with a lot of action. There is a bit of a learning curve with the app and the controls (Android, iOS), but provided you take the time to learn, it’ll quickly become an invaluable tool. It’s fast to set up, can automatically track subjects, and you can extend it to turn it into a selfie stick, or open up the base to turn it into a self-standing tripod. All of this folds down into a very small package that you can store in a pocket or small bag!

  • Photograph: Joby

    A Go-Anywhere Tripod

    Joby GripTight Tripod Mount for MagSafe

    You won’t always have a nice flat surface to set your tripod on, especially if you’re shooting in the wilderness, but Joby’s GripTight GorillaPod has your back. The articulated legs on this tripod can be adjusted to any angle so your phone stays level on almost any surface. The legs are so bendy they can curl around anything—fence posts, tree branches, your hand—to form a tight grip. It’s also good for vlogging because it’s small enough that you can squeeze all three legs together into an easily graspable monopod.

    If you have an iPhone 12 or newer with MagSafe, you’ll be especially happy to know that the mount supports it, so you can just plop your iPhone on. There are clamps for additional security or if you have any other smartphone.

  • Photograph: Boling

    A Video Light

    Boling P1

    I have tested so many video lights over the years, and I always come back to the Boling P1. For the money, it’s hard to beat the quality and strength of the light it offers. This aluminum light can get dazzlingly bright, and you can change the color temperature and the brightness. It also supports RGB and has some lighting effects you can cycle through, so if you want to throw some stark red in the background of your clip, it’ll do it just fine. I love the arm mount, which lets you control the angle of the light far better than most video lights too. The only downside is that while it supports USB-C charging, you have to use a USB-C to USB-A cable.

  • Photograph: DJI

    A Wireless Microphone

    DJI Mic

    You can hold up a lavalier microphone like everyone tends to do on TikTok these days, or you can upgrade to a wireless microphone system—no pesky wires! WIRED reviewer Scott Gilbertson tested and loved the DJI Mic (8/10, WIRED Recommends). It comes in a small case that includes two transmitters and receivers, so you can mic up two people. The case also includes a Lightning or USB-C adapter for the transmitter, so you can plug it into any smartphone. The sound quality is good, the range from how far you can move away from the receiver is excellent, and it’s just all-around simple to use. The only thing to dislike? The high price.

    An alternative: The Rode Wireless Go II ($287) is a stalwart wireless microphone that delivers excellent audio quality. It comes with two transmitters, though you can choose the bundle that only includes one if you want to save some cash. It only comes with an audio jack to connect the receiver, so you’ll need to supply your own USB-C or Lightning dongle.

  • Photograph: RODE Microphones

    A Portable Shotgun Mic

    Røde Videomic Go

    Good video is nothing without good audio. Microphones can get expensive and cumbersome, but since we’re trying to keep things lean here, I’d recommend the Rode VideoMic Go. It’s my personal go-to when I’m shooting something and want to keep my kit lightweight. It’s super small, and it doesn’t need an external power source; it just plugs into the phone’s 3.5-mm jack (or your dongle) like a pair of headphones.

    The audio quality isn’t studio-grade by any means, but it’s definitely better than the mic on your phone, and it’s capable of picking up clean sound from a good distance.

    An alternative: The Joby Wavo Plus ($200) is considerably more expensive. It’s incredibly compact yet picks up amazing sound for its size. You can hook it up via the 3.5-mm cable or via USB-C to your device. I sat more than 15 feet away from the improv performers I was filming in a theater, and the audio quality was excellent. The battery life barely dipped after an hour of filming too.

  • Photograph: Moment

    A Cage for Accessories

    Moment Mobile Filmmaker Cage for MagSafe

    If you’re going to be using accessories while you film with your phone, you’ll need a way to attach them to create an easy-to-move system. I like Moment’s Filmmaker Cage for this. The middle puck is a MagSafe mount, so if you have a MagSafe iPhone (or a MagSafe case for your Android), you can just pop the handset on there, no clamps needed. All along the edges are various threads (and two cold-shoe mounts) you can use to attach video lights or shotgun microphones. The added benefit is you get a grip to hold your phone with two hands without touching the screen at all.

  • Photograph: Moment

    A Multi-Threaded Tripod Adapter

    Moment Multi-Threaded Adapter

    Moment offers several tripod mounts compatible with MagSafe-compatible phones, but my favorite by far is the multi-threaded mount. It’s just a flat disc of metal with several holes drilled in it (also why this kind of mount is affectionately called a Swiss cheese plate), and each hole corresponds to a different size of tripod screw.

    It’s small enough to stick into any camera kit and versatile enough that I have yet to encounter a tripod I can’t use it with. Once you pop your phone onto the mount, it clings to it with a surprisingly powerful magnetic grip. It’s just an excellent tool to have on hand, and I’ve used it way more than I thought I would. It has worked for everything from stabilizing my phone for video calls to turning my phone into an “emergency” backup low-light landscape shooter–when I forgot to charge my camera batteries before going on a scenic walk on the beach. This one is specifically for use with Apple’s MagSafe technology, but Moment offers a number of MagSafe cases for Samsung and Google Pixel Android phones.

