olloclip’s 4-IN-1 iPhone 5/5s Lens Kit Covers All the Angles

| In-Depth Review

The olloclip 4-IN-1 lens system for the iPhone 5/5s replaces the original 3-IN-1 system. The new kit features a fisheye, wide-angle, 10x macro and 15x macro. The optics have been improved in addition to enhancing the new features built into the iPhone 5s lens.

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What's important to know is that this 4-IN-1 system costs the same as the original 3-IN-1 system, includes an extra 15x macro, has better optics, and comes in three versions: iPhone 4/4s, iPhone 5/5s, iPod touch 4th/5th generation. For clarity:

Original 3-IN-1

  • 10x Macro
  • Wide-angle
  • Fisheye

New olloclip, 4-IN-1

  • 10x Macro
  • 15x Macro
  • Wide-angle
  • Fisheye

Previous Reviews of olloclip Products

For reference, The Mac Observer has previously reviewed the other products in the olloclip family:

1. New olloclip 2X Telephoto for iPhone: Glass Beats Software, July 30, 2013

2. olloclip’s Quick-Flip Case for iPhone: Ingenious Solution, June 5, 2013

3. olloclip Lens Kit for iPhone 5: Improve Your Image [UPDATED], November 15, 2012

4. olloclip Lens Kit for iPhone: Great at Any Angle, March 14, 2012

5. olloclip 3-in-One Photo Lens Is Terrific, February 17, 2012 (Nancy)

Features

In every one of these reviews, the ollclip product was found to be impressive, of high quality, and received a great rating. This new product is no different. Except. It's better. For starters, here are the formal features and benefits of the 4-IN-1.

  • Fisheye lens captures approximately a 180 deg. field-of-view.
  • Wide-angle lens nearly doubles the iPhone’s normal field of view.
  • 10x macro lens: 10X magnification with a 18 mm focus distance.
  • The 15x macro lens 15X magnification, with a 12 mm focus distance.
  • Enhanced panorama increases the field of view, horizontally and vertically, when used with the iPhone’s panorama mode.
  • Size: 1.5 x 1 x 1-inch (37 x 25 x 25 mm).
  • Weight 0.83 oz. (23.4 g).
  • Compatibility: iPhone 4/4s, 5/5s, iPod touch 4th and 5th generation (with special adaptor included with the lens; also can be used with all photo and video apps).
  • Colors: Black, silver, red.
  • Lens caps are included.

olloclip claims "The wide-angle and fisheye lenses have been improved to deliver sharper images, edge to edge, with less lens distortion and enhanced clarity overall." Let's take a look at that claim.

The Fisheye Lens

I was able to see an improvement in the quality of the fisheye from the first generation to the second generation. Here's a shot of some of our plants with the first generation lens.

Original 3-IN-1 fisheye

And below is the second generation fisheye. Note the improved clarity of the wall clock at the top edge of the photo.

New 4-IN-1 fisheye

The Wide-angle Lens

Here's a similar photo pair with first generation wide-angle lens.

Original 3-IN-1 wide-angle

Again, below is the second generation lens. Note that the magnification is just slightly lower, and the lines are straighter, especially at the top right of the photo.

4-IN-1 wide-angle. Note the more square window frame, top right. Straighter lines.

Macro lenses

The original macro lens had a 12 to 15 mm focus distance which meant that the image could occasionally be poorly illuminated due to obstruction. In the second generation, the focus distance has been increased to 18 mm to allow more light on the object. The 15x macro is verging on the territory of a hand-held microscope and has a focus distance of 12 mm.

Here's a shot of a U.S. penny with the 15x macro. I made sure I had plenty of light. I'll guess that this capability will appeal to more than just photographers.

4-IN-1:  15x macro.

Telling Old From New

The original 3-IN-1 shipped in a black microfiber bag. The 4-IN-1 ships in a gray microfiber bag with red string. That's intentional so the user can keep track of what's what. It's nice attention to detail. Also, the old 3-IN-1 lens had a back rim on the fisheye side. The second generation has a red rim on both ends.

Using the olloclip

The first generation system only had one lens to unscrew to go from wide-angle to macro so there could be no confusion. With the 4-IN-1, both sides have a lens that unscrews to expose the macro lenses. But they can't be accidentally confused and switched because the base of the outer two lenses, the threads, have a different diameter. You can't screw the wrong lens onto the macro core. That's just part of the thoughtfulness olloclip adds to its products.

Just like the previous generation, you'll have to remove any iPhone case you're using, and there could well be a problem peeling the edge of a screen protector. When attached, the black base covers the power/sleep button and also covers most of the flash on an iPhone 5/5s. This lens is designed to be used without a flash. (Also, see this article for hints on how to take photos without actually touching the iPhone.)

As I mentioned in previous reviews, the plastic section that slides onto the iPhone has just the right texture. It holds the lens kit with complete confidence, yet there seems to be zero chance of it scratching the iPhone.

The olloclip app that's been in the App Store for awhile was updated for iOS 7 right after iOS 7 was released. This free app adds additional editing and operational features. It requires iOS 6.1 or later.

  • Mesh Editor Tool helps remove image barrel distortion
  • Video Mode
  • Normal Mode
  • Macro mode helps adjust focus
  • Independent reticles for focus and exposure

Packaging & Documentation

As mentioned above, the kit comes in a microfiber bag that can double as a lens cleaning cloth. (I'd use the inside.) The olloclip packaging is always first-class.

olloclip has a first-class website with information about the lenses, FAQs, User Manuals and warranty information -- which is one year. There's even a page on tips and tricks for photographers. olloclip has always had a money back guarantee.

Denouement

I am not a professional photographer, but I'm starting to hear stories here and there about a few professional photographers who are quite impressed with the camera lens and software in the iPhone 5s. It has lots of capabilities, and they are especially enhanced by this 4-IN-1 system. In some special circumstances, a lot can be done with this duo, olloclip and iPhone 5s, that was only possible a few years ago with a DSLR.

If you take a lot of photos with this kit, olloclip sells a very nice plastic case that's designed to be used with these lenses and affords as much protection as many of the other minimalist cases. That is, scratch and minor drop protection, but not serious protection like the kind you'd get with, say, and Otterbox Commuter or Defender.

As with all the previous olloclip products, this one gets an enthusiastic recommendation. The only negative I can think of is that one must remove a favorite case which can be tedious. I don't think that problem can be solved; it's just part of this product's design—which is, in every other respect, excellent.

Given that olloclip sells its own special case to solve that problem, and the product has no other problems I can think of, it deserves a TMO 5/5, Outstanding.

Product: 4-IN-1

Company: olloclip

List Price: US$69.99

Pros:

Better optics than 1st generation, adds 15x macro, great documentation, color coded microfiber cloth, lens caps, impossible to attach outer lenses incorrectly.

Cons:

User must remove any case before attaching. Or use olloclip's case.

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