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Nokia’s very own, and very cool, Smart Shoot, Cinemagraph and Panorama are just three camera lenses that help you unlock your creative potential with your Nokia Lumia 920 or Lumia 820.

Now, more and more developers are starting to release their lenses for Windows Phone 8 too – just think of them as apps for your smartphone’s camera.

As you would expect many of them are related to imaging and taking photos but there are also several lenses that extend the functionality of the camera in ingenious ways.


To get more lenses for your Lumia, just open the camera and tap the Lenses icon on the viewfinder screen.

You will see a list of the lenses that you currently have installed and at the bottom you’ll see the invitation to ‘find more lenses’. Tapping that will take you to a list of the lenses that are currently available for you to download.

Just like in the Windows Store, some cost money but many of them are free. Here are five lenses to whet your appetite.

Reading Lens (free for limited time) 

Reading Lens

This is a simple and clever use of your Lumia’s camera and will be particularly useful if you’ve lost your reading glasses!

Use your camera to focus on small text and, hey presto, you can see it large and clear on your display. You can also turn on the light and take snapshots of the page.

Many people struggle with their eyesight and Reading Lens could be a good temporary solution if you desperately need to look at a document and don’t have your glasses close to hand.

CNN iReport (free)


Citizen journalism has become an increasingly established part of the news business and this lens extension from CNN makes it much more convenient for you to share your images and video with them.

After launching the iReport lens you’ll need to login, register or sign in as a guest. This is so that CNN can contact you if you’ve stumbled upon a massive story! 

After that process is complete, you’ll see what very much looks like a normal camera. However, you’ll see some icons that also bring up some ‘layers’ over the viewfinder such as the form to submit your content (pictured above) or adding your content to similar assignments in your area (below).


CamWow (free)


After all that reporting on breaking news, you’ll need something a little more light-hearted and fun. CamWow should do the trick nicely!

This adds a host of filters to your images, which is nothing out of the ordinary, but this appeals because it is so easy and quick to use.

The camera will show four screens each with a different filter applied. Don’t like any of those effects? Just swipe across the screen to bring up four more filters. Repeat until you find something you want, tap on it and it’ll bring up the filter effect to the maximum display size.

If you have a favourite filter you can pin it to Start for quick access the next time and CamWow even works with the front facing camera.

Handyscan (free or £2.29)

Handy Scan

As its name suggests, this lens extension scans your documents, receipts, photos, statements or newspaper and magazine articles. 

They’re then stored securely on your Lumia and can uploaded to cloud services such as Dropbox or SkyDrive

This app will work on all Lumias, and the paid for version gets extra features such as PDF conversion and restoring your backups.

Voice Controlled Camera (free or £0.79p)

voice camera

Before you can use this lens, you’ll need to enable speech recognition on your Lumia and download your speech language pack (if you haven’t done so already).

To do this go to Settings > Speech and then check the Enable Speech Recognition Service box. Tap ‘Speech Language’ and select your language to download the pack.

When you’re all set up – open the app and you can take pictures using your voice!

It uses simple commands, such as ‘Take Picture’ or ‘Ready Camera’ which starts a countdown timer. The developer promises that voice controls for the flash and focus assist light are coming soon. 

As developers start exploring the potential of lenses there are bound to be more of them appearing in the Windows Store in the coming weeks and months, so keep your eyes peeled! 

Let us know in the comments box if there is a great lens that you’d like to tell us about.