Want to expand the functionality of your iPhone's camera? The Olloclip is a fun lens attachment for your iPhone 5, 4s and 4. For about $70, it comes with a fisheye, macro and wide-angle lens. Although it does have some drawbacks, this little lens can always be found in my purse.
Build and Design
The Olloclip is well-built. It uses precision ground glass multi-element optics for the lenses. The barrels are made from aircraft grade aluminum and the black attachment section is made from plastic. It holds sung to your iPhone without the need for an additional case or accessories. It comes shipped with a small microfiber carrying pouch which doubles as a lens cleaner. In order to change lenses, you simply unscrew or flip the Olloclip 180 degrees depending on your desired result.
The Olloclip offers 3 unique lenses: fisheye, wide-angle and macro. Image quality is different with each of the lenses, so I will discuss them separately.
The fisheye lens gives you an almost 180 degree field of view. At the center of the picture, the image is relatively sharp. Unfortunately, as you move to the outside of the picture, the image becomes much softer and loses a large amount of clarity. Image degradation is not uncommon with fisheye images. Generally speaking, the less expensive the lens, the more this phenomenon occurs.
The wide-angle lens gives users almost double the field of view of the iPhone camera lens. I have found this lens to be very helpful when I am shooting in tight areas or landscapes. The iPhone's proprietary lens is just not wide enough for most of this type of photography. Like the fisheye, I found that the image was sharpest at the center point. I also found that the Olloclip has quite a bit of distortion as you move toward the edges. Also, chromatic aberration was a problem with this lens (as seen below).
The macro lens is, by far, my favorite of all three options. This is the reason I bought the Olloclip for my iPhone 4s about a year ago and the main reason I use the Olloclip for the iPhone 5. The macro lens gives you 10 times the magnification of your iPhone's lens. Also, you have the ability to focus on a subject that is about 12-15mm away. The image quality from the macro lens is very good. I could spend all day shooting with just this lens.
Ease of Use
The Olloclip is as easy as sliding it in front of the iPhone's camera lens. It comes with a microfiber case that can also be used as a cleaning cloth. It is very simple to use and you do not need an additional case to use it. Changing the lens from wide-angle to macro is as easy as unscrewing the wide-angle lens and placing it in the carrying case. The lens that is left on the Olloclip is the macro. In order to switch to the fisheye you simply remove the Olloclip, flip it around and place it back on the iPhone.
If you do use a case with your iPhone, you must remove it before using the Olloclip. This is one of the biggest drawbacks of using the Olloclip. Also, if you use a screen protector it has a tendency to bubble or get lifted as you attach the Olloclip to the phone. I chose to remedy this problem my cutting off the corner of my screen protector. It has never scratched my phone. Olloclip is currently working on a case that will allow you to simultaneously use the Olloclip and case. This is a case you never have to remove from your phone.
Using your flash while the Olloclip is attached to your iPhone is not going to happen. The lens attachment covers part of the flash...rendering it useless. For some people this might be a deal breaker, but I have never wanted to use my Olloclip with my flash. I generally shoot with my Olloclip outdoors or indoors with available light.
The Olloclip is a fun attachment lens for your iPhone 5, 4s or 4. I always carry mine in my purse. It has traveled with me to Garden of the Gods and Pike's Peak in Colorado, various locations in Texas, local parks in Ohio and the Beaches of South Carolina. I love its flexibility and the creative ideas I get when I use it.
But the Olloclip does not come without some downfalls. The image quality is not sharp as a tack (let us not forget that it is attached to a small sensor camera in a phone). There is some significant chromatic aberration (purple fringing). As I mentioned earlier, you must remove your case when using the Olloclip. Also, the lens can also cause your screen protector to bubble or lift when attaching it. Lastly, using your flash with your Olloclip is out of the question. Because the clip covers part of the flash it is rendered useless.
None of the images in this review were retouched (besides the one shown below). I generally use Snapseed (a free iPhone and Andriod app) to edit and retouch my iPhone images. After spending less than 2 minutes with an image I can easily sharpen, color correct and adjust exposure. Give me 5 minutes with an image and I can add effects and/or color adjustments to my image as well.
$70 for a 3-in-1 lens is a great deal. The image quality is pretty good, especially when most of the images created with the Olloclip will be viewed on the computer or phone through social media sites. That being said, I was able to print an 8x10 image that was taken from my iPhone 4s and Olloclip combination. The quality is very good and no one would ever guess it wasn't taken with my iPhone.