It’s always fun when I have the opportunity to get my hands on something new that lets out my inner (and very hidden) artist. The olloclip lenses do just that. This review is one of three, so first I want to lay out the pros and cons of the general setup and use that is the same for all three olloclips.
When unboxing the olloclip, I assumed it was as easy as taking out the clip and popping it on my phone. Perhaps it is, if the right insert is already inserted into the clip for your phone. However, I already had the olloclip Studio phone case on my phone (it’s sold separately for $89.99) and didn’t realize that I did not need an insert until I started playing around with the different inserts. If you are simply using an olloclip lens directly on your phone, just follow the directions in the product video and you should not have any issues fitting the clip to your phone.
The only negative I observed while using the different olloclips was the complete and utter destruction of my beloved screen protector. When they say (in teeny tiny writing) that olloclips are not compatible with screen protectors, they are not kidding. This is a big drawback for me because my earrings scratch the surface of my phone, and anyone who loves their phone as much as me will not be okay with that.
I ended up taking a pair of scissors and cut off the top of my screen protector to allow room for the clip while still protecting my screen. However, this left a gap between the top of my screen protector and the edge of the iPhone screen, making my display look cracked (I am a bit too OCD for this to not bother me). So my suggestion to olloclip is to make their own screen protectors for olloclip users. Sign me up, because I would buy that in a flash ... which is also not compatible with the olloclip.
The active lens has a telephoto lens on one side and an ultra-wide angle lens on the other, and it is a great option for the outdoor adventurer or for traveling. But don’t forget selfies! All olloclip lenses can be used on both the rear and forward-facing cameras. They come with three colorful, wearable pendants that you can choose from and which attach to the included lanyard for easy use. I especially like this feature when using multiple olloclips for a safe and easy hands-free way to carry them. The lanyard is also great for keeping your olloclips handy when switching from one clip to another.
The telephoto lens is the larger of the two, and has a 2X optical zoom allowing for a closer shot without compromising the quality of the image. This was/is one of my favorite olloclip lenses. It puts hard-to-get pictures within reach, and is a must-have for trips to the zoo.
The ultra-wide angle lens is also great for hard-to-get shots without having to take a panoramic picture. But just like the panoramas that can be taken with the iPhone, the ultra-wide angle pictures can become slightly distorted, looking rounded. My suggestion when using this lens is to think about your shot -- the more horizontal lines, the better because vertical lines tend to show the distortion more.
Also the larger the subject, the better. For example: If you are taking a picture of a large meadow covered in wild flowers, the ultra-wide works works perfectly. If you are taking a picture of your kitchen for a real estate website, you are much more likely to see the distortion. It is all about the lines and how close the image is. So if you are not happy with your image and think it looks too distorted, then perhaps you need a different lens to capture your photo.
In conclusion, I am very impressed with the quality of the active lens by olloclip. While this is not my favorite option for everyday use, this is the first lens I would toss into a bag for travel or family outings. At $99.99 it is one of the most expensive lenses olloclip offers, and the company has better options for the money.
Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★ 1/2
Tomorrow: Part 2
To see the different olloclips in action follow me on Instagram @jn_sellers