Testing the Hitcase Ferra case and TrueLUX Wide Lens

Hitcase Ferra case (in black leather) and TrueLUX Wide Lens.

Hitcase Ferra case (in black leather) and TrueLUX Wide Lens.

Hitcase recently introduced the new Ferra leather case for iPhone X/XS/XS Max (US$59.99), and it looks spectacular. The case not only provides style and protection for the latest iPhones, but is also a base for the Hitcase TrueLUX accessory lens line. Today we’re looking at both the Ferra case and the TrueLUX Wide lens.

Ferra Case Design and Function

If you like the look and feel of leather for iPhone cases, then you’re going to love the Ferra case. Available in both brown and black, the Ferra case uses full grain Italian leather with a microfiber insert to protect the back of the iPhone. Buttons and the camera cutout are made of stainless steel, but that material is in places where it does not interfere with Qi wireless charging.

The materials add only 34g (1.2 ounces) of weight to your iPhone, and the letter has a nice natural feel to it. Both the brown and black leather look great, although I found the black leather model to be especially beautiful when paired with a space gray iPhone XS Max.

Hitcase says that the case is designed to protect your iPhone from drops up to 6 feet (2m); the flexibility of the leather provides a natural cushion that many plastic cases do not.

The Hitcase Ferra case was extremely easy to install and remove; once again, the leather is supple enough to provide just enough flexibility to ease installation.

Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★


TrueLUX Wide Lens Design

Hitcase currently produces three accessories lenses which magnetically mount onto a number of the cases including the Ferra line. The lenses include wide, superwide and macro styles. 

The $39.99 Wide Lens uses triple element optical grade glass and weighs just 22g (0.78 ounces). As a wide angle lens, it produces a 120° diagonal field of view in photo mode and a 98.6° diagonal FOV in video mode. Magnification of the lens is 0.55X with a minimum focus distance of 27mm (1.06 inch). 

The lenses are waterproof, dust-proof and snow-proof, handling water depths of up to 10 meters (about 33 feet). While you don’t want to take your iPhone that far below the surface of a lake or the ocean without a waterproof case, both the new iPhones and the TrueLUX lenses are entirely capable of handling rain, snow, and the occasional light dunking without a problem.

The lens has anti-scratch and anti-reflective coatings on all of the lens elements. The lens comes in a small drawstring bag for protection, and also has front and back lens caps.

TrueLUX Wide Lens Function

One of my biggest issues with any accessory lenses for the iPhone is that they usually create vignetting, causing the edges of the photo frame to be darker than the center. In addition, most accessory lenses I’ve tested over the years are also quite out of focus at the edges and exhibit chromatic aberration. The latter is visible as color fringing in the corners of photos. 

With my past experiences in mind, I walked out to my front porch for my usual neighborhood shots to see just how good — or bad — the lens optics were.

One thing I should note is that the lens appears to work only with the top (wide angle) iPhone XXSXS Max camera, not the lower (telephoto) camera. 

The magnetic mount makes it easy to install and remove the lens, and it aligns well. The TrueLUX lenses also have a screw mount for some of the other Hitcase cases; frankly, I think screw mounts are a much better idea. I found it way too easy to knock the Wide Lens off by bumping it. The lens slightly covers the flash on the iPhone, so don’t plan on using the lens for flash photography. 

Now, the fun part — actually taking photos with the TrueLUX Wide Lens. The first set of photos was just of some houses across the street. As expected, there was some loss of focus near the edges. That being said, it was not as bad as I’ve seen with iPhone accessory lenses I’ve tried that cost three times as much! The other good sign? No chromatic aberration. There was absolutely no color fringing near the edges of the photos. 

I also projected a lens test target from B&H Photo on my iMac screen. This shows the common barrel distortion of these wide lenses, but it’s also obvious how sharp this lens is. Note that the drop-off in brightness seen in the test target photos is not due to vignetting; it is an artifact of taking a photo of a computer display.

I have to admit that I like the optics of the TrueLUX Wide Lens better than just about any other wide-angle accessory lens I’ve tested. However, I’m not sure I’d use the lens with the magnetic mount of the Ferra case as the magnet just doesn’t seem to be strong enough. The screw mount found on the Hitcase PRO would be a much better mount for everyday photographic use.

Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★