The camera on the iPhone has never been much of a slacker. As a professional photographer, I’ve relied on various Apple snappers on assignments over the years when I have found myself in a situation where a “real” camera could not do the job.
The iPhone camera, though, isn’t what you’d call a perfect substitute and there are a lots of add-ons that seek to expand the its abilities beyond the built-in defaults. One such peripheral is the Olloclip lense, which sticks to the back of your phone and combines multiple optical upgrades for the cameras. It’a also been updated for the iPhone 6 and 6 plus.
Olloclip’s new system can accommodate both the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus without an issue. The new 4-in-1 lens system includes a fisheye lens, wide-angle lens and two macro lenses.
The new mount system is pretty fantastic, unlike previous versions that clipped on the corner of the phone and always felt like it was going to fall off. This new 4-in-1 system has a metal clip that slides over the middle of the phone and uses plastic inserts to adjust the fit for the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. The major plus is that it works like a dream with both the front and rear cameras.
The Olloclip comes packaged with black, blue and green pendant clips, which enable you to either hook your new lens to the provided lanyard or whatever else takes your fancy. Everything is really well built and quite compact; I have had my set attached to my camera bag for the past few weeks and it is out of sight but easy to get to when I need them.
Swapping between the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus inserts proved to be a little bit of a chore, but there is an instruction card showing you how to do this included in the pack. While swapping between phones may be a little frustrating, it’s doubtful many users will be doubling up with both an iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, so a minute of your time to make the fiddly transfer isn’t really the end of the world.
Because of the size difference of the 6 and 6 Plus there had to be some compromise. The system clips into place perfectly and easily on the 6 covering both lenses perfectly, on the 6 Plus it mounts just as easily, however, you have to move the clip left or right to cover the lens that you are going to use. Once in front of the correct lens, it seats perfectly and you can snap away.
The fish-eye lens will give you a view of almost everything around you, including your feet if you are not careful. It was the first of the lenses that I tried out and the urge to pull it out for every picture became irresistible after only a few minutes.
While, the images are very sharp in the middle, the crispness drops off towards the edge of the frame as is expected from this type of lens. Colour and contrast is good, but depending on lighting some fringing does appear in some shots.
The wide-angle lens is a little disappointing; while it does give you a wider field of view compared to the standard lens on your iPhone, the images are a lot more blurry around the sides of the frame and straight lines tend to bend quite badly. Personally I would rather take a step or two back and use the standard lens than sacrifice the image quality, but if you are in a situation where a wide angle is needed and you can’t move around then it is still a good lens to have in your bag.
10x and 15x Macro Lenses
Olloclip’s macro lenses are worth the price of this kit on their own, the quality and sharpness of the images made with these two lenses are mind-blowingly good. I would almost go as far as to say that they are almost better than any image that I have shot on a real camera.
Included in the kit are a 10x and a 15x macro lens, the focus falls away towards the edge of the images, but this is typical of any macro lens. The 10x is my favourite of the two lenses as there are less distortion and fringing. But with both of these lenses you can attempt and get some really fantastic shots.
At around R900, the Olloclip isn’t cheap but given the results compared to buying a separate camera system, the 4-in-1 kit is good value for money. They are simple to use and the upgraded clip really secures it to your phone properly. The size of this system ensures that it is not a pain to have it with you pretty much everywhere that you go. It is even small enough to fit into your skinny jeans, which means that you will have it to hand when the barista hands over a cappuccino with a pretty picture of a cat.