Lesson 39: 2X

This is not a lesson about shirt sizes.  Instead, we’re continuing our progress using the Photojojo lens attachments with the iPhone.  Yesterday, we looked at the wide angle attachment.  The day before, we used the macro attachment.  Today, let’s take a look at the 2x Telephoto attachment.

This is what it looks like up close:

Telephoto Lens

If you either have reading glasses handy or don’t need them, you can see the edge of the lens is labeled “telephoto” to help you tell it apart from the other lenses in the kit.  If you’ve already adhered the metal ring around the built-in lens on your iPhone, the magnet in the 2x Telephoto lens will hold the lens in place on the ring.  If not, refer to the instructions that came with the lens kit for more info.

We previously used a different telephoto lens attachment in Lesson 25 to take pictures of the moon.  That one is 8x telephoto (or 12x for an iPhone 5).  So, you might ask, why would I want 2x if I have 8x (or 12x)?  Well, the answer is simple.  Sometimes, 8x (or 12x) is too much.  Bigger is not always better.

Let’s take the example of being in a park where you want to get a picture of a spider.  The spider is close enough that using the 8x telephoto wouldn’t allow the entire spider to fit in the frame, but far enough away that with no zoom, the spider gets lost in the flowers.

Let’s consider the macro attachment.  You might wonder why you wouldn’t use that for the spider as well.  There are three considerations:  1) How big is the spider?  2) Will the spider hold still while you manipulate the lens inches (or less above it)?  3) Will you scream and throw the phone if the spider suddenly moves while you’re that close?

The 2x zoom gets you in tighter without having to get within grabbing distance.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of my spider with and without the 2x zoom (uncropped):

And a second one, just for fun.  By the way, in the interest of full disclosure, even with the 2x zoom, I still jumped when the spider suddenly ran to the top of its web.  It’s a big spider.

Your Assignment:

Attach the 2x telephoto lens to your camera.  Look for subjects where you’d like to get closer without getting physically closer.  Notice how 2x sounds like a lot, but really only brings things in slightly closer.  Can you use the 2x telephoto attachment to fill the frame with your subject from further away?  Did you get any great photos of critters that can be hard to get close to like spiders or butterflies?

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