The Olloclip ($69.95), by Patrick O’Neill and Chong Pak, is a clip on lens set for your iPhone 4, featuring a wide-angle, fisheye, and macro lenses. Originally a Kickstarter project, Olloclip is now available directly from the website for purchase.Unlike other lens sets that require you to glue attachment rings to your precious iPhone, the Olloclip simply clips on, making it exceptionally easy to use.
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What Comes with the Olloclip
The lens barrels are made from aircraft-grade anodized aluminum. And although the clip itself is made from plastic, it is thick and strong. This is no chintzy plastic lens set. When you hold it in your hand, you can tell it is well made. The Olloclip comes in two colors: black and red. Included with the Olloclip is a small velveteen bag for storage, lens caps for the wide-angle and fisheye lenses, and a brief instruction card. You can find more detailed information on the Olloclip website.
In one compact unit, the Olloclip includes three lenses. The fisheye lens is permanently affixed to the clip. On the other side of the clip are the wide-angle and macro lenses. To access the macro lens, simply unscrew the wide-angle. Each lens is made of precision ground glass multi-element optics, not plastic.
Using the Olloclip
To use the Olloclip, position the lens you want to use over the iPhone’s camera lens. The Olloclip fits snugly over the corner of your iPhone, so you need not worry that it will fall off. Once you’ve positioned the lens, you’re ready to take photographs. You can use any camera app with the Olloclip.
The photographs you can take with your Olloclip will simply amaze you. The wide-angle gives your iPhone a much wider range of view. The fisheye allows you to take some wonderfully unique shots. But the macro lens is my favorite, probably because I do so much macro photography with my DSLR.
With the macro lens on your iPhone, you can take amazingly good close ups of anything you can get your iPhone close to. What’s cool is that you can get your iPhone in places a DSLR can’t go. For example, I took this photograph in my Mom’s old typewriter. I never would’ve been able to get this shot with my DSLR.
The macro lens requires a steady hand, otherwise your shots will be blurred. Also, you have to get incredibly close to your subject. I’ve not been able to capture any fast moving insects with this lens. But for stationary objects, this lens is spectacular.
I love, love, love the Olloclip. It has taken my iPhoneography to a whole new level. The clip is small and pocketable. And, while it is solidly made, it isn’t heavy or cumbersome to use. You can take terrific, high-quality photographs with the Olloclip lenses. The only thing holding you back is the iPhone’s 5 megapixel limit.
The Olloclip is fantastic, and I have no major complaints to voice. The only potential problem I’ve discovered is that the Olloclip is small, and it might be very easy to drop it in a pocket and put it through the washer. The removable lens caps are probably going to be the first things I will lose. My main concern is that I will lose the wide-angle lens because I remove it most of the time to use the macro. But, really, this isn’t a criticism of the Olloclip, per se. It’s really more about my own absentmindedness and tendency to lose small objects. The only other thing you need to be aware of is that you cannot use the Olloclip with an iPhone case. It works only with a naked iPhone.
Just Buy One . . . Now!
If you do photography with your iPhone, just go ahead and buy an Olloclip. You won’t regret it. The only unknown factor right now is the rumored iPhone 5 (or 4S or whatever they decide to call it). If the new iPhone has a radically different form-factor, the current Olloclip won’t fit it. I’m pretty sure the company will create one for the new iPhone whenever it arrives, but you’ll likely be in for a wait.
As you can tell, I love my Olloclip. A few more photographs taken with my iPhone 4 and Olloclip follow. If you buy an Olloclip (and you should), be sure to join the Flickr Olloclip group and tag your photos with #olloclip on Instagram. Happy shooting!
**Note: As of today (8/18/11), the Olloclip store indicates that all variations of the Olloclip are sold out. They expect a new shipment August 22, so if you want an Olloclip, go ahead and pre-order now.