If you want to take your iPhone 6 photos to the next level, then perhaps you should consider the new ExoLens iPhone 6 lens kit, which just released and is the newest addition to the handful of lens kits currently on the market.
iPhone photography is growing in popularity, and there are already a few options as far as lens kits are concerned. Most notably, Olloclip is a popular option, and Moment also has it’s own lineup of iPhone 6 lenses. However, ExoLens is a newcomer to the iPhone photography camp, but it’s rookie status doesn’t hold back its ability to take cool photos on your iPhone.
What separates ExoLens from the rest of the pack is its unique mount that you slide onto your iPhone 6, from which you then can screw on different lenses. It’s certainly more bulkier than other similar products, but it comes with some added benefits. Let’s take a deeper look into the $129 ExoLens to see what shines and what could use some improvement.
ExoLens comes with an iPhone mount, a 165-degree wide-angle lens, a 4x telephoto lens, and a lens hood that can be screwed onto the telephoto lens in order to block sun and prevent glares.
Everything is made of metal rather than plastic, including the iPhone mount itself, which also has rubber padding on the inside to prevent scratching your iPhone 6 as you’re putting it on or sliding it off. Plus, the mount also has a built-in threaded hole to use with tripods. This feature alone is huge, as you don’t need to buy yet another accessory to mount your iPhone 6 to a tripod.
The quality of the lens kit is something special, and it feels like you’re handling miniature DLSR lenses of sorts. The lenses come with lens covers on both ends to prevent dust getting inside or accidentally scratching the glass, so you have some peace of mind knowing that they’ll be protected when you toss them in your bag, but the kit does come with a small microfiber carrying bag that can fit both lenses, although it’d be preferable if it was a bit bigger to accompany both lenses as well as the lens hood.
Installing lenses and switching them out is fairly easy and painless. You simply slide on the iPhone mount and then screw on the lens of your choice. I did notice that I would have to adjust the mount slightly to make sure that the lens was perfectly centered over the iPhone 6 camera. It didn’t really make a huge difference in image quality, but I was OCD enough that it bothered me if the lens was just slightly off-center.
As far as the lenses themselves, I feel like the wide-angle lens is a bit too wide. It almost feels like a fisheye lens, but I think that’s just a personal preference. I prefer Olloclip’s wide-angle lens, as it’s not as wide, thus less distortion, but I’d say the difference is negligible for casual photo takers.
The telephoto lens works well, although there is noticeable warping around the edges of photos, and it shows up well if there are straight lines in your photos, like a doorway or a pole off to the side. I talked to ExoLens about this, and it’s something that comes with the territory when you use external lenses on your iPhone, but if you’re that paranoid about it, you can crop out the edges of the image to at least get rid of some of the warping.
Left: iPhone 6 photo without ExoLens telephoto lens. Right: With the ExoLens telephoto lens.
With the lens hood that’s included, it simply screws onto the telephoto lens and provides protection against the sun to prevent glares and lens flares. I also noticed that the lens hood has threading on the opposite end of where you’d screw it into the lens. It looks like it’s maybe for adding on filters or something. ExoLens didn’t comment on this, but assured me that they’re “always working on other lens options,” so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them utilize the extra threading, as well as introduce more lenses in the future that will work with the included lens mount.
In the end, I almost want to say that I prefer the Olloclip lens, but it’s hard to compare the ExoLens to other iPhone lens options out on the market, mostly because it has it’s own unique features. The built-in tripod mount alone would have me using the ExoLens in all situations involving a tripod, but the Olloclip allows you to use it with the front-facing camera.
Overall, the ExoLens is a solid lens kit for the iPhone 6, but the built-in tripod mount isn’t worth having if you have to pay $50 more for it than the Olloclip, in which case I’d just buy a separate smartphone tripod mount.