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Home » Reviews

Gear Review: olloclip for iPhone 5

Submitted by on December 4, 2012 – 2:27 am 32 Comments

olloclip, iphone 5

olloclip is one of the most anticipated accessories for iPhone 5 and is shipping now.

The original olloclip is one of the most popular accessories for iPhone 4S and 4. It’s a small, lightweight, easy to use 3-in-1 lens rig that simply clips on to your device, adding optical fisheye, macro, and wide angle lenses to your iPhone’s camera.

The olloclip for iPhone 5 is now shipping (just in time for the holidays). It’s every bit as good as its predecessor. Keep reading past the jump to find out more. >>>

I’ve got both olloclips — for iPhone 4/4S and iPhone 5. This review is applicable for both except where noted.

The olloclip is a small and lightweight. It’s one of the most convenient lens add-ons you can get for iPhone. When not in use, the whole rig fits easily in your pocket with minimal bulge. The kit comes with caps for both lenses. It all fits neatly in a microfiber bag that you can also use to clean your optics in a pinch. The entire kit is well-designed and well thought out. For just fun shooting, I really like that I can just keep olloclip in my pocket, rather than having to tote my camera bag with cases, lenses and other gear.

olloclip comes with three lenses. There’s an optical fisheye lens with an approximate 180° field of view. For a true fisheye effect, there are no apps that can match a fisheye lens. The lens grabs a much greater field of view than any app can try to recreate.

olloclip also has a combination macro/wide angle lens. The wide angle lens effectively doubles the field of view of your iPhone. One of the elements of the wide angle lens unscrews to reveal a 10X macro lens with a tiny focal distance of down to 1/2″.

The optics are coated glass and are similar to the lenses found in the Gizmon and Photojojo wide angle and fisheye lenses. Unlike these other lens kits, olloclip doesn’t require a separate case. You also don’t need to deface your iPhone by gluing a metal ring to the back of the case.

Unlike with magnetic mount rings, the olloclip’s lens alignment is perfect every time you clip it on the iPhone. There’s no fiddling trying to center the lens in the viewfinder while risking losing your shot. The olloclip attaches in position on the corner of your iPhone in seconds.

Photo Quality of the olloclip

The quality of images shot with olloclip is simply the best in this class of smartphone lenses, beating out the Gizmon, Photojojo and DiffCase lenses. The optics in these products are essentially the same, but the olloclip eliminates most of the 1-2mm gap found with the other lenses. For the ultra-compact workings of a smartphone camera, even that small gap is huge. Because this gap adds to the focal length, these lenses create a lo-fi but often unwanted vignette when using the wide angle and macro lenses. olloclip doesn’t use a case or a metal ring. The lenses are positioned much closer to the iPhone’s lens, eliminating the vignette.

The macro lens takes great, sharp, clear extreme close up shots. It has a wonderful, very narrow depth of field. You can use it up close and get some great focus effects.

olloclip, wide ange lens, iphone 5

olloclip’s wide angle lens

iPhone 5, normal field of view

olloclip, iphone 5, macro

olloclip for iPhone 5 macro shot. Focus is on “E Plur.”

The wide angle lens has good clarity and focus but some chromatic aberrations and a slight soft focus around the edges. It’s not edge-to-edge sharp, but that’s standard for this class of lenses and olloclip does slightly better in this regard than some of the other lens kits I have.

There’s a visible lens barrel distortion with the wide angle lens — a curved distortion that becomes more apparent closer the the edge of the frame. Again, this is common in this class of wide angle lens. At one point, I’d experimented for weeks trying to recreate this in apps. While not photographically accurate, it adds its own character to an image. I like it to create stunning wide angle images with an exaggerated sense of scale. The wide angle lens is my favorite of the three and the one I shoot with most often.

If the wide angle lens barrel distortion isn’t for you, there are a couple of apps available in the App Store which will minimize or eliminate them for you. Both crop the image down just a little bit.

The fisheye lens grabs about 180° of the field of view and wraps it all in some great, aggressive distortion. Again, images were a little less sharp sharper towards the edges of the frame.

