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How to turn your smartphone into a professional camera

We review the best camera accessories for your iPhone or Android smartphone, to turn it into a beefy portable camera superstar.

How often do you find yourself staring at a gorgeous landscape, wishing that you had something a bit more beefy than your bog-standard smartphone to capture the full visual glory?

No more! We’ve reviewed some of the coolest camera accessories for your humble Android mobile or iPhone, to convert it into a snapper worthy of the most austere photographer. From detachable lenses to mini tripods, here’s the gear you need to shoot awesome photos on the fly.

Manfrotto KLYP+ iPhone 5/5s camera kit and Compact Tripod (£119 for camera kit, £25 for tripod)

If you want to transform your iPhone into a full-on camera rig, complete with a powerful LED flash, tripod and a selection of lenses, check out Manfrotto’s range of Apple accessories.

The best mobile phone accessories to turn your smartphone into a pro camera: tripods, lenses and LED flashes

The Manfroto KLYP+ camera kit comes with a plastic shell which your iPhone 5 or iPhone 5s slips inside, allowing you to attach the three clip-on lenses and the powerful LED flash, as well as a handy wrist strap.

You get a fisheye lens which produces quite funky effects, a portrait lens which gets you in close to your subject and a landscape lens which produces a wider view when shooting a vista. They screw onto the case quickly and cleanly, covering the iPhone’s lens, and the handy covers help to keep them from getting scratched up or dirty.

The best mobile phone accessories to turn your smartphone into a pro camera: tripods, lenses and LED flashes The best mobile phone accessories to turn your smartphone into a pro camera: tripods, lenses and LED flashes

Normal iPhone lens (left),  Portrait lens attached (right)

The best mobile phone accessories to turn your smartphone into a pro camera: tripods, lenses and LED flashes The best mobile phone accessories to turn your smartphone into a pro camera: tripods, lenses and LED flashes

Landscape lens attached (left),  Fisheye lens attached (right)

We find the iPhone’s flash perfectly fine for your everyday club shots and night snaps, but if you need a bit more power, the Manfrotto LED flash attachment is a good start. The light charges via micro USB in less than an hour and has three different power settings.

Even on the lowest setting, the LED flash helped to produce a brighter photo with more natural colours than the iPhone’s flash. It’s not a huge difference, but if you do take a lot of shots in dim environments it’s worth considering.

The best mobile phone accessories to turn your smartphone into a pro camera: tripods, lenses and LED flashes The best mobile phone accessories to turn your smartphone into a pro camera: tripods, lenses and LED flashes

Standard iPhone flash (left) and blinding top level of the Manfrotto LED flash (right)

And if you’re serious about capturing video on the move, the Pixi Mini Tripod is a great little accessory. You just screw the tripod into the end of the flash, and it keeps your rig perfectly still when rested on a flat surface.

That’s going to come in handy for the Time Lapse mode in iOS 8, as well as any video that demands a more professional touch.

Our only qualm with the Manfrotto gear is the price. There are cheaper mini tripods out there (like the Panoramic Pod, reviewed below) and that’s a big outlay for a few lenses and a slightly more powerful flash. Thankfully you can pick the lenses up separately (for a still-rather-steep £45) if you aren’t bothered about the flash.

Sony Cybershot Lens G (DSC-QX10) (£159)

Rather than fork out for a bulky Samsung Galaxy K Zoom smartphone, which packs a 10x zoom lens but also a thick, unruly frame, why not simply attach one of Sony’s G lenses to your existing phone?

The best mobile phone accessories to turn your smartphone into a pro camera: tripods, lenses and LED flashes

This 18.2-megapixel lens can work independently, or connect to your iOS or Android smartphone using the handy grip attachment. With built-in NFC support, you can see what you’re snapping right there on your phone’s screen, providing your mobile has NFC built-in. Pairing is a quick and painless process, and photos are instantly shared to the phone – while the lens also has a microSD memory card slot to store shots.

Best of all, the G Lens has a 10x optical zoom, so you can get in close to whatever you’re shooting.

Panoramic Pod (£16 from IWoot)

The best mobile phone accessories to turn your smartphone into a pro camera: tripods, lenses and LED flashes

Another tripod for your smartphone, the Panoramic Pod not only holds your iOS or Android smartphone steady, it also has a clockwork mechanism to turn your phone around 240-degrees, to capture a panorama photo or video over 25 seconds.

It’s a neat little idea and for just £16, worth it for the tripod alone.

Read next: The best camera phones of 2014

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