Review: The Olloclip 4-in-1

Posted by Ryan Jerz on Monday January 20, 2014.

I got the Olloclip 4-in-1 as a Christmas gift this year and outside of this camera it was the most exciting thing to come my way in some time. It’s a fun addition to my phone’s repertoire, for sure. The Olloclip has been really intriguing for me for a long time. As someone who has moved from carrying a camera with me a lot of the time to primarily, if not almost exclusively, shooting with my iPhone, the prospect of a few different lens combinations being in my pocket is a pretty cool one.

The “Regular” Lenses

I wanted to take a few shots to compare what it does in relation to the iPhone’s camera in general. Here is the base photo:

That’s a shot of the wolf statue inside Mackay Stadium here on campus. It’s the plain iPhone camera zoomed out fully. Adding the wide angle lens of the Olloclip (an approximate doubling of the viewing angle, according to the website) yields this shot, from the exact same location:

You’ll notice some chromatic aberration on the edges of the wolves. It’s that slight color fringe that makes it look slightly less sharp than it could look. It’s also a tiny bit blurry at the edges, but the center of the shot is pretty sharp. The posts on the right side show a small curvature, which I think you can expect on the extreme edges of a wide angle lens. Looking at the images in full resolution betrays a really big difference in quality.

I also took the same shot with the fisheye lens on the Olloclip:

Some of the same issues exist as with the wide angle, but this lens is more meant to be fun and probably purposely off from a regular shot. I love the border that it has due to the angle. The website says that the fisheye covers an approximately 180 degree viewing angle, which I believe. Things I can’t fathom showing up in the shot do so.

The Macro Lenses

I haven’t shot anything considered “macro” for quite some time. Not since my days with the small point and shoot I used to carry. It’s as much out of a lack of equipment as desire. I never felt the need to buy a specific macro lens to slap on my Canon 30D, considering the price and the use I’d likely get out of it.

The Olloclip’s macro lenses come in a 10x and 15x variety. On each of the other lenses, you unscrew a piece to reveal the macros. The fisheye, for instance, unscrews to reveal the 15x lens. The same with the wide angle and the 10x. The Olloclip website says that the macros will focus at a distance of about 12-15mm.

I figured it might be best to take a couple of different shots to show what the macros will do for you. First, I took a shot of a pencil at an angle to give you a feel for what the range of focus would be. Here it as at 10x:

And here it is at 15x:

The magnification is clearly higher with the 15x version, which leads to a smaller range of focus. In short, you have to be really, really, really precise with the 15x as opposed to really, really precise with the 10x. I also feel like the overall sharpness is not quite what you’d call perfect with either. It’s good, but not on the money.

In order to get a shot that relies more on the center of the lens to give you the detail, I took some shots on my wintery grass with each of the macros. Here is the 10x:

And here is as close to the same shot as I could get with the 15x:

The detail is good, but even with the focal point at the center of the lens, it’s not perfect.

What I think

That doesn’t mean it’s useless, however. Far from it. I find all of these lenses—flaws and all—to be an excellent addition to my pocket of camera gear. I will have a fantastic time with the fisheye and wide angle, without a doubt. The iPhone 5s’s camera is a real treat to own and adding versatility in the form of a small, easily pocketable attachment to the phone makes taking better and more diverse photos very possible.

The Olloclip’s usefulness in the video realm can’t be understated. I’ve long wanted a wider angle for shooting video (the iPhone’s viewing angle is dramatically lessened when you switch the camera to video) for both personal and professional reasons. This solves that problem by itself. The macro lenses for use in some beauty video and b-roll will be tremendous. Overall, I think this is a swell product and one that, while I hesitated to buy on my own for a couple of years, I’m glad I now own.

Ryan JerzRyan Jerz is an all-around good guy who wants people to eventually refer to him as "that dude who climbs mountains."

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