  • Photograph: Peak Design

    An Everyday Carry Bag

    Peak Design Everyday Sling V2 6L

    All right. You have your kit, you have your phone, but now you need to carry and organize all these items. Get the Peak Design Everyday Sling. The contents of this list can easily fit inside the 6-liter size. It has tons of internal organization space, along with some dividers you can move around to suit your needs. Plus it’s weather-sealed, so you can tote it in the rain without any worry. This is my go-to camera bag, my do-everything bag. I’ve subjected it to all kinds of abuse, but it’s never once sprung a leak or failed to protect my devices. It’s a good investment for anyone who needs a small everyday carrier. Check out our Best Camera Bags, Best Fanny Packs, and Best Messenger Bags guides if you’re looking for more options.

    An alternative: Want something even smaller? We like the Moment Long Weekend Monterey Sling ($50). It has just a 2-liter capacity, but that’s usually enough for me to fit a phone, a small gimbal, a couple of Moment mobile lenses, plus my keys and a charger or power bank. It also looks positively fantastic.

  • Photograph: Amazon

    A Fistful of Dongles

    Linklike 3.5mm to USB-C Dongle

    Any ultralight photo kit is going to require a couple of dongles, and this one is pretty essential. It has a headphone jack and a USB-C port, so it lets you connect your microphone without hogging the connector you need to charge your phone. That means you’ll be able to plug in a mic and a charger or external battery at the same time.

    If you don’t have a phone with a USB-C jack, don’t worry. Check out our list of the Best USB Hubs and Dongles for more options.

  • Photograph: Nimble

    Portable Power

    Nimble Champ

    Even the latest smartphones will burn through their batteries pretty quickly if you’re going around shooting videos or taking a lot of carefully composed photos. Portable power is essential. That’s why we recommend this Nimble Champ power bank in our Best Portable Chargers guide. It’s small enough to slip into a jacket pocket but considerable enough to give you a few extra charges, depending on your phone. It’s also made with 73 percent postconsumer plastic, comes with plastic-free packaging, and has a two-year warranty.

    If you have an iPhone with MagSafe support, be sure to check out our Best MagSafe Power Banks guide for more convenient wireless charging options if you don’t want to carry cables around.

  • Photograph: Halide

    There’s an App for That

    Great Photo and Video Apps

    Most of the time, using your phone’s built-in camera app will give you pretty good results. Those apps, like Apple’s and Google’s Camera apps, have a lot of built-in computational photography tricks that are tailored to your phone’s particular set of lenses and photos sensors. But sometimes you want a bit more control. That’s where pro photo and video apps come in.

    • Grain for iOS: This app is more of a suite of editing tools than a photography app, but there’s a lot of flexibility. Shoot your video, save it, and then open it in the Grain app from Moment and you get access to a full set of professional color-grading and video-editing tools—alongside a library of presets. The marquee feature is the ability to create and save your own video presets, so you can find a look and vibe you like and apply it to future videos with just a couple of taps. It’s functionality you get from most pro video-editing software, but in a very approachable mobile-first interface. It costs $5 a month and is available only on iPhones and iPads.
    • Halide for iOS: If you’ve ever wanted manual control over your phone’s camera, Halide is an app you should definitely check out. Designed to bring the granular control you get from a pro camera to your smartphone, Halide offers a suite of tools to take your phone photos to the next level. The app uses its own machine learning to optimize your photos and even bring a greater degree of flexibility to Apple features like Portrait Mode. Halide’s Depth Mode sometimes works even when Apple’s official version doesn’t. It does a whole lot more, but one of my favorite features is an often overlooked one: It’s frequently updated. It’s been around for more than four years and regularly sees new features. It costs $12 per year and is available only on iPhones and iPads.
    • ProCam X for Android: Finding great photography apps for Android can be tricky, because there’s a wider variety of hardware using Google’s operating system than there is on iOS. That means your results may vary with a lot of pro camera apps. But my absolute favorite is ProCam X. It gives you all the manual features you’re looking for without being too complicated or bloated to use regularly. You can control your ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. Plus, and this is a big plus over iOS apps, thanks to Android’s greater flexibility you can assign ProCam X as the default camera app. It costs $5 and is available only on Android.

Jaina Rodriguez Grey is a product writer and reviewer at WIRED covering coffee, sex tech, and gaming. Previously, she was a legal researcher for Thomson Reuters and a tech reporter for Digital Trends. She currently resides in Portland, Oregon, with her partner and a pet rabbit named Lola.

Julian Chokkattu is the reviews editor at WIRED, covering personal technology and reviewing consumer products. Previously he was the mobile and wearables editor at Digital Trends, steering coverage and reviews of smartphones and smartwatches, and an intern at TechCrunch. He graduated from Rutgers University with a bachelor’s degree in English… Read more

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