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olloclip for iPhone 5: Review and giveaway of the 3-in-one photo lens

olloclip (US$69.99) has been around for a while for the iPhone 4 and 4S, and now the pocketable 3-in-one -- fisheye, macro, and wide-angle -- clip on lens is available in a version for the iPhone 5. In keeping with the gift-giving season that's about to start, TUAW and olloclip are giving away one of these cool photo accessories.

Design

Like its iPhone 4/4S predecessor, the olloclip for iPhone 5 is a compact little wonder that comes with its own microfiber bag (for both protection and cleaning), lens caps, and a choice of three lenses. Unlike some of its competitors, the olloclip doesn't require a special case -- in fact, it's better if you don't have a case for your iPhone 5 if you want to use olloclip on a regular basis.

The fisheye lens provides a field of view of approximately 180°. That's perfect for those situations where you'd like to get all of a scene into the field of view, and don't mind the distortion that such a lens provides. Fish eye views are actually fun to look at if properly done.

The wide-angle lens is actually a combination of two lenses -- a screw-on wide-angle lens and a built-in macro lens. It provides an expanded viewing angle of 2X, and is great for landscape shots.

Finally, unscrewing the wide-angle lens reveals the macro lens, with a focal length of 1/2" (13mm) for making 10X macro shots. I'd highly recommend not showing this feature to your kids, as they might spend all day taking close-up macro shots of everything in sight.

Functionality

Installing the olloclip is a breeze. You just clip the center plastic piece over the corner of your iPhone 5 where the rear camera lens is, and it automatically aligns the lenses properly. No muss, no fuss, no trying to make sure that the little magnets found on other lenses are lined up with the metal bezel on the lens.

Next, it's time to shoot pictures! As you can see from the gallery below, the olloclip does an amazing job. Unlike some of the el cheapo brands out there that are blatant rip-offs of the olloclip, this is made of aluminum and glass for durability and visual quality. The lenses are coated to prevent lens flare and reflections. Note that with most inexpensive lenses like these, you will get some barrel distortion with the wide-angle lens, and that distortion is expected with the fisheye lens. I found that the wide-angle lens showed some focus issues around the edges, particularly noticeable in the full-size iPhone images.

Conclusion

I was impressed with the olloclip both for the quality and ease of use. If you're in the aftermarket for some creative lenses for your iPhone 5 (or the 4/4S), it's definitely worth buying one of these little gems. Of course, before you do that, be sure to enter our giveaway -- perhaps you'll win one!

Pros

  • Easy to carry in pocket in included microfiber carry bag / cleaning cloth
  • Simple to use
  • Good quality coated optics
  • Works for both still photography and video
  • Macro lens is amazing for taking 10x closeups

Cons

  • Probably won't work with future iPhones if Apple continues to make devices thinner

Who is it for?

  • Anyone who wants to expand on their iPhone photography with wide angle, fisheye, and macro lenses.

Giveaway

OK, TUAW readers -- here's your chance to win an olloclip for iPhone 5 courtesy of olloclip and TUAW. Here are the rules for the giveaway:

  • Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
  • To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
  • The entry must be made before November 25, 2012 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time.
  • You may enter only once.
  • One winner will be selected and will receive an olloclip for iPhone 5 valued at US$69.99
  • Click Here for complete Official Rules.



Categories

Accessories iPhone

olloclip (US$69.99) has been around for a while for the iPhone 4 and 4S, and now the pocketable 3-in-one -- fisheye, macro, and...