Kickstarter: the 3RDi Kit – A very cool high end camera kit for iPhone 4/4S

“The 3RDi (Third-Eye) is the world’s first complete high end camera kit for an iPhone 4/4S. Designed from the ground up, it is earmarked to be a “game changer” in iPhone photography. The 3RDi kit takes the exceptional photo experience on an iPhone to a new level.”

There have been several, cool Kickstarter projects for iPhoneography recently. The 3RDi Lens Kit is another, very cool one that I’m really excited about. Read more after the jump. >>>

I have not seen a prototype, so this is not a review of the 3RDi. I’ll let the press release and Kickstarter page speak for themselves. First, here are my thoughts on the 3RDi.

The rig was co-developed by Ethan Knight, an international documentary photographer with some pretty impressive credentials in his résumé, including having his photographs published in New York Times, National Geographic Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Sydney Morning Herald to name a few.

“Game changer” is probably pretty close to accurate when describing the 3RDi. The specs and lens quality of this rig are up there with the Schneider Optics iPRO Lens System for iPhone, in particular the 20mm-equivalent Wide Angle lens. These optics are not the Gizmon/Toda-Seiko lenses found in many mobile phone camera attachments. If these are as good as spec’d, the quality of this wide angle lens should be among the best available for iPhone.

Lenses attach with bayonet mounts, not magnets, making them much more stable. They’ll also center reliably every time — something that’s difficult to do with a magnet-mounted lens.

I asked Ethan Knight, the Co-founder of the developer of this gear, about the lens barrel distortion found in most wide angle mobile phone lenses and whether this would have that or not.

“The 3RDi lenses (both wide angle and fisheye) support a multi-glass element construction, that was specifically designed to eliminate barrel distortion and chromatic aberrations found in the other products…,” said Ethan. “We implemented a low dispersion glass in both the lenses and filters. The end result is a stunning image quality, and a very different price point, compared with the outlined products..:-)”

Here’s a sample. These sample images show none of the vignetting found in some of the other iPhone wide angle lenses.

The two filters — a circular Polarizing filter and a Neutral Density (ND) filter — will improve the photographic capabilities of the iPhone in ways that no photo app can do. The polarizing filter helps reduce glare and enhance colors and textures in a scene as you shoot. The Neutral Density filter helps balance the overall exposure and dynamic range of the shot.

The case looks sexy, too, although I wish it flipped up like a Star Trek communicator….

This is going to be a pricey rig — $135-$185 on Kickstarter — but the quality of optics should justify the expense. This project will only be funded if at least $150,000 is pledged by Sunday, Aug 19, 12:58am EDT. I’m excited about this.

I am backer #9. Count me in….

Here’s the rest of the press release:

“The design of the 3RDi adopts a sleek and minimalistic approach, “as opposed to existing accessories that offer bulky designs, we have developed the (3RDi) kit to beautifully compliment the slim line look of the iPhone. The 3RDi allows its users to transform the iPhone from phone mode to camera mode with just a click.”

3RDi Kit – Key Features:

Wide angle lens & Fisheye Lens – Never before seen quality of lenses with highest edge-to-edge sharpness producing stunning image quality.

Circular Polarizer and Neutral Density (ND) filter – Introducing the world’s first uniquely designed Polarizer Filter and a Neutral Density Filter for an iPhone. These essential tools will help extend the creative possibilities and push the boundaries of iPhone photography. The Polarizer filter helps to control reflections and bring out rich colours and textures in images. The ND filter helps to darken over-exposed parts of an image and increase the overall dynamic range.

The Lens Grip – Introducing the world’s first ergonomic solution to carry all of the above accessories “right in the palm of your hand”. The Lens Grip is a sleek and perfectly designed handgrip allowing for greater stability and one-hand operation while containing all of your lenses and filters. It helps transform the iPhone from “Phone Mode” to “Camera Mode” in seconds. Also, the Lens Grip has been thoughtfully designed to act as an iPhone dock allowing it to be free standing when using Facetime/video chats.

Cold Shoe Mount – Adding a cold shoe mount opens up a world of possibilities and accessories offering greater scalability.

Tripod mount – The Lens Grip also incorporates a ¼ inch tripod mount to attach and detach from a tripod in seconds with this unique mounting design.

Detachable Flip case design – Whether in “Phone mode” or “Camera Mode” the user has the option to attach or detach the flip cover from the iPhone case.

Other key features: The 3RDi kit mimics the same workflow when changing lenses on an SLR using a unique and innovative design. The kit also implements minimal impact on the exterior of the iPhone case. So when not being used as a camera, the iPhone in its sleek case, fits perfectly in your pocket.


Here’s the link to the 3RDi Kit Kickstarter project. it contains more images, info, and a video. Overall, this looks like a very exciting rig.



About Marty Yawnick 1826 Articles
Marty is a self-employed graphic designer in the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex. He is an avid Rangers baseball, Chicago Cubs, Packers and Highbury Arsenal fan. In addition to capturing random moments with whatever camera is close by (usually his iPhone), his other interests include coffee, film, music, and traveling in seats 5E and 5F with his fiancé.
  • Koby Rennie

    Nice kit….
    for iphone

  • That's pretty sweet looking. I like that many folks are switching to bayonet mounts for lenses, but without some sort of standard you'll need multiple cases for multiple lenses. I like this polarizer better than the integrated polarizer case elsewhere on Kickstarter.

  • Robert Holmes

    Wow that just looks like a cheap rip off of the mCAMLITE:

    • Hi, Robert,

      I have an mCAM / OWLE Bubo which I really like a lot. I've shot a couple of jobs with it. From what I've seen, the 3RDi has better optics.


  • RobbMitchell

    The project didn't get funded but you could see it coming. Very cool concept but pricing was wrong.

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