Apple has its eyes firmly set on the short-form video market as it rolled out “its biggest update” for its video creation app, Clips,…
The Olloclip is a clip-on lens for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus presumably for the selfie lover and camera phone photographer. In many ways, it aims to enhance the iPhone’s already stellar camera, by giving users more variety and control over the likes of fish-eye effects and macro imaging. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, it’s a mixed bag.
Receiving and unboxing the Olloclip is a great experience, thanks to its curious multi-part design, quirky covers and the promise it brings. It’s essentially a 4-in-1 lens, consisting of a fisheye lens, wide-angle lens and a 10x and 15x macro combo.
It seems like a product with loads of variety, but it doesn’t quite live up to this.
One gets stuck with a gadget that’s neither necessary or occasionally useful beyond the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus’s default cameras. It is fairly compact and light though, and doesn’t look out-of-place on a phone or a lanyard accompanied by house or car keys.
Design and features
According to the company, the new Olloclip for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, has been completely redesigned over the iPhone 5s version, compatible with both the front and rear camera cameras. It’s a slightly industrial implementation, as the lens wraps itself over the top edge of the iPhone with the lenses falling into place accordingly.
It has a pin that one inserts to fit into the larger iPhone 6 Plus too. Clipping the device onto an iPhone 6 is a smooth process but it doesn’t look very attractive. It measures around 2.25-inches wide, 1.0-inch tall and 1.75-inches thick, so it’s definitely noticeable when snapped onto the phone.
It comes with a lanyard, the aforementioned pin for the iPhone 6 Plus, a set of three coloured plastic clips that stores the lenses allowing for easy travel. I found these coloured clips and lanyard completely useless though, as carrying lenses around the neck is silly.
Exploring with the fisheye and wide-angle lenses
In terms of lenses, both the wide-angle and fisheye aren’t very useful either.
Olloclip Two Lenses
Olloclip On Iphone6
Olloclip Fisheye Testing
Need to get everyone in one snap? The fisheye will let you do that.
For Instagram, the Olloclip is the perfect accessory.
Olloclip Macro Lens
The macro lens does allow for some amazing images.
The impressive gimmick with no actual photography functionality.
Olloclip Coffee Bean By Micro Lens
It's easy to get artsy with the Olloclip.
Olloclip Sand Granules
The macro lens does open up a world of new vistas.
Olloclip Old Towel
I bet you didn't think this was a piece of ragged old towel when you saw this picture.
This was so tiny that without the micro lens the iPhone could focus only when shooting the entire cactus.
With Micro Lens
...And with it.
Without Micro Lens
There's quite a difference between snapping macros without the Olloclip...
Macro Lens On Skin
Creepy but extremely impressive.
Olloclip Main Pic
First, the fisheye, although impressive to look at, doesn’t quite strike me as a necessity. It’s nice to have but beyond looking great, it does nothing for photography or video recording. It would be better, in a photographic sense, to pan across an image instead of snapping an image that has been distorted. The fisheye is perfect for selfies, as thirty people can easily squeeze into an image and all be perfect within the frame. So there’s that.
The wide angle lens is not any better though as the images I snapped were slightly bent at the edges as opposed to giving a wider landscape shot. There’s nothing special about it, even if it distorts the image less than the fisheye.
Close-up with the macro lenses
The best feature of the Olloclip is its macro lens arsenal, but even though they are competent and useful, they are not for everyday use. Both these macro lenses are accessible by removing the fisheye and wide lenses.
Using the 15x macro, the lens has to almost touch the subject to allow the camera to focus. Though the shallow depth of field is amazing and the bokeh effect achievable is great, the latter features a bit too much on the 15x lens.
Take a current generation smartphone camera and with enough skill and patience one can achieve a shallow depth of field without a clip-on lens. It will not get you as close to the subject as the macro lens, but again you really do not have to have one. I like clear perspective in photography, focused foreground, slightly out of focus background, and so forth as the subjects get further and further from the camera. Photography fails if it has an exaggerated shallow depth of field, leaving no real context within the image.
The 10x macro, on the other hand, does not require the photographer to be as close to the subject, but I couldn’t see the subject in some cases thanks to the iPhone itself hiding it from view. These lenses are great for snapping flowers and plants but any other camera with a decent depth of field can do that.
The macro lenses are effective when photographing small subjects, or subjects that are not visible by using an unaided camera. In this case, the macro lenses are quite impressive to work with.
Other problems with the Olloclip’s macro lenses is that they are extremely sensitive to the slightest movement. This means that videos are next-to impossible to shoot. The easiest way to counter this though is to download the Olloclip app which has a software stabiliser. The 10x macro is better at remaining focused as it has a less narrow depth of field.
To be fair, the Olloclip is brilliant at what it does, bar the unnecessary fisheye lens images. The macro lenses are a great addition and offer a new perspective on smartphone photography. But does one really need an Olloclip to enjoy using the iPhone 6’s camera? Probably not.
Verdict: The Olloclip fails to do anything that the iPhone can’t already, except for the macro lenses, which are great for extreme close-ups of objects. Beyond this, the Olloclip offers nothing new in enhancing the photo quality and won’t turn you into a wildlife photographer overnight either. Instead it’s a gadget that tries to be quirky and useful but it fails those who feel that photography is something more than just a hobby. Still, it’s nicer to have than not especially if you enjoy experimenting with smartphone snapping.
The Olloclip 4-in-1 for iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus is priced at R999 and is available at the iStore, The Gadget Shop, Takealot & ORMS.