A round vignette is the nature of the beast with fisheye lenses. If the vignette of your olloclip is not centered in the viewfinder, the fisheye lens is designed to be manually readjusted to center it. This is by design and it’s another great design detail of the olloclip. Instructions are online here. It took me just a few minutes of gently pushing the lens with my thumb until I got it centered. According to olloclip, it should hold the position “for some time.” I’ve only had the olloclip for a couple of days, but so far, it’s held position between uses for me.

olloclip for iPhone 5, fisheye lens

olloclip for iPhone 5, fisheye lens

olloclip, fisheye, iphone 5

olloclip for iPhone 5, fisheye lens

Image quality in all three lenses is good. It’s not perfect edge-to-edge, but using the focus on your iPhone, you can get some great, sharp image in the sweet spot.

olloclip and the iPhone 5 Aluminum Case

I’m a case guy. I don’t carry a “naked” iPhone. I was worried that olloclip might cause scratches on the lens or the easy to scratch aluminum case of the iPhone 5. The new olloclip fits snugly on the thinner iPhone 5. I was fairly careful. I spent an afternoon attaching and unattaching the clip. olloclip slid on and off my 5 without any scratches on the case. Real-world use over an extended period of time may yield different results, but it looks like keeping your iPhone and your olloclip clean and dirt-free, especially the inside, should help prevent damage to your iPhone’s case and camera lens.

olloclip is a fun accessory to help open up your photos (or get in really close). These aren’t “pro” quality lenses; for that, you would have to spend a lot more money. Overall, the coated, optical quality glass is good. It’s definitely better than software solutions and because of its compact design, I feel it’s the best set of these lenses in its class. olloclip is a good, reasonably-priced, well-designed addition to your iPhone camera bag.

I loved my olloclip for iPhone 4. The new olloclip brings the exact same shooting experience to iPhone 5. I think olloclip is one of the best accessories you can buy for your iPhone 4S, 4, and now iPhone 5.

olloclip 5 is list priced at $69.99 and is shipping now. It’s available in red, white, and black for iPhone 4/4S and for iPhone 5. Makes a great gift for yourself or other iPhoneographers in your life.

olloclip is currently only available online directly from the olloclip website. olloclip for iPhone 4S and 4 can also be purchased from Amazon.com.

