AMITIAE - Wednesday 24 August 2016
Exolens Wide-Angle Lens by Zeiss for the iPhone (Bangkok Post, Life)
By Graham K. Rogers
There have been a number of third-party add-on lens solutions. Some were not particularly aesthetic. For example, I blanched at the idea of one telephoto lens, which not only looked odd, but could leave the user with a damaged iPhone if dropped.
When I had the iPhone 4, olloclip released beautifully engineered, clip-on lenses: wide-angle, macro and fish-eye. The macro lens was useful for product photographs. The problem with the olloclip solution was that each time the iPhone body changed, new lenses were needed for that specific lens type.
A solution from Neo that I acquired through a Kickstarter project was less elegant, but allowed the use on any iPhone (before or after) and on other devices, such as iPads and phone models from other manufacturers. These lenses (again wide-angle, macro and fish-eye) were attached using a spring clip: like a clothes peg. I still have these.
Exolens already make a number of solutions for smartphones (including Samsung and iPhone models) with their own lenses, but have teamed up with Zeiss to produce a wide-angle lens, a X2 telephoto and a macro lens. Currently only the wide-angle version is available, but a X2 telephoto and a macro lens are expected.
Unedited images taken with iPhone 6s Plus: with and without wide-angle Exolens (Street lamp as reference)
The result is that when taking photographs, images are a little wider than with the standard iPhone lens. Putting the Zeiss lens over the top produces no discernible drop in sharpness or problems with focus. Sharpness is not only good at the center of images, but in corners as well, where image sharpness may be reduced with other add-on lenses.
The lens screws into the frame over the iPhone lens and its prominence is a slight deterrent to use. This is engineered so well, that it was not always easy to attach initially: the lens has to be positioned exactly for the screw mount to start the connection. Because of this, I almost dropped it once or twice when standing, so made sure I had a safe place to connect (or disconnect) the lens.
Unedited images taken with iPhone 6s Plus: with and without wide-angle Exolens
Currently, this package is only sold in Apple Stores ($199 - 6985 baht), although other Exolens units are available on Amazon. It is a welcome addition to my collection and I look forward to the arrival of the macro and telephoto options.
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. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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