I’ve always been impressed with the iPhone’s camera, and particularly with iPhone 5 range, the 8-megapixel sensors do a great job of taking high quality shots.
When it comes to having a little bit more fun with your photography, though, you’re limited to Apple’s Panoramic setting and filter features to play with, and that’s where Olloclip’s 4-in-1 lens (£60/$70) comes in to bring more options to the table.
As the name suggests, the 4-in-1 is essentially a set of portable lenses that you attach to your iPhone 5/5S, including Fish Eye & Wide Angle lenses, as well as a couple of 10x & 15x Macro lenses for those super detailed close-ups. You get a small carrying pouch and two plastic lens covers in the box, too, protecting the lenses from dust and potential scratching.
The lenses looks great, setting them up takes seconds and importantly, the entire thing is very compact and portable.
Design & Build Quality
Any concerns I had about build quality and particularly durability were squashed as soon as I got my hands on the Olloclip. The anodised, aircraft grade aluminium feels tough and resistant, and I’ve comfortably thrown the 4-in-1 lens in my bag & jacket pocket without concerns about damaging it.
I’m a big fan of the red too, but if you also have silver, space grey or even gold as alternatives to choose from.
Admittedly, another of my initial concerns about the Olloclip was its ability to stay in place once attached to the iPhone.
Thanks to the plastic attachment’s snug fit to the iPhone though, the Olloclip holds its position well under normal use; only showing signs of falling off when I’d vigorously shake it. And let’s be honest, how often is anyone going to be doing that?
4x The Lenses, 4x The Fun
I’m not going to spare the complements, the Olloclip’s lenses take some incredible shots and are a lot of fun to use. And just to give you guys an idea of just how great they are, I took three different shots of Tower Bridge in London (below) from roughly the same spot using the iPhone’s lens, and then Olloclip’s Wide Angle & Fish Eye lenses.
Just as promised, Olloclip’s Wide Angle lens captures a much wider field of view compared to the iPhone’s standard lens. It’s perfect for those situations where you’re tight for space and can’t back up, like tight group photos or packed tourist attractions for example.
While the Wide Angle lens was great, I had the most fun with the Fish Eye lens. I like to think of it as a more fun way of taking panoramic photos, and the end result is a peephole-style view that captures an even greater field of view. Besides, it saves me the trouble of spinning around trying to take a perfectly aligned panoramic photo!
Close-up of the Twelve South SurfacePad case for iPhone
If you enjoy taking super-detailed close ups, you’re bound to enjoy using Olloclip’s 10x and 15x Macro lenses, both of which are accessible by unscrewing the Fish Eye and Wide Angle lenses from the main plastic adapter. Conveniently (and intelligently), the Fish Eye & Wide Angle lenses have different sized screw-ons, so you won’t get them mixed up when putting them back on the adapter.
Using the 15x Macro lens for the photo above, I was able to focus in on all of the details from the stitching to the genuine leather of Twelve South’s Surface Pad for iPhone. The result of course is a high quality, detailed photo that I couldn’t achieve with the iPhone alone (mainly because it couldn’t correctly adjust focus).
I’ve had so much fun with the level of detail I can get from these 10x and 15x Macro lenses that I’ve actually been going around the house finding new things to take close-up photos of!
The great thing about the 4-in-1 lens is that it’s so portable. With the small accompanying carrying pouch you can quite literally throw it in to a trouser pocket or bag, quickly attach it to your iPhone and voila, you have four more ways to take photos.
For those who like to use cases with their iPhone’s though, you won’t be able to attach the Olloclip, since it’s designed to fit perfectly on a naked iPhone. Even with something as thin as Truffol’s leather skins, the plastic adapter struggled to fit on the iPhone, and so the only workaround is to use Olloclip’s own quick-flip case that’s been specifically designed to allow you to attach & remove the lens.
Olloclip Camera App
Olloclip’s camera app (see screenshot here) has a bunch of functionality that enhances the 4-in-1 lens experience.
Features include a dedicated Macro Mode (helps you set focus), Mesh Editor Tool (allowing you to add extra curvature to photos) and pre-set zoom levels of 4%, 8% and 12% that are convenient for Macro shots. One of my favourite features is Reticles, which essentially allows you to set focus and exposure independently; something not available with the native iOS camera app.
During my time with the Olloclip I’ve struggled to fault it. They’ve nailed the design and build quality, it works as intended and the end product is just as impressive. More than that, it’s given me the ability to have more fun with my iPhone’s camera than I’ve ever been capable of, and that’s something valuable that not many other accessories have done for me.