=M=

~~~~

UPDATE 01: Added to section on fisheye lens adjustment.

UPDATE 02: Added Macro lens sample shot

I was provided a review olloclip for this post. It didn’t effect this review at all. I’ve been using an olloclip on my old iPhone 4S for a while and loved it.

Marty Yawnick

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.

  • http://twitter.com/stoneysteiner @stoneysteiner

    Thanks for this great review! I have already the Ollolens for the iPhone 4 and I might consider to buy the one for the iPhone 5 as well

  • MiniBlueDragon

    "It took me just a few minutes of gently pushing the lens with my thumb until I got it centered."

    I assume this "just a few minutes" has to be repeated each time you decide to use the lens? O_o

    • http://lifeinlofi.com lifeinlofiblog

      Hi, Mini,

      It should hold position "for some time" between adjustments. I've had the olloclip for a few days and have only had to adjust the fisheye back into position the one time. It's held so far.

      I've updated my post to reflect this. Thanks for bringing that up.

      =M=

      • MiniBlueDragon

        Ah well that's good to know; at least it holds position well for a few sessions and doesn't require a setup each time you want to use it :)

  • Oniontears

    Do you think the old Olloclip could be modified to work with the iPhone 5? Add a pad or something? Seems to be in the right spot still?

    • miki

      No. Olloclip has confirmed this as well. The iPhone 4/4S camera is in a different position than the camera for the iPhone5. The old 4/4S Olloclip model will not work with the 5.

  • WoodWorks

    I've been tempted to get one of these for some time, as I tend to mostly shoot wide with my "regular" cameras. But every time I look at the edges of frames shot with the olloclip wide angle lens, my credit card back goes back in my wallet. Other than photos that I intend to "app," those images are all well below my "keeper" threshold. Sigh.

    • http://lifeinlofi.com lifeinlofiblog

      Have you looked into the iPro lenses? The form factor may not be as convenient as an olloclip, but their wide angle lens may have the specs you're looking for.

      =M=

      • WoodWorks

        Yes, I have. But with the cost of those, my wallet never even gets the chance to come up for air. ;-P

        • http://twitter.com/skiphunt @skiphunt

          Not to mention… you can buy a nice compact for those prices with better glass and range. The soft edges of the olliclip sent my card back into the wallet too.

  • brobley

    I'd love to see a sample from the macro lens…

  • Cody

    I can't believe you reviewed and wrote about the lenses, then didn't even include a macro shot :-/

  • Chris Cambell

    If I've got a thin case on my iphone 4S, will I be able to use the Olloclip with it still on or would I have to remove the case every time I want to use the lens?

    • http://lifeinlofi.com lifeinlofiblog

      Hi, Chris,

      Both olloclips fit very snug. You would still need to remove the case every time you use it.

      =M=

  • http://www.somewherethereisjeannie.wordpress.com jeannie

    There is just something about your writing and enthusiasm that makes me want this accessory (as well as apps you’ve written about). Do you know if the accessories will work with the iPhone with a protective case?

  • Mikal

    i can't imagine buying a lens simply for a wide angle that bends and distorts at the edges, a fish eye lens that bends even more at the edges (does anybody really use a fish eye lens now except to make a beastie boys video?) and a macro lens to shoot close ups of insects and pennies, for 70.00.

    usbfever's onchee set is by far the best lens collection you get, and the most affordable. their telephoto lenses are fantastic. to me, telephoto lenses are the only lenses that actually have a real purpose, but, well, maybe that's just me. it's the highest quality lens set for the least amount of money – about 90.00 on Amazon. I recommend you check them out, and Marty, do a review.

    • MiniBlueDragon

      Specialist lenses for specialist shots I guess. Same as 'real' photography gear. I'm with you though in that I wouldn't fork out for it as I don't overly like that style of photo (wide/fisheye) and would hardly use it. Macro I'd use a fair bit though.

  • Ozgur

    Hi, does olloclip for iphone 5 work with iphone 4s?
    I mean I have ip4 now but planning to switch to 5 in april or may.
    If it does not work I will wait a little bit:-)

    PS: I know olloclips for ip4 does not work with ip5 but I ask for the new olloclips with older iphone.

    • http://lifeinlofi.com lifeinlofiblog

      Hi, Ozgur,

      olloclip for iPhone 5 is too small to fit on the slightly thicker iPhone 4 series. The olloclip for iPhone 4 and 4S is just a little too open and floppy to fit on an iPhone 5. The two olloclips need to be on the devices they were designed for in order to work properly.

      =M=

  • Adele

    Why is OlloCorrect no longer available at the App Store. It really helped with the barrel distortion. Are there any other apps which can do this?

  • http://lifeinlofi.com lifeinlofiblog

    Hi, Adele,

    Not sure but possibly because of Intellectual Property infringements because of the name. Try AndifTouch. It sorta works, but isn\’t as easy or as slick as OlloCorrect.

    =M=

  • D.

    Hi,

    I am thinking of purchasing this lens to take close up pictures of some of the smaller fish I have in my freshwater aquarium. How good does the macro lens keep focus when you zoom in and do you have any other photos you can show using the macro lens?

    Thanks

  • Tom

    FYI / UPDATE:

    olloclip for iPhone 5 is now available on Amazon.com

  • Michael

    Hey I was wondering if this works while having this case on for the iPhone 5

    http://www.case-mate.com/iPhone-5-Cases/Case-Mate-iPhone-5-Tough-Cases.asp

  • D

    It doesn’t work with any tpe of case, not even skin cases like Ghost Armor. The good thing is you can remove your case whenever you want to use it. I had Ghost Armor, which you cannot remove, so I had to end up returning the clip :-/

    • Michael

      How about If you have the invisible shield screen protector, does it wreck it

  • D

    Yes. Like I said I had Ghost Armor and it wrecked it, had to get my Armor replaced. Luckily if you have a removeable case, you can just remove it to use the clip.

  • Jamie

    Does the olloclip cover the flash on the iphone 5?

    • Marty Yawnick

      When it’s clipped on the device, yes, it does.

      =M=

  • Cole

    Any chance you can tell us the names of those apps that will eliminate the barrel distortion? I have looked but can’t find them.

    Thank you.

  • http://www.ryanhermann.com Ryan Hermann

    Really enjoyed your review!

    I have done my own review as well. Please take a look and let me know what we think.

    Review: http://ryanhermann.com/2013/03/29/ollo-clip-product-review/

    Thanks!

    Ryan

  • Brett

    Hey! I currently have the iphone 5 olloclip. There is a company that makes awesome screen protectors. Its spigen! I really want a tempered glass screen protector, and there new screen protector the “Spigen Glas.T Slim” is pretty thin. Here are the dimensions.GLAS.t Slim is 0.26mm. Will the olloclip be able to fit onto this?
    Thanks!

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