Thanks to the very mature iPhone accessory ecosystem, mobile photography can be taken to an entirely new level, thanks to what they call the olloclip. It’s a $69.99 accessory that’s available for both the iPhone 5 as well as the iPhone 4/4S that gives you three new rear-facing camera lenses to use: wide-angle, fish-eye, macro. The unit itself simply slides onto the top-right corner of your iPhone, making switching between the lenses a snap. Interested? Continue reading for the full review. You’ll also find our large gallery of images below as well as our video review.
First, I’d like to talk about its price and what you get for your money. At the time of this review, the price of an olloclip for both the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 4/4S is $69.99. Honestly, I feel as though that the price is just a tad bit too high, mainly depending on how much you plan on using the olloclip. I personally would’ve loved to see the price at around $39.99. Included in your purchase is the olloclip and its wide-angle lens attachment (more on that in a bit), a microfiber bag (which can also be used to clean the lenses), as well as some lens caps.
For your money, though, you get a really unique and quality product. The main base of the olloclip is made from a “soft plastic material that ensures a secure fit every time to the iPhone.” The lenses themselves “uses precision ground glass multi-element optics” while the lens barrels “are made from aircraft grade aluminum using a CNC machine and then anodized.” You have multiple colors to choose from, including black base/red lenses, white base/black lenses, and black base/black lenses.
Because the olloclip simply slides onto the corner of your iPhone, you can use any camera application with the olloclip and, depending on which you plan on using, you can create some really incredible looking shots thanks to this little attachment. Add-on the fact that you have three additional types of lenses to use, and you end up with an even more unique set of options when creating mobile photographs.
The largest lens is the fish-eye lens, which gives your photos a bit of a “bowl” to them, however you’re able to capture much more of an area compared to the other lenses. Opposite of the fish-eye lens is the wide-angle lens. You’ll end up with some blurring towards the edges of the photo, however you can see quite a bit more than without the lens at all. Lastly, we have the macro lens, which you’ll find once you unscrew the wide-angle lens from the base. I was a bit worried when doing this, which actually led to me dropping the wide-angle lens onto the ground on a number of occasions, primarily due to its size. The moral of this? Be extra careful when you’re unscrewing this particular lens. Additionally, due to its small size, one can easily lose it, especially when in public places. Nevertheless, my wide-angle lens ended up with some minor scratches and scrapes, fortunately with none of them being on the lens itself.
If you’re interested in recording video when using the olloclip, you’re free to do so. However, keep in mind that the rear-facing microphone is completely covered up, which will result in audio that’s noticeably lower in volume and a bit muffled. This is more than adequate for basic pans that don’t need to benefit from audio anyway.
Similarly, a portion of the LED flash is covered up, too, which will add a heavy white “wash-out” effect to some photos, so it’s better to simply not use it at all.
Overall, the olloclip for the iPhone 5 is a simple and awesome camera accessory that anyone who gets one will enjoy using. While the price is a bit high, one would easily forget that once they actually being using the olloclip. As mentioned earlier, many of the photos (and videos, for that matter) can be really unique and great to share with others and, when doing so, many will probably think that you’re using an expensive DSLR. When you tell them that you’re using your iPhone 5, the olloclip will immediately be of interest to them.
The bottom line is that this is a must-have accessory for those who wish to take their mobile photography skills to the next level. No other smartphone accessory gives you this much flexibility and creativity with your images, and that’s something to appreciate.