Since taking photography seriously and trying to capture the best images when I travel and for my blog, I have come to value the importance of technology in photography. Having great pictures enable me to cherish the memories of my trips. I am always looking for ways to improve my photography skills and photos. This means that I am either learning something new about photography or trying out some cool new camera accessories both for my mirrorless Fujifilm X-T2 and my iPhone 7 plus.
My iPhone is the camera that I have with me most of the time like everyone one else and I am always looking for ways to improve the photos that I take with it.
The reason why I got the iPhone 7 plus in the first place, was the increased quality of the inbuilt camera app on the phone, the portrait mode and the freedom to practice my phone photography on the go.
I can easily take photos on a night out with friends or while out running errands without anyone taking notice of me, something you can’t usually do with a larger camera.
But there are times when even your iPhone has its limitations. Such times, for instance, are when travelling without a wide-angle lens and there’s an epic landscape shot and all you have is an iPhone which can only capture a fraction of the image in front of you. No matter how much you move around and distort yourself trying to capture the greatness of the scene, the 75 degrees just won’t do!
This is where clip-on lens accessories like the Olloclip come in handy.
Here’s my review Olloclip Core lens set for iPhone 7 and 7 plus!
The Olloclip lenses sets are basically clip-on lenses for your iPhone that can transform your photos in seconds. The lenses are straightforward to use, just clip-on to the mount system over your iPhone camera.
The Olloclip Core Lens set includes three different lenses: a fisheye lens, a 120-degree wide-angle lens, and a 15x macro lens.
The mount is sized so one lens can fit over the front-facing camera and another lens can fit over the rear-facing camera. It enables you to remove the mount and flip it over changing the orientation, which allows it to line up properly with the telephoto lens on the back of the iPhone. This means all the lenses can be paired with the standard wide-angle lens or the telephoto lens on the iPhone. But based on my experience, I found the Olloclip lenses to work best when mainly used with the wide-angle lens.
The wide -angle lens is great for group selfie ….no more having that one person’s crop out of a group shot.
The lens mount clips onto a plastic pendant that can then be attached to a keychain or belt loop using a small carabiner (fashion-wise, I would avoid this look … just don’t do it).
When the lens system isn’t attached, the pendant can also be used as a pocket-sized tripod (use only if your phone is in a silicon or thinner phone case. Anything bigger and it will not fit).
I found the plastic pendant great to use a mini tripod to shoot time-lapse on the iPhone and use it to level my phone like when taking a photo on the street.
The Olloclip’s core lenses set does not work with third-party cases, so I mostly use a thin silicon-based phone case cover and remove my usual tempered glass screen protector from my iPhone, for the lenses to fit. The lenses are screen protector friendly up to 0.5mm, this I thought was a pain if you have thicker screen protector on your phone
The lenses are made of glass and are easily broken if dropped or if they just fall out of the lens holder and break (for no reason). This happened to me the first time that I tried to use them! And at £99 for the Olloclip core lenses set, I thought it was ridiculous and had to return them and have a new set sent to me again.
Olloclip Core Lens Set
The Super-Wide lenses
I mainly bought the core lens set for the wide-angle lens and this I found was the most useful in the lens set. The wide-angle lens captures a 120-degree (up from 75-degrees) field of view which is great for landscape shots and, it can be attached to the front-facing camera for group selfies.
The difference in the wide-angle lens and my normal iPhone camera was immediately noticeable, but not overly drastic like a fisheye lens. The barrel distortion around the edge of a photo was also noticeable. There was also some vignetting in the images, which I easily removed while using one on my mobile editing apps.
Again, the macro lens is a lens I would use on special occasions. With the 15x macro, I got extremely close to my subject, enabling me to get shots I couldn’t usually get.
It is easy for things to go wrong. A handshake could ruin a shot (although it was hard to get a sharp photo at that magnification, without a tripod), but when done right, a macro lens can show you how beautiful nature is with the interesting details and patterns you see in it.
I rarely used the fish-eye lens as it just made my photos look extremely unnatural with the roundness of the whole look. The Olloclip fish-eye lens produces 180-degree spherical effect with a black circle at the outer edges and results in an extremely distorted looking image.
Using Olloclip Attachment with the iPhone 7 Plus Telephoto Lens
I have tried using my Olloclip lenses with the iPhone 7 Plus’s 56mm telephoto lens, but all I saw was a black screen. With the iPhone default camera, the “2x” mode doesn’t always activate the telephoto lens, depending on the lighting conditions. You will need a third-party app to use the Olloclip lens with the iPhone telephone lens, but I found this to be unnecessary as I mainly bought the set to use the wide-angle lens.
My Thoughts – Should you Buy the Olloclip Core Lens Set?
The Olloclip core lens set allows you to get great photos. The wide-angle lens offers you amazing travel landscape photos and will up your photography game (and get your Instagram likes flowing) even with the slight distortion around the edges of the image. The macro and fisheye lens to me seemed more of a novelty than lenses that I would use in my iPhone mobile photography.
I found the mini tripod useful and it come in handy with shots in both landscape and portrait mode in situations that called for a level-based and steady hands.
The core lens set also, has other drawbacks like ― they can’t be used with standard phone cases, they can’t be used with the telephone lens in the iPhone 7 plus without a third party app and there is a slight drop in the image quality compared with the default iPhone camera app.
If the core lens set where at a lower price point, I would not hesitate to advise you to add them as accessories to you’re existing mobile photography kit. But at the current price of £99, I would say do your research to make sure that you will be using each lens to its full capacity or try getting them on sale.