If you would like to take your videography/photography with the iPhone to the next level, you might be interested in the Ōlloclip, a 3-in-1 lens (fisheye, wide angle, macro) combination that clips onto the phone. It’s small, lightweight, and easy to use. My husband gave it to me as a gift, and I finally got around to testing it out on a recent trip. The version I have is the original Ōlloclip with three lenses for the iPhone 5/5s. The company has newer versions with four lenses (fisheye, wide angle, 10x and 15x macro). They also sell a telephoto and a few accessories (see www.olloclip.com). There is also an app for the Ōlloclip in the App Store, which helps to compose your shots during filming.
I’m still exploring ways to use the Ōlloclip, but thought I would do a quick video review/tutorial about it:
I was impressed with the design and quality of the device. Basically, there are three lenses fashioned into a double-sided clip that can be easily flipped around to access either the fisheye lens (one side) or the wide angle-macro lenses (other side). The fisheye provides a 180 degree view of a scene, and the wide angle approximately doubles the field of view from the normal iPhone camera. To access the macro (10x on my version), you unscrew the wide angle lens. You have to get within about an inch (10-15 mm) of the subject to focus the macro properly (the app contains a loupe that helps to ensure a good focus with the macro).
The clip slips onto the top edge of the iPhone so that the desired lens is covering the rear-facing camera. The clip fits over a screen protector, but is too snug to work with a standard phone cover (other than one that Ōlloclip sells). The clip also covers the power switch on the top of the phone, but this is not a problem as a slot in the clip prevents it from pressing on the switch. You can still access the phone menu through the “Home” button.
All in all, I found the Ōlloclip to be well-made and easy to use. It seems to be pretty rugged, although it probably would not survive a drop to concrete. Due to its small size, the Ōlloclip is convenient to carry in a pocket or purse; however, the Ōlloclip’s small size also makes it easy to lose–so be careful. I carry it inside the provided bag but then store that in a larger bag along with some other iPhone accessories.
I especially like the macro, which works quite well to get close-ups of objects. See the next series of photos (of a dried rose) for a comparison. I snapped all of them without the aid of a tripod to see how much blurring might occur with minor hand shake (normally with macrophotography, you would want to use a tripod and also a remote shutter to eliminate movements that would blur the image).
The first one was taken with the regular phone camera–as close as I could get and stay in focus. If you zoom in, you see that the image is blurred, which I could not see when I took the photo.
The second one was also taken with the regular phone camera, but I used the pinch-zoom gesture to get a bit closer. The image is better but still out of focus.
The third one was taken with the Ōlloclip macro lens attached to the phone. I got the image in focus, and you can begin to see the individual cells of the rose petals; however, it was difficult to see if I had the focus just right while I was shooting (I was aiming for the crack in the center of the image).
The final image was taken with the macro lens plus the aid of the Ōlloclip app. I set the loupe in the app for 3x, which let me better see how well I was focused on the rose petal (this does not affect the view of the final photo). Although the point I selected (crack in the image center) was in focus, you notice that surfaces in other planes of view are not in focus. The iPhone is limited in controlling depth of field, but The Ōlloclip app allows you to select which part of the image you want to be in focus (AF) as well as the point of reference for exposure (AE), just by sliding two targets around on the screen. This dual setting provides a lot of flexibility in composing a shot. The native iPhone camera app, by comparison, only allows you to set the AE/AF together by tapping on a point on the screen.
The app also works without the Ōlloclip, allowing you to independently set the AF and AE for filming through the native iPhone lens. Conversely, you can use the Ōlloclip with other photography apps, but I’ve not tested those sufficiently to say how well they work with the Ōlloclip lenses.
You can find out more about the Ōlloclip at www.olloclip.com.