Freshly Squeezed Reviews: Sandmarc Hits The Mark

I have the itch to create but my finances are strapped. But I’m still going to try and produce a quality project on a shoestring project.

I’m fascinated with the idea of iPhone filmmaking. As I have a degree in film/video/audio (which has come in handy during the great toilet paper shortage of 2020), I was keen to give it a go.

Every smartphone production I have seen was created on a flagship iPhone on high end equipment. I want to see if I can produce a short film of technical quality using lower priced equipment. So, I traded in my 8 Plus for a brand new SE 2020.It has he housing of a single lens iPhone 8 but the guts of an iPhone 11. Inexpensive and future proof is my thinking.

I performed diligent research. I read many articles, checked out various manufacturers and watched hours of YouTube comparison reviews to help me assemble my kit.

I decided on my camera app (free), I already had a name brand gimbal ($130), borrowed some LED lighting and bounce boards (inexpensive white foam core) as needed plus borrowed some audio equipment.

Most importantly was my choice of lenses and filters. The more videos I watched on my 4K iMac, I settled on Sandmarc.

We, at SANDMARC®, design premium photography products for iPhone, GoPro, DJI & DSLR cameras….

We strive to positivly impact our community by helping our customers do what they do best: CREATE.

With the final piece of the puzzle in place it was time to see if I could pull this off. (As the SE 2020 is the exact same form factor as the iPhone 8/7, the lenses, filters and cases work with the SE 2020 as well.)

What is great about the Sandmarc system is you have two options as how to mount your lenses; use the provided case or clip. (I found I was able to use the clip on my regular case but had to pay attention that it wouldn’t slide off. To be fair, the clip is meant to be used on your phone without a case. My bad.)

Every lens you buy comes with its own case and clip. Even if you buy four lenses as a bundle, you’ll get four cases and clips. This could be a good or bad thing depending on your point of view or workflow.

Each lens comes in its own felt drawstring pouch. This allows you to carry and protect the lens plus threaded clip.

You could view it as you have more kit to carry around. But conversely, you permanently thread your lenses one time reducing your chance of damage the threads. So all you have to do is relatively quickly change the case to the lens you wish to use its already mounted. This reduces the possibility of stripping the threads on your case or your lens by repeatedly changing the lenses. The choice is yours.

Each lens comes with a threaded clip. Again, you thread your lenses one time reducing your chance of damage to the threads with the added benefit of simply clipping it over the phone’s lens. These are solid and stable with a strong grip and permit you to swap lenses quicker than switching cases. You could shake the lens off I would think but you would have to shake the phone extremely hard or, if filming, hit a large bump if doing a traveling shot. (You could clip the lens to your everyday case but it’s recommended that you attach it to your phone sans case, as there’s no telling how solid a grip it will have to your case.)

I was hoping that I could clip a lens over my 720p ‘potato camera’ on my iMac (or your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air). But after repeated tests, this cannot be achieved. Forget the optics, positioning the lens over the computer’s lens alone requires time and patience.

The lenses are excellent. The clarity, crispness and color reproduction are excellent. All lenses come with a lens cap for both the business end and the threaded end where you attach the lens to either the case or clip. The one negative thing that I have to say about the kit is their cases. They’re made of a rigid but thin plastic and have very little grip. I’ll be curious (as well as crossing all my digits) to see how this works with my gimbal.

The Macro lens comes with what looks like the collar that they place on a dog at the vet so it can’t nibble on its stitches. In reality (I’ve been to reality once or twice), you place it over your Macro lens and bring your camera as close to your subject as the collar will allow, ensuring that you’re at optimal focal distance.

As you’ll notice at their store, there are different bundles to choose from, as well as accessories for iPhones, GoPros and DSLR & mirrorless cameras.

Pricing is competitive with other brand name lenses, so you need only find the brand which you prefer.

I suggest that you do as much research as possible because your decision will definitely be subjective. But I can say that you will not be disappointed in the quality of Sandmarc’s lenses. I know I’m not.

©2020 Frank Petrie