Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Olloclip Telephoto Lens and Polarizing Lens Review

Want an interchangeable-lens iPhone? With the Olloclip it is a possibility!

The Olloclip is a lens system that you slide onto an uncased iPhone. You slide it over the iPhone camera and this changes how the camera lens behaves.

(For this review, I'll be focusing on the Olloclip zoom lens. If you want to check out the wide angle/fish-eye/macro lens system, check out my review in this post.)

You see, the iPhone has a 35mm-equivalent lens. This moderately-wide angle lens is perfect for group shots and street photography but is not good for distant subjects and especially in portraiture photography.

When you want to, say, shoot a head-shot, your tendency is to move the iPhone closer to get that shot from the top of the head to, say, your subject's shoulders. But the act of moving a wide-angle lens closer will distort your subject's face: what you get is a wider nose and stretched-back ears.

This is not a very flattering portrait.

But with a "long" lens, like 70mm or longer, the face is compressed resulting in a more flattering portrait.

With the Olloclip zoom lens, you get 2x-zoom. This will convert the iPhone lens to a 70mm-equivalent lens, just exactly what you need! This moderate zoom, albeit still short, would be very good for portraiture. 

(I said it's still short because you would still need to move closer to your subject. The perfect portrait lens is one that ranges from 100-200mm, though that would look ridiculous on a mobile phone).

And also, having a longer lens is always a great thing to have: with the Olloclip with 2x zoom, you can get closer to your subject without needing to walk as much to get the shot.

This 2x zoom is also perfect for street photography and when you want to be inconspicuous.

The thing I've noticed about the zoom lens is, with it, I got brighter photos. Maybe the light reaching the sensor is cut by the lens so the iPhone compensates by opening up the camera aperture or by increasing the ISO... I've always gotten a brighter photograph with the lens whether I use the native camera app or if I use one of the third party camera apps I have installed on my phone.

Also, because of the longer reach provided by the lens, camera movement is magnified. So, with the zoom lens attached, you should make it a point to stabilize your hands. 

This phenomenon is also true with DSLR zoom and telephoto lenses.

Next, if you turn the lens around, what you get is a circular polarizing filter. 

And the polarizing filter can actually be detached from the iPhone mount. If you do so, then you will be able to, with the included adapter, use the filter on the wide-angle and fish-eye lenses. How neat is that?!?

With the polarizing filter, you can cut off some light if you are in a very bright location, cut off reflections and glare, create bluer skies and create more vibrant photos.

Check out the photos of the wife below. The first one was shot without the polarizing filter, while the second one was shot with the filter attached. Notice that the reflection on the glass on the upper right corner of the photo was cut off in the second photo.

Next check out the two beach photos below, the first one is with the polarizing filter, while the second one is without the lens. In the first photo, the sky is a much nicer blue and you can see more details in the clouds and in the water. And the water is made more vibrant too!

And finally, there is an included adapter so you can use the lens on the 5th generation iPod Touch.

So, with the 2x telephoto and polarizing filter lenses, plus the wide, fish-eye and macro lenses, the Olloclip system essentially converted my iPhone to an interchangeable-lens camera that can make calls, send out texts, browse the internet, tweet, and a lot more! The Olloclip system essentially made my point-and-shoot camera obsolete as an everyday camera!

If only I can use it with a waterproof case... And with a battery pack...

The Olloclip Telephoto and Polarizing filter is Highly Recommended!

All photos were made either with the native iPhone camera app or with my most favorite iPhone photography app Hipstamatic.

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