AMITIAE - Tuesday 5 February 2013
Mobi-Lens System for Smartphones and Tablet Computers
By Graham K. Rogers
There were a couple of disadvantages. Any case or even a screen film meant that with the tolerances of the device, the fixture could not be used. When the iPhone 5 was released, the olloclip I had would not fit. A redesigned fixture is now available for the latest iPhone.
It was also impossible to use with the iPad. As many people now use these as their prime photographic devices, the extra flexibility that wide, fisheye and macro lenses provide, was not available.
It is simple, like the best solutions ought to be, and the lens is fixed in a two-peice plastic body - hinged like a clothes peg and with a spring. The lens is fitted to one of the jaws of the device. The other has a soft backing and grips the phone or tablet computer being used.
Unlike the olloclip which is one attachment with three lenses (wide-angle, macro and fish-eye), the Mobi-Lens system has a separate accessory for the fisheye lens. The other attachment is a combined wide-angle and macro lens, with the wide-angle lens being screwed into the macro in the same way as with the olloclip.
I was able to try all three lenses quite quickly with my own iPhone 4S as well as an iPhone 5 and a couple of iPads. The jaws did not open wide enough to allow me to use the iSight camera on the old 20" iMac I keep in my office (the newest iMac is shown on the Mobi-Lens website). I was, however, able to use the lenses with the MacBook Pro: the wide angle lens being particularly effective. While placement over the camera lens was not always perfect, it was easy to move the Mobi-Lens so that it was centred.
I did not try with any Samsung device (all the owners of these were out this week). A student's Nokia phone was not suitable as the thickness of the body and the centred lens made it impossible for the Mobi-Lens to open wide enough.
Taken with Mobi-Lens Macro on iPhone 4S
Currently the lenses are available from Mobi-Lens in black; and only for pre-order. The price for the separate parts (fisheye, and macro plus wide-angle) is $40 each. As a combined package the cost is $65. Mailing to this area is another $18. I have asked the developers when colour options will be available (I have seen photographs of these and they will appeal to many users) and when devices will be available. As yet I have had no reply. I will update this page when the information is made available.
For others who want to use lenses with a variety of devices, and not just Apple ones, the Mobi-Lens does mean that flexibility is part of the design: and if a new device appears, the Mobi-Lens should work with that too.
I took a number of shots for comparison which are shown below: iPhone alone, iPhone + olloclip fisheye lens; iPhone + olloclip wide-angle lens; iPhone + Mobi-Lens fisheye; iPhone + Mobi-Lens wide-angle.
iPhone + olloclip fisheye lens
iPhone + olloclip wide-angle lens
iPhone + Mobi-Lens fisheye
iPhone + Mobi-Lens wide-angle
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.
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