Lenses for FilmLab on 35mm films


Let’s try a macro lens. From reviews, the high quality add-on lenses for iPhones are by the Moment brand, and their macro is labeled “10x.”

It’s a great lens, but the problem is it focuses only in a very narrow range. It comes with a translucent “hood” and seems optimized for the lens hood to be pressed against the subject. Moving back very much at all leaves us out of focus.

At that focus distance, with the hood pressed against the subject, the lens covers an area 1 1/4" long, a bit of a crop of your 35mm negative.

But, the image quality is amazing. Seriously, I’ve tested this lens against the fabulous APO Rodagon D 1:1 copy lens on a 24MPx full frame DSLR for camera-scans of 35mm film. The Moment-iPhone7Plus combo is close to the Rodagon-DSLR combo. I think that’s an amazing result. Stamp and coin collectors will want this lens.

For capturing a full 35mm negative, you’ll have to use two shots, merge them into one larger image, then covert.

With this lens, you get the full 12MPx of the iPhone 7 camera. Rough resolution of a converted image? Calculating 12MPx period. That’s enough for a 12x18" enlargement if you have a good negative.

Here’s the same test image, iPhone 7 Plus, Moment Macro lens, translucent hood pressed against the subject.

What About Resolution

Uploaded images are reduced considerably in the display above. Click on any of the ruler images to see the full resolution file for any of my test shots.


My conclusion: A good macro lens will be valuable in making higher quality negative conversions with FilmLab.

The 10x Moment lens looks terrific, except that it won’t cover the full 35mm negative area. What’s a good 7x macro lens (assuming the 10x-7x nomenclature is consistent)?


More with the Moment Macro lens. Focus is really critical; there’s auto-focus with the phone, but the range is really limited. The only way to get really sharp focus seems to be holding the rim of the translucent hood against the subject (i.e. the negative strip).

In that position, the lens covers an area 1" high and 1.25" wide. So, you get the whole negative vertically, cutting a bit from both sides.

With the superb image quality of this lens, this looks like a winner for 35mm film.


Here’s the Moment Macro lens, using their case, on iPhone 7 Plus


And, here it is capturing a 35mm negative:

FilmLab beta release 0.2 iOS

Very interesting! Have you tried to convert the negative to a positive and if so how was the result?

The new iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X can prove to be even better as the resolution of the tele lens now matches the normal lens, being 2x 12 MP lenses on both the 8 Plus and X.


@pmoz Have I converted a negative image?

Yes, the macro lens gives a higher res capture, and film lab gives a higher res result.

I think there’s real potential here: With the Moment Macro Lens I can get a phone-scan of 35mm material that’s close to a DSLR capture with a good macro lens. FilmLab should be able to use that.

FWIW, my iPhone 7 Plus has two 12 MPx cameras. Great camera phone.


Continuing to look at macro lenses for FilmLab.

The 10x Moment Macro lens is fabulous in quality, but image covers 1.25x1", cutting off part of the 35mm frame.

Trying the Ollocliip 7x from their current “Macro Pro Lens Set.”

This lens covers the full 35mm frame with just a little extra margin. But, the distortion is… well… you be the judge. Could be useful if FilmLab can recognize the frame and if you can live with or correct the distortion.

Yes the ruler is straight. The bending is the lens distortion. This distortion would drive me crazy; I don’t think this is a viable lens for filmlab conversions, except for images with one central subject, images where you can accept crazy distortion at the edges.


I am able to test the Zeiss ExoLens Pro Macro-Zoom Lens System.

The good news: The results are terrific, and the lens on my iPhone 7 Plus covers the full 35mm frame. Further, this lens is a 2x zoom, making it easier to adjust focus for different sized subjects. This will make a superb lens for converting 35mm negatives with an iPhone. (The Moment Macro is equally superb in quality, but only focuses at one distance, covers 80% of 35mm image width.)

The bad news: This item is discontinued, appears only rarely, usually at high prices. My advice: If interested in iPhone captures of 35mm negatives, snap this up if you can find one.

Notice: no distortion, sharp to the corners. Covers 1.5" width of 35mm negative. (The curved shadow is the translucent hood; won’t be a factor for back-lit negatives.)

Rough calculation: 4000Px wide x 2600 high = 10MPx “scans” of 35mm film. That will be plenty for any screen use and good enough for an 8x10 print.

Because of the zoom, this might also work well for medium format negatives.


@ColSebastianMoran thank you for the tests and reviews.
I’ve purchased the Zeiss exolens after reading your review even if it is F*****G expensive!
I’ve a couple of questions:
Is this the model you reviewed?

Was the iphone 7plus soft liner included in the box?
Thank you for the precious tests.


Yes, that’s exactly it.

Yes, the box includes the hard metal outer thing plus soft liners for six iPhone models: the 7, 7Plus, 6, 6Plus, 6S, and 6SPlus.

Watch on eBay and perhaps elsewhere. Sellers are asking sky-high, but sometimes one is offered at a reasonable price.

I think this lens on a 12MPx iPhone will make phone-scans that are very close to a DSLR with a good macro lens.

Here’s the array inside the box I have:


I’ve ordered one on ebay from UK. It is not in my mailbox yet.
I’ve read on exolens website’s FAQ that it fits iphone 7+ but I was not sure.
Thank you for the info, it really looks like the definitive lens for 35mm scanning, I can’t wait to put my hands on it.


Some more information if you are interested in the Zeiss exolens macro.
I’m still waiting my item, this post is the result of collecting informations from the web in addiction to @ColSebastianMoran great work.

It looks like some kits contain the exolens with all the (6) soft liners to allow it to be mounted on iphone 5 to 7 (see previous post picture).

But other kits (older?) may contain only four liners:

The one for iPhone 7 plus being sold as an extra:

Going deeper on the exolens webite FAQ they claim there is a small difference between iphone7 black jet and other colors, they says they are going to provide the correct soft liner if you hapoen to own a jet black iphone 7.
Impressive customer service!

So pay attention if you buy online and you own an iphone 7 plus.
No hope if you own an iphone 8 or iphone X, btw

My 2 cents.


Yes, there are older and newer kits. I have the newer with liners for the 7 Plus.

Good luck with your purchase.


Hope they will continue to make adapters available as we go to the next generation of phones.


Also beware: There is an Exolens product with no-brand glass selling for $10 to $40. Perhaps the Exolens Pro designates the Zeiss line, but hard to tell.


my lens is arrived today, I have been lucky enough: all the liners are included in my set!
I will perform some test soon


I have learned that the NON-Zeiss Exolens kits are NOT compatible with the Zeiss lenses. The threading on the mount is different. The brackets, mounts, etc. are not compatible.

This from Exolens customer service, who were very responsive and clear. Their address is customerservice@exolens.com in case that’s helpful to anyone.

0.2.1(5) release

Here you can see a 35mm scan using Zeiss Exolens (iPhone 7+)

The phone was about 4cm from the film (I got the positive using snapseed curves).



I have a question: how to combine manual focus of the lens whit autofocus of the iphone? When trying to set the correct focus on the lens iphon always try to compensate with autofocus, which is the correct way to combine hardware and software focus?
Thank you.

0.2.1(5) release