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

Related phones

Nexus 5
  • Display 5.0 inches
    1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP (Single camera)
    1.3 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, 2GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB,
  • Battery 2300 mAh
  • OS Android 6.0 Marshmallow

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19 Comments

21. millermoto

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 16, 2014

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

20. TasHsn

Posts: 6; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

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

18. rusticguy

Posts: 2828; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

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

14. TomTheNerd

Posts: 67; Member since: Oct 11, 2013

I knew it when the first images leaked out.

13. GoGoGalaxyNexus

Posts: 84; Member since: Nov 01, 2013

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

12. amancarlos

Posts: 42; Member since: May 09, 2012

MAGNETS, Bitch!

10. marbovo

Posts: 658; Member since: May 16, 2013

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

8. alterecho

Posts: 1106; Member since: Feb 23, 2012

Thats ingenious.

7. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 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.

6. Remmy

Posts: 191; Member since: Jul 31, 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.

5. jan25

Posts: 470; Member since: Feb 26, 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.

4. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

Surprise Surprise...

19. ReddD

Posts: 37; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

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

3. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

Surprise Surprise...

2. o0Exia0o

Posts: 903; Member since: Feb 01, 2013

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

9. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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 +1

1. ayephoner

Posts: 858; Member since: Jun 09, 2009

any links to such products on amazon or ebay?

15. dan86

Posts: 298; Member since: Mar 17, 2012

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

16. wildfiregt

Posts: 179; Member since: Jun 10, 2013

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