Lots of people use the iPhone to take pictures and that’s fine. But for a segment of users, the iPhone has become our only camera.
As a photographer and lover of fixed-lens cameras, I’ve come to appreciate the limitations of what the iPhone can and cannot do as a way to help me exercize my creative juices in different ways.
But sometimes you want just a bit more flexibility and a small accessory can make all the difference. The Olloclip is just such an accessory and if you use your iPhone extensively as a photography tool, you need one of these kits.
The Olloclip is a small clip that attaches to the corner of your iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S, fitting over the corner where the camera is housed. Embedded in the clip are two lenses, which you access by flipping the clip to the appropriate side.
On one side is a macro lens which is part of a two element wide angle and the other side is a fixed fisheye.
So three lenses to shake things up a bit. This is a great set of tools to give your photos a little variation. The fisheye is fantastic for shooting things from a low or high angle and for snapping panoramas in less shots. The wide angle is good for those ‘everybody on the couch, backed up against the wall’ indoor snaps.
The macro ability of the iPhone 4S is pretty stellar on its own and the iPhone 4 wasn’t too shabby either. The macro built in to the Olloclip is simply off the charts. This shot of a crab was taken on the beach and the critter was only the size of a regular American quarter:
Overall there is a bit of comatic aberration with the Fisheye and some chroma issues here and there, but much, much better than I expected, especially in high-contrast situations.
In the end I used the macro and fisheye the most during my testing as the wide-angle only offers a slight advantage unless you’re in close quarters. This shot is a good example (note that I’m leaning back because I’m holding another iPhone with the LED on for off-camera illumination, a favorite trick of mine):
The Olloclip has become my constant companion when travelling with the iPhone as my camera. It comes with a small soft bag that you tuck your lenses into and offers so much more utility that it is well worth packing along. A couple of ounces for a lot more choices.
I understand the choice to fix the fisheye to the clip, as embedding it is probably easier in the manufacturing process and there is no real reason to remove it as there is not another lens underneath, but I sure would like the option. Having the Olloclip on with just the macro would make it nice and slim. It would also open up a mounting position for my other big wish list item, an optical teleconverter.
Aside from a couple of quibbles though, I’m loving the Olloclip. Disneyland, the beach and at home, I’m finding uses whether travelling or just shooting family close to the nest. Well worth checking out if you’re a frequent iPhoneographer.