Smartphone photo technology is decent enough now that the pros don’t have to be too embarrassed about taking pictures with their phones. Take, for example, the iSight camera on the iPhone 5S. The lens is good and the aperture is wider than ever, and Apple backed it all with a larger sensor. Yet it has its limits.
That’s where add-ons like Olloclip come in.
Olloclip, which started as a Kickstarter project roughly a year and a half ago, is now an $11 million business, according to company execs, which sells change-pocket-sized 3-in-1 iPhone lenses that let you add fisheye, wide angle and macro lenses. I’ve been using one for over a year and love it. Its telephoto option is also pretty handy.
Olloclip now has a new set, and it’s all about getting close — very close. Its $69.99 Macro 3-in-1 offers three different macro magnifications: 21x on one side, 14x on the other, and 7x when you unscrew the 14x. As with previous Olloclips, this one slides snugly onto the corner of your iPhone 5S or iPhone 5 and sits perfectly over the smartphone’s built-in lens.
Without the lens, the iPhone can get within a couple of inches and produce clear, well-exposed images. The macro lenses, on the other hand, let you get within an inch or so of your subject. Of course, when you’re that close, it can be tough to hold the phone still, especially if you’re trying to capture a tiny subject.
Olloclip’s solution for that problem is rather smart. The add-on ships with two cones that clip over the lenses and ensure you’re at the exact distance to put your subject in perfect focus — while keeping perfectly still. If you’re shooting a bug, it will still walk around under the cone. It could be the perfect opportunity to try the slo-mo video mode on the iPhone 5S iSight camera.
While the cones are semi-transparent, though, they don’t let all available light in. As a result, my initial shots of water droplets on an apple were a little less impressive than they should have been. When I removed the cone and carefully steadied my hand, the water drop came alive, thanks to the light of the room reflecting off and through it.
I tried out all three lenses, but quickly fell in love with the 21x lens. It lets you get so close. I’ve added some of my favorite examples, above and below; on the left side is the shot without the Olloclip Maco 3-in-1, and on the right is the shot using the 21x lens.
Olloclip also rolled out new 3-in-1 lenses for the iPhone 5C. They’re available in the Apple Store with the new macro set, which includes the three lenses, an iPod adapter, two cones and a soft carrying bag.
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Image: Mashable, Will Fenstermaker