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Nexus 5 huge camera ring actually holds a magnet for add-on lenses

Nexus 5 huge camera ring actually holds a magnet for add-on lenses
You've probably all seen the Nexus 5 and the huge camera ring on its back. It’s nothing like we've seen before - much bigger than the camera rings on any other phone, but if you think it’s there just for the looks and no practical purpose you’re wrong. Turns out, that camera ring actually holds a magnet that you can use to snap little add-on lenses enabling effects like wide-angle, fish-eye, telephoto and so on.

Such lenses are easily available for a few dollars (just search for 'magnetic lens' in popular e-tailers) and can make shooting with the Nexus 5 much more fun. 

Keep in mind, though, that not all of these lenses fit well as some have different polarization and the magnet actually repels them instead of snapping on. To be perfectly sure it works you can simply ask the seller if that particular lens is compatible with the Nexus 5’s magnets.

Also, as big as the camera ring is, the magnet is still not all that strong, so while most lenses seem to fit fairly well, bigger ones could easily slip off or not fit at all. This will thus find best use with smaller lenses.

The last disclaimer to all this is that the brilliant idea is somewhat flawed by the lazy auto-focus of the Nexus 5 that becomes even slower to lock focus when used with a third-party lens. Ah, Google has told some publications that a software update aimed at improving the camera is coming, but it's not known whether it'd fix that.

Still, the magnetic ring is a nice touch that went under our radar initially. It's this kind of attention to detail and small touches that we find particularly exciting, even if discovered a bit late. Right below are a few images of the Nexus 5 with a snap-on lens and the samples shot with it.

source: Android Central, XDA Developers

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posted on 05 Dec 2013, 09:58 2

1. ayephoner (Posts: 850; Member since: 09 Jun 2009)

any links to such products on amazon or ebay?

posted on 05 Dec 2013, 15:23

15. dan86 (Posts: 298; Member since: 17 Mar 2012)

It can be google way to say Merry chrismas!!!

posted on 05 Dec 2013, 18:02 1

16. wildfiregt (Posts: 171; Member since: 10 Jun 2013)

I bought last year a similar of thesehttp://www.ebay.com/itm/Fisheye-Macro-Wide-Angle-3in1-Lens-for-iPhone-Android-Phone-Blackberry-ipodtouch-/221318339045?pt=US_Other_Cell_Phone_Accessories&hash=item338799d9e5
Works with almost every smartphone

posted on 05 Dec 2013, 10:09 9

2. o0Exia0o (Posts: 901; Member since: 01 Feb 2013)

DID NOT SEE THAT COMING! Google you sneaky, sneaky company you! Good show.

posted on 05 Dec 2013, 11:29 3

9. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

I know...

Google gave us an Easter Egg on the actual Nexus 5 itself.

Google always with a trick up it's sleeve. lol


posted on 05 Dec 2013, 10:14 4

3. LetsBeHonest (Posts: 1489; Member since: 04 Jun 2013)

Surprise Surprise...

posted on 05 Dec 2013, 10:14

4. LetsBeHonest (Posts: 1489; Member since: 04 Jun 2013)

Surprise Surprise...

posted on 06 Dec 2013, 03:42 4

19. ReddD (Posts: 37; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)

The second time you posted it it wasn't so surprising :-P

posted on 05 Dec 2013, 10:15 2

5. jan25 (Posts: 470; Member since: 26 Feb 2012)

All it needs is the long awaited new camera API. It is the only major thing that Anandtech's review found to be dissapointing on the Nexus 5.

posted on 05 Dec 2013, 10:32

6. Remmy (Posts: 146; Member since: 31 Jul 2012)

Cool! I have a similar set of lenses (black in color) which require a thin ring of magnet with double sided tape to be glued on the phone. I wonder if it would also work on the Xperia SP's camera ring too.

posted on 05 Dec 2013, 11:19 2

7. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)

Cool 'feature'! Now the accessory companies need to start making things that utilize the ring. My vote for something to produce would be for actual filters (polarizing for example) that can be attached. Digital filters can't do what a real polarizing filter can - remove/reduce reflections from pics taken through windows.

posted on 05 Dec 2013, 11:29 3

8. alterecho (Posts: 1099; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)

Thats ingenious.

posted on 05 Dec 2013, 11:54 1

10. marbovo (Posts: 658; Member since: 16 May 2013)

Nice, but those pictures with the lenses seem worse than the ones without it.

posted on 05 Dec 2013, 12:43 1

12. amancarlos (Posts: 42; Member since: 09 May 2012)


posted on 05 Dec 2013, 14:29

13. GoGoGalaxyNexus (Posts: 75; Member since: 01 Nov 2013)

something so simple as a magnet can be a big innovation in the smartphone world, good job google

posted on 05 Dec 2013, 14:38

14. TomTheNerd (Posts: 67; Member since: 11 Oct 2013)

I knew it when the first images leaked out.

posted on 06 Dec 2013, 02:58

18. rusticguy (Posts: 2828; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)

Great. I am waiting for this feature to make its way to iPhone before i decide to buy :)

posted on 06 Dec 2013, 17:07 1

20. TasHsn (Posts: 6; Member since: 06 Dec 2013)

Google, you rat bastards. You magnificent, ingenious rat bastards, you. :O

posted on 16 Sep 2014, 14:41

21. millermoto (Posts: 1; Member since: 16 Sep 2014)

Has anyone actually bout lenses that work well? Any links to such products that really work on amazon, ebay, or Fasttech?

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