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Technology Today - CES 2019 BlackEye Smartphone Portrait Tele Lens

By Robert Sanborn

There are times, you need to travel light. I love to travel and when I go to different and interesting places, I love to take either my digital or film camera when I see something special and whether it be the Blue Ridge Parkway, White Sands National Monument, or the White Mountains, having a camera with me is a necessity.  The times that I can’t take them with me, I have had to settle for either the tiny point and shoot cameras for which I have to admit, Canon makes some pretty good ones, or to having used my smartphone camera which it seems like the choice of millions of social media connected people all around the world. Now granted, if all you will be doing is to look at your pictures on your phone, it really doesn’t matter all that much. I don’t care how good the resolution on the phone is, tiny is still tiny and the digital zoom that comes with some of the phones also just doesn’t cut it that well either. Even when you consider that the smartphone cameras come with huge megapixel lenses (My Huawei Mate 10 Pro has two lenses that work together, a 20MP monochrome and a 12MP Color) you still are dealing with super wide angle images.

So, while at CES, I found what might be a pretty neat solution from Black Eye. What they have is a universal smartphone lens that turns your wide angle smartphone lens into a portrait tele lens using their Pro Portrait Tele G4. With a 60mm focal length and glass optics, this promises to be the go to add on for bringing objects close to you and I had to try it out. So, what is in the nice small box. First is the small card with the three basic instructions; keep it clean, attach and align, and get lost and create. Pretty cool. Also is a 34 page instruction booklet (quite small) but only two pages are in English and to be honest, look at it once and put it back in the box. It also comes with a small micro fiber lens cloth and a microfiber bag for carrying the lens. The lens clip is removable though right off the top I can’t imagine not using it because once it is attached, you simply can focus on the image at hand. And finally, besides the Pro Portrait Tele G4 Lens is a lens cap to keep it covered when not using it. My only quibble about the lens cap is that it is quite small and was a bit difficult for me to get off the lens without smudging the lens. This is where the LensPen comes in real handy; I always travel with one in the bag.  

Black Eye Pro Portrait

I used this with my old Huawei Mate 8 Smartphone mostly because it has just one lens and with the clip, it is quite easy to mount out of the way.  The easy trick is to actually look through the lens as you mount it to make sure it is centered over the camera lens. This way you avoid all the shadows, blurring, and off images. After a couple of times, it is a piece of cake. In basic simple mode, you just start to take pictures and if your smartphone has advanced camera settings, so much the better for taking pictures.

Early Spring Scene without

Early Spring Scene with Pro

As you can see from the two images above, the Black Eye Lens does bring things nicely in closer for you but you also notice that you need to pay more attention to the focusing of the images and this is where the advanced features of the smartphone camera come in handy as you can adjust the settings to bring it all into focus.

I took mine to the flower show and you can see some of the results in my before and after images and as you can see from my pictures, there is mixed success depending on how you are standing, the lighting, and people walking around you. I can tell I could have done a better job with focusing rather than just a quick point and shoot.

Litra Torch 2.0

Flower Show without Flower Show with
Flower Show without Flower Show with
Just from looking at my sample images, I can tell that with a little more care, I could have had much better pictures to show off. From my last pair of images below, you can also see where taking a picture of the Snowdrops tends to leave something behind when not having the ability to zoom in and so these are the times that make having a BlackEye with you all the worth while. Packing it around is quite easy though I thought the metal was a bit slick to the touch so you need to be careful handling it. Can’t wait to see how well it does on some of my next outings. Available from them for just $89.95.

Snowdrops without

Snowdrops with

Robert Sanborn

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