“ Manufacturer: Olloclip / Type: Lens Accessory „
-- Overview --
I discovered this lens system for iPhone 4/4S by accident, when looking at iPhone camera reviews and accessories. I watched a few videos on YouTube and saw some example shots online, showing people using the Olloclip lens to take wideangle/fisheye and macro shots with their iPhone. I have a keen interest in macro photography, so immediately my interest was piqued!
-- Hardware --
The Olloclip 3-in-1 lens system is one single accessory that contains 3 different lenses, which fits neatly over the top corner of your iPhone 4/4S. On one side there is a fisheye lens, and on the other end is wideangle. But the killer feature, for me, is the macro lens that is hidden beneath the wideangle. Unscrew this wide lens and a 10x magnification macro lens is revealed!
The lens comes complete with lens caps fitted to either end, and a soft pouch to carry the lens around in. I do recommend keeping the lens in this pouch, since the area between the lenses (where the iPhone fits in) is open and the inside of the lenses is therefore exposed. For this reason, you'll want to keep the whole lens accessory away from dust and dirt, so you do not want to just throw it into your bag or pocked 'as-is'. Keep it in the pouch and it'll save dust etc. from getting onto the lenses. Maybe a quick blast from a compressed air duster every so often would be a good idea.
-- Wideangle --
The wideangle element of the 3-in-1 lens system is pretty good. Photographs are distorted slightly around the edges, particularly in the corners, but overall image quality is good. I think the extra ground covered in the photo makes the slight distortion a worthwhile trade-off, particularly if you are indoors and want to fit more of the room into a shot, or a sweeping landscape etc.
-- Fisheye --
The Fisheye lens in the Olloclip is great fun, giving your iPhone a super wide field of view. With photography, the image is greatly distorted around the edges, making the picture into more of a circular shape, but the amount you can fit into one picture makes it very useful. Some people will enjoy the effect, whereas others might find it more of a novelty, or wish for less barrel distortion.
When shooting HD video, though, the fisheye lens is even more impressive, since the focal length is shorter during video recording, so the barrel distortion effect is lessened greatly. This achieves a very wide field of view during video capture, offering the iPhoneographer a very useful way of fitting an entire room, or super-wide landscape, into one shot, instead of having to pan around a lot. This is great fun to use!
-- Macro --
This is the main reason for buying this lens, in my opinion. I love macro photography, and have experiment with several different methods of capturing extreme close-ups in the past. I have used 'super macro mode' on compact cameras, a DSLR with extension tubes, and a bridge camera with a macro converter fitted to its lens. In my opinion, the iPhone 4S with Olloclip macro lens, is the best solution for extra close-up shots. The sheer convenience of always having the iPhone in my pocket, means it is, by default, the best camera I have ever owned. I can (and do) achieve DSLR-like results from my iPhone, by having it with me at all times, and editing my photos with various awesome iOS apps. like Big Lens, Snapseed and Lensflare.
I realise that a DSLR with a proper 1:1 macro lens would offer a superior macro performance and much image quality, but even an entry-level camera such as the Nikon D3100, with a Tamron 90mm Macro lens, would set you back around £700 (or over £500 used) and then you have to carry around a fairly large camera, with a large lens fitted to it! The iPhone 4S is tiny, light, and always with me. And the Olloclip weighs next-to-nothing and only costs £50-60.
The image quality from the macro lens is excellent, with some loss in quality and mild distortion around the edges, but the sheer convenience and fun of having this lens on my iPhone makes it the best accessory I have ever owned! It is capable of superb shots, and really opens up your iPhoneography to an area of photography that would just not be possible, without this lens system.
-- In Summary --
As you can tell - I love the Olloclip. I have not used the fisheye or wideangle lenses all that much, but I use the macro lens extensively. It's a huge amount of fun, and capable of some awesome results. The working distance (from end of lens to subject) is only around 12mm or so, which makes it quite a challenge to use at first, but I'm used to working that way now and it only really poses a problem if I am trying to photograph something like a wasp or ant, which would usually fly/run away when I get close enough to shoot a portrait of its face!
The distortion around the edges of the pictures taken with these lenses, is sometimes slightly annoying, but is a very small price to pay when you are getting such good macro shots with your iPhone. It does not really do anything to detract from the shot itself, and can usually be cropped out, meaning you can lose the edge-distortion from the image, AND get even closer to the subject in the photo.
I was slightly reluctant to spend £60 on this to start with, but being into photography so mach and loving macro shots especially, I decided it was worth the risk. I have since sold my DSLR and compact camera, as they were a pain to carry around with me, whereas my iPhone (and usually Olloclip) is always in my pocket! Now all I need is a decent telephoto iPhone lens...
I am not sure if I am allowed to link to my Flickr account from here, but if you're interested to see the results of the macro lens, let me know and I'll link you to my Flickr so you can see what it's capable of! :)