Ulanzi’s 52mm MagFilter Magnetic Filters offers interchangeable filters for smartphones: Digital Photography Review

Image: Ulanzi

Lens filters for smartphones are not a new concept. Designed to give photographers more creative and technical control over their images, there are several types on the market today that can control how much light comes into the camera, reduce reflections and flare or add more vibrancy to your images with different color tones.

Up until a few years ago, photographers wanting to add a physical filter to a smartphone would need to attach a clamped filter that sits at the top of the phone’s camera lenses or use a third-party smartphone lens with filters.

Although useful, clamps tend to be bulky and aren’t always the easiest to align with your camera. Third party lenses offer more accuracy, but good-quality options can cost in excess of $100, without the inclusion of filters.

Ulanzi aims to be different by offering a lightweight foldable adapter ring that snaps on to the center of your MagSafe compatible device or case, which the manufacture says leads to a quicker workflow and more accurate alignment of the filter to the camera lens on the back of the phone. On an iPhone 14 or 15 it works by magnetically attaching to the rear using Apple’s MagSafe attachment system.

For users without an iPhone, there are workarounds through the use of third-party smartphone cases with magnetic ring plates that emulating MagSafe. WIth such a case, you can attach Ulanzi’s adapter to the ring plate and use the filters as normal.

As we reported last week, the concept isn’t new. Tiffen recently released a similar product with its MagSafe 58mm Filter Mount. Both products approach a solution to adding filters in a similar manner but differ in design. The Ulanzi opts for compactness with a foldable design.

The Tiffen comes with one polarizing filter (you can buy other filters separately) at around $40. In contrast, the Ulanzi’s version comes as a kit for $219 with an ND filter, a polarizing filter, one soft focus filter and a selection of color effect filters. There’s a storage case as well. Having multiple filters packed in may be enticing to users seeking to experiment with different filters and want the simplicity of having them all packaged together.

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