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A way of using DSLR lenses with my Samsung Galaxy phone

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Last Modified: 2018-01-22
I have a Samsung Galaxy S5 (but soon to upgrade to Note 8). When I go travelling I always take with me my trusty Nikon D7100 digital SLR with 18-85mm lens. Smartphones can take great photos these days but are still lacking due to their lens.

Conversely, my Nikon camera, although a very good camera, is heavy, cumbersome, and I also need to bring the case and charger.

Further, I can't backup to cloud, edit, or share (email, Whatsapp) my pictures directly from the SLR camera. For this I'd need to bring a laptop with me, whereas with my phone I can do these three things from the phone. Also my phone can GPS-tag the photos, whilst to do this on my Nikon I'd need to buy a separate GPS unit to attach it to the camera, thereby making it even more cumbersome.

Viewing recently taken photos on a smartphone screen is much more pleasurable, not to mention the pinch-to-zoom. Also, my phone these days has more free storage space than my camera has in total.

So, to my question... Is there a way that I can have the best of both worlds? Does there exist some sort of 'cradle', where I can attach my current Nikon lenses, and a shoulder strap, and then just slot in the phone to turn it into a fully functional DSLR camera?

As for connection between the phone and the 'thing', I initially thought WiFi, but I think that this would cause a Osh with the viewfinder, so probably USB-C would be best. Plus, with a cable you could potentially or a battery inside the thing which could be used to charge the phone.

Does such a thing exist? I've seen those Sony lenses that connect with WiFi but they don't seem to be quite what I'm after.

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Rob KnightConsultant

How about this:


it seems to be available for a variety of phones.
Paul SauvéRetired

while not DSLR lenses, this may fit the bill:


The Ztylus Camera System was created to enhance the width, depth and overall quality of your smartphone’s photos. This cutting-edge design seamlessly incorporates the Ztylus smartphone case and the Revolver Lens Attachment into a symphony of innovation and form. With a flip of your wrist, you’re able to change lenses at will, enhancing the camera on your smartphone.

i don't think that there is an adapter for DSLR lenses, but i may be wrong
Jackie Man IT Manager
Distinguished Expert 2019


As for connection between the phone and the 'thing', I initially thought WiFi, but I think that this would cause a Osh with the viewfinder, so probably USB-C would be best. Plus, with a cable you could potentially or a battery inside the thing which could be used to charge the phone.

Does such a thing exist?

Such a thing does not exist for Nikon.

You need to download the Nikon app from Google Play Store in Samsung S5 to connect your Nikon D7100 using Wifi connection.

You have asked an interesting question and have been given two really good suggestions for your needs.

I realise that this doesn't specifically answer your question, but seeing as you would be carrying a reasonably bulky lens anyway, I wonder whether you have considered a "bridge camera" with Wi-Fi capabilities?

A few years back I bought a Nikon Coolpix L830 (https://www.europe-nikon.com/en_GB/product/discontinued/digital-cameras/coolpix/2016/coolpix-l830) bridge camera.  The features that appealed to me were the tiltable screen, the 34x optical zoom (22.5-765mm), the compact size, the excellent ergonomic layout, and the fact that it can take 4 standard alkaline AA batteries or FR6/L91 lithium batteries or rechargeable EN-MH2.  It was also relatively cheap.

Of interest to you would be that It also has built-in Eye-Fi.  If I chose to do so I could transfer images or videos to a smartphone installed with the free "Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility" app and upload them wherever I wanted to.  (https://www.nikonusa.com/en/learn-and-explore/a/tips-and-techniques/using-your-nikon-cameras-built-in-wi-fi.html)

Mine's a good few years old now but has been a great little camera that (in my opinion) does successfully bridge the gap between a standard fixed lens digital camera and a full-blown and much more expensive DSLR.
meirionwylltSenior Desktop Engineer


Hi, thanks for your suggestions. I'm travelling now, hence my late reply, and hence the reason why I asked the question in the first place.

When I asked the question, I was hoping that this 'thing' would bypass my phone's camera entirely - lens and sensor - similar to what the Sony ones do. Not only because of the phone's lens/sensor's small size, but it's quite difficult to keep the lens' protective glass clean from dust and scratches when I already make heavy use of my phone for other things, so it's constantly in and out of my pocket. Also putting a lens on top of a lens (which is basically what the Turtleback and the Ztylus does) results in warped photos. So I'm not overly keen on these two for these reasons. Also there doesn't seem to be a strap attachment on these either, which I find is a rather glaring ommission.

Since the Ztylus is significantly cheaper than the Turtleback, if I don't find a more suitable option then I might give Ztylus a try.

And as for the Nikon app option, I would have to buy a Nikon WU-1a wireless adapter to give the camera wireless capability. This would help with all my photo management requirements, but I'd still need to carry the whole camera around with me.

I dunno, perhaps smartphones just aren't ready for this anyway, taking hundreds of photos, changing settings, etc - the battery would probably drain in no time, and all phones go slow after a while anyway, and a slow device is a disaster for good photography.

What I could also do, rather that the WU-1a, use the money to upgrade my D7100 to a D7200/D7500, because they have WiFi built-in.

I'll keep this open for a few more days in case someone else has any idea further ideas.

>>> "perhaps smartphones just aren't ready for this" <<<

They were never designed for this.  You are more likely to see digital cameras being "enriched" with some of the mobile phone's features than see mobile phones being "upgraded" into cameras with more versatile lenses.  Domestic appliances have become Wi-Fi enabled and equipped with screens and built-in apps, but you're realistically not ever going to see smartphones being equipped with fridges.
meirionwylltSenior Desktop Engineer


I don't agree with this.  I don't think that smartphones are far off this at all.

From what I see with the Sony lenses (e.g. Sony DSC-QX30) I mentioned before, these are actually quite close to what I need.  It's a lens and a sensor,  It takes the picture, and just sends a complete file to the phone.  The only drawbacks (in terms of what I want to achieve) are...

1. No way I can see of attaching a strap
2. No way of attaching your own lens
3. Apparently there is a lag on the viewfinder when moving around, due to the WiFi connection.

1 and 2 could be sorted if Sony made the product into more of a cradle/case with a standard lens attachment - just a bit more plastic and metal, nothing new here.

3 could be sorted if Sony gave the option of an USB-C connection as well as WiFi, again I can't see this being difficult to engineer.

When I suggested that smartphones aren't ready, I was referring to battery life, stability and the speed of a smartphone as it gets older - which I'm sure we can all agree are things that would benefit all users of smartphones generally, and not specific to this particular use case.

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