How do you take one of the world’s most popular photographic platforms and improve it? That’s the question that Olloclip have tried to answer here.
The Olloclip 3 in 1 lens system doesn’t stand alone. There are lots of add ons when it comes to iPhone photography. Some have proved to be better than others but rather than comparing the Olloclip to the more obvious competition. I’ve (possibly unfairly) decided to set the benchmark against the rest of my camera and lens systems that I use. Right from the off, I will tell you that the Olloclip doesn’t really compare but it’s still impressive.
The iPhone camera is very good. The sensor is ok but the lens is very impressive, especially for a camera phone. The Olloclip works on the basis that you can add ‘extra’ lenses using an ‘imprecise-but-close-enough’ clip that gives you even more creative freedom when out and about. Deployment is simple, clip it on the corner of your bare iPhone and off you go…
Well I say ‘simple’ but if you iPhone is in a case then its a bit of a fiddle to get it out and somehow, two hands doesn’t quite seem like enough when it comes to the process. I was acutely aware of the possibility of dropping either the Olloclip, my iPhone or possibly both but I’m pleased to report that I haven’t done so yet.
The Olloclip system includes three lenses, a 170 degree fish eye lens, a wide-angle lens and when this is unscrewed, the element underneath becomes a close-up macro style lens. The case doubles as a lens cleaner and given the ‘open’ nature of the fish eye lens especially, you’ll find that you’re constantly wiping and cleaning it.
You’ll instantly appreciate the new creative options that await any avid iPhone photographer once you put the Olloclip onto your phone and yes, the pixel peepers will tell you that the pictures do become softer but its a small price to pay for some fresh expressions which opened up.
Now even though I’ve squared all of my photos for this review, you can pretty much shoot in the usual aspect ration although as you can see, when using the fisheye lens, you will lose the image in each corner. The dark corners being the lens rim itself which creeps into the shot, put this is standard for many fish eye lenses and can easily be cropped out Post Production and while I’m on the subject, I’ve used the Camera+ app for the pictures in this review.
Video with the Olloclip
So what happens when you slide the switch over to video mode? Well, check out my review video below to see for yourself but there’s a couple of nice surprises waiting for you.
Firstly, with the wide angle lens on, the iPhone will record video at a similar focal length as when taking pictures. I find it really annoying that when deploying video mode, the view ‘zooms in’ by default (video mode only uses the middle of the sensor by default). With the wideangle Olloclip, you will find that the focal length for your videos will be pretty close to that for photographs. For people like me, this is great news, I love wideangle HD vistas and the Olloclip opens up a new world of opportunity here.
Secondly, remember how I said that the fisheye leaves the tell-tale corner patches in camera mode? Well due to the same ‘zoom effect’ as mentioned before, you will notice that they do not appear in video mode at all. Very nice indeed!
So in summary, The Olloclip offers some wonderful hardware effects for your iPhone photography. You sacrifice some sharpness for the privilege and sometimes swapping or installing the lenses can be a bit fiddly but compared to many of the other lens attachments available for the iPhone, the Olloclip is definitely one of the best and maybe thats where I should leave this review, by stating something that right at the very beginning, I said I wouldn’t be talking about.