If you haven’t already read my opening iPhotography post (http://www.mygeekinterior.com/professional-iphotography/) I recommend you do before reading on. If you don’t have time or need a bit of a recap – I’m going through all the components of my iPhone photography kit that I have assembled so far – starting with the lens kit.
So, the iPhones built-in lens is usually more than adequate for everyday fun snaps. The iPhone 6 spec sheet says it has an 8-megapixel iSight camera with 1.5µ pixels, ƒ/2.2 aperture and Five-element lens. What the hell does that mean to us? basically all this fancy talk means that the your iPhone has the equivalent focal length of about 30mm and its a great piece of kit for taking digital snaps.
Most DSLR cameras theres days come with an 18mm to 55mm adjustable zoom lens – so the 30mm focal length of the iPhone fits nicely in the middle and suits most situations. If like me however, you want to go to the next level and take some landscape or macro photos. You are going to want to have a bit more focal length flexibility. So how can we achieve this with our phone?
There are a couple of ways we can do this. Firstly you could use the iPhone cameras zoom – but this has it’s own problems. The iPhone camera doesn’t have an adjustable zoom so it has to rely on the camera apps software digital zoom. A digital zoom doesn’t increase the number of pixels the camera can capture – it can only enlarge those pixels. This doesn’t help when trying capture that amazing moment as the digital zoom won’t increase the clarity of the photo. In fact in most cases This also doesn’t help the landscape photographers out there as you can’t zoom out using the digital zoom at all.
Your next option is to use an after market lens kit. There are a number of kits available at various prices and build quality. They range from the $10 three-in-one kits available on eBay to the brilliant $499 offering from sony (DSC-QX100/B) seen below:
Now I don’t want to spend a fortune on a lens for my phone. I also don’t want something tacky thats going to break on first use or provide subpar results. A quick bit of research highlights that there are a number of middle of the range offerings available. My criteria for this bit of kit was pretty straight forward and included:
- Portable (if you read my pervious post you’ll remember I do most of my photography on the move);
- Decent quality;
- Easy to assemble and disassemble; and
- Needs to have a equivalent focal point of 18mm or less (all I really care about it landscape shots).
I found three decent options that fit my criteria pretty solidly and they included:
- Olloclip at approx. $100AUD – http://www.olloclip.com/product/iphone6-4-in-1/
- Inmacus at approx. $100AUD – http://launch.inmacus.com/18mm-hd-wide-lens-kit.html/
- Moment at approx. $140AUD – http://momentlens.co/shop/wide-lens/
While the Olloclip is the most well known lens – the iPhone 6 version can’t be used with any sort of screen protector. As I am quite partial to my screen remaining intact with no scratches I like to use a nice thick glass screen protector. This means that the Olloclip is out for me. The Moment lens attaches using a different method to the Olloclip and Inmacus. It uses a mounting plate which you stick to the back of your phone. This allows you to connect any of Moments lenses to it. Again, I’m not a big fan of sticking anything to my phone – so the Moment is out for me.
Lucky for me the Inmacus wide lens kit was on special during July so I grabbed one quick smart. I was impressed that the lens kit arrived within the week. Arriving with the kit was:
- The iPhone mounting clip;
- A wide angle lens plus lens caps;
- A +5 macro lens;
- A lens pouch and cleaning cloth.
For a detailed shot of what came with the kit check out below:
To ensure the lens fits snuggly over the iPhones camera the mounting clip ingeniously fits over the phones raised lens and locks in. Then the lens you want to use screws securely onto the mounting clip and your good to go.
The lenses feel nice and solid in the hand and the glass is impeccable in quality. While the mounting clip is made out of plastic the lens surrounds are good quality metal. I had no issues assembling the lens and attaching it to my phone. The lens caps are great and fit well. The pouch is a convenient way to carry the clip and lens but I’m going to try and find a neat little bag to fit all my iPhotography kit in when I can.
Enough about what the kit looks like how does it work? I’ve put a couple of photos below of the same shot taken from the same position. The first pic is using the iPhone camera without the lens kit.
The second pic is with the lens on:
Please excuse the messy room! I did want to put a nice landscape in this article but for the purpose of analysing the lens it didn’t provide a clear enough comparison between the naked iPhone camera and the camera with the lens kit on. I found that the pics above however did give a nice contrast between the two.
You can tell right away that the lens kit does increase the cameras real estate fairly significantly. In the first pic you couldn’t see past the DVD rack or even see our feature wall – while in the second you can. Not only does the lens increase the width of the photo it also increases the height of the shot which I found quite interesting.
You can also see in the second shot some of the distortion introduced by the lens. The walls on the edge of the photo look slightly rounded as does the cornice. While this does seen a bit off putting in the pic above this isn’t the worst distortion I have seen from a lens kit of similar quality In a landscape photo you won’t even notice it at all. For example have a look at the shot below I took last week. If you can see any distortion in it you have better eyes then I do thats for sure.
Okay, down to the last word. Do I think it is worth the money? Compared with the sacrifices I had to make with the other kits I think it is. If I didn’t mind the absence of a screen protector I probably would have gone with the Olloclip as I have used it on previous versions of the iPhone with great success. Will I keep using the Inmacus? For sure I think it is a great little kit and I’ll be using it until I purchase a new phone.
If you want to catch the next post in this series click on: a-compact-tripod-with-a-grip