A few months back, the team at Sandmarc asked if I’d like to review their wide lens for iPhone X. In the past, having covered a handful of iPhone lenses, I remained skeptical. That was until I got the kit in hand. I have to say that Sandmarc’s wide lens kit pleasantly surprised and impressed me.
The Sandmarc Wide Lens Edition contains a wide-angle lens, a case-mount, a clip-on mount, lens protectors, and a carrying pouch. Sandmarc’s $89.99 kit is a breath of fresh air with everything it includes, compared to similarly priced competing products.
The wide lens features a well-built metal body design with a thread mounting system on the underside. This metal thread is what screws into either the case mount or clip-on mount system. For this review, I started out with the case mount and then tested out the clip-on option.
My new favorite thin case
Off the bat, Sandmarc’s case is one of the best thin cases I’ve tested on my iPhone X to date. The rubber-like grip makes holding the case significantly more comfortable, especially with the mounted wide lens on the phone.
One slight problem I found was having to spin the lens around a few times before it would catch the case’s thread mount. I have some concern that over time the lens’ metal thread might wear down the case’s plastic thread.
The case mount also happens to block the iPhone X’s rear microphone. This blockage could make for significantly muffled audio depending on what app is being used to record the video/audio. While the case doesn’t cover the iPhone X’s telephoto lens, the case mount doesn’t allow for mounting the wide lens on it. Not a deal breaker by any means, but something to keep in mind.
After testing, I ended up cracking the corner of the case. Not from a drop, but after removing my phone. Sandmarc’s case is thin, feels sturdy, and has little flex. But after removing the case for the fifth time that week, the corner snapped from the tension.
Not wanting to risk cracking it further, I started testing the clip-on mount. Sandmarc’s clip-on mount is one of the best I’ve tested. It grips tightly and doesn’t swivel around from slight movements. However, it faces the same problem every clip mount does: it’s difficult to align the clip mount to the phone lens quickly. It always takes me at least thirty-seconds to align correctly. If off by even a millimeter, all photos and videos taken with the lens will sport an abhorrent blur.
Just a great lens
Now onto the crux of the review: the wide lens. Sandmarc’s lens seriously impressed me. In testing with the case mount in a variety of situations, I never once saw chromatic aberrations. If I really looked for it, I could sometimes find slight blurs on the edges of photos. If people stood at the very edge of a picture, the wide lens’ warping was more noticeable. Still, it wasn’t enough to take away from the photo or video’s outcome.
Sandmarc just made a great lens. When so many competitors are releasing cheap alternatives, with even worse build qualities, Sandmarc knocked it out of the park.
I’m happy with the overall package Sandmarc was able to put together here. Their lens is impressive and does a great job at what’s important. I do wish the mounting options were better, but I can’t overstate how solid the lens itself is.
SandMarc’s Wide Lens is available now on the iPhone X, iPhone 8/8 Plus, and iPhone 7/7 Plus for $89.99. SandMarc sells a fisheye and macro lens for the iPhones as well. If you’re looking to save $50, you can buy all three lenses together as a part of the Sandmarc Photography Edition.
Small tip: the added weight of the lens can make it difficult to hold the iPhone steady. Adding a PopSocket to the case-mount made it significantly easier to shoot stable footage.