One of the iPhone 4/4S camera’s shortcomings is its fixed lens with narrow field of view and mediocre macro capability. That’s where the OlloClip comes in! This little guy packs three lenses into one: A 180-degree Fisheye, Wide-angle that doubles the iPhone’s field of view and a Macro that offers a 10x magnification and can shoot from a mere 12mm away from the subject. Not only does the OlloClip look badass and will score you dates, but it comes in a nifty little carrying sack and two different colors. Did the OlloClip survive my ruthless digital imaging tests? Read on to find out.
- Three lenses in one for hours of fun!
- Spectacular Macro quality
- Will make professional photographers jealous
- Gobbles up the Lock Screen button
- Lens barrel distortion with wide-angle lens
- Chromatic aberrations with fisheye lens
The OlloClip is a niftily engineered little contraption. First off, it comes in black or a red/black two-tone scheme, and I think red is the sexier of the duo. With that out of the way, the OlloClip fits iPhone 4/4S models and nothing else–sorry Androidians! True to its name, the OlloClip is actually a plastic clip sandwiched by two lenses–a wide-angle and larger fisheye. However, unscrewing the wide-angle lens reveals a third lens, the OlloClip’s Macro glass. The clip slides onto the top right corner of the phone, naturally fitting over the iPhone’s built-in lens.
Here’s the thing about the OlloClip. Its design prohibits the use of the Lockscreen button. This could have been remedied by adding a spring-loaded external lock button on the clip portion of the apparatus. But, we don’t get that luxury and must remove the OlloClip in order to wake the phone up or put it to sleep. That’s okay though, for any devout photographer is accustomed to a few extra steps with interchangeable lenses, memory cards and battery packs, so this is a minor issue.
The OlloClip comes with two lens caps and a carry sack. It’s fairly compact, but not something that would fit comfortably in a pocket. I kept the OlloClip in my backpack or jacket pocket and that did the trick. Luckily, the OlloClip sack’s microfiber fabric doubles as a lens wipe, which is essential since the smaller optics risk inadvertent fondling and fingerprints during repeated iPhone application.
Let’s buckle down the specifics of each lens. The Fisheye is the most aggressive of the trio, converting that conventional iPhone lens into a 180-degree field of view piece of spheric optic goodness. The Fisheye is ideal in tight situations like a cramped store or packed corner, but its striking globe-like effect is best suited for taking artistic images. I loved the Fisheye lens for its ability to transform the iPhone’s lens into a completely different set of optics and its range was so great that I actually had to keep my fingers off the back of the phone or else they’d end up in the shot.
Now for the wide-angle. This lens will approximately double the wide-angle capability of the iPhone’s lens, allowing you to pack a lot more into your shots without stepping back. Wide-angle lenses are traditionally geared toward family portraits, landscapes and depth manipulation. Objects in the foreground will look closer and larger than they actually are, therefore the wide-angle lens can be used in artistic situations as well as the Fish-eye, though the field of view on the wide-angle is not nearly as drastic.
Last up we have the Macro lens, which can be accessed by unscrewing the Wide-angle lens. The Macro lens was by far my favorite member of the trio, courtesy of its superhero strengths. We’ll start with its 10x magnification multiplier, which enables the OlloClip’s Macro lens to focus from a mere 12-15mm of the subject. It was scary how close I was able to focus–it was like taking pictures with a microscope. Check out the image samples taken with the Macro lens. They are insane.
Here’s the deal. The OlloClip is as freaking fun as the day is long on a double shift. The Macro lens is by far the OlloClip’s strongest performer with its flabbergasting 10x magnification. The image quality is fantastic, along with the Macro’s ability to adequately define an amoeba. If you’re curious as to what certain materials look like under a small microscope, use the Macro lens.
Then there’s the wide-angle lens. As stated before, the wide-angle doubles the iPhone’s field of view, but at the cost of some pretty significant lens barrel distortion. It was great to have extra real estate to shoot with, but the lens barrel distortion turned straight lines into bananas. This occurred in both landscape and portrait orientations. If you can live prosperously in Bendy Town, then the wide-angle lens will be fine, but I was a bit irked while shooting with it unless I thought of it as a tame fisheye lens.
Ah, and then the OlloClip’s Fisheye lens. Spheric phenomena is a great effect, and the 180-degree field of view was fantastic for cramming everything and its mother into the shot. However, and this is a big however, the Fisheye lens exhibited a fair dosage of chromatic aberrations. Blooming effects loomed in the distance within heavily contrasted areas and all images were “hazy.” This is a result of very small lenses being configured to fit in a very small housing. It’s strikingly noticeable in the video at the bottom of the review, for when I place the Fisheye lens on the iPhone, it’s as if I teleported us all to LA. The haze is profound. Watch your lighting with the Fisheye lens–the brighter the environment, the more noticeable the haze effect will be.
For 70 bucks, the OlloClip is a fun little addition to any iPhone 4 or 4S, if anything strictly for bragging rights. What’s cooler than brandishing an oversized lens and slapping it on your iPhone for all to ogle at? The OlloClip’s Macro lens is its shining star, and I wish digital compacts could match its performance. As for the Wide-angle and Fisheye lenses, you read about the issues I had. If you can live with them, then the OlloClip is worth it. But I’d like to see the lens barrel distortion and hazy effect absent from the next iteration of the OlloClip. There’s no doubt about the fact that most iPhone shooters will enjoy the OlloClip. But if you have any form of photography background, you’ll want to sit this round out.