When it comes to accessory lenses for the iPhone, most people think of the wide variety of lenses made by Olloclip. There are a number of other manufacturers who are jumping into the iPhone lens world, making everything from cheap $ 10 clip-ons to the $ 229 iLens Pro lens kit from Schneider Optics I’m reviewing today.
The iPro Lens System consists of a macro lens, a super wide angle lens, and a 2X telephoto. Keeping the lenses safe during travel is a three-segment case that also serves as a handy grip tripod for taking photos or video. Your iPhone 5/5s slides into a case with a tiny bayonet mount onto which the lenses are placed.
As you can see from the photos in the gallery, the super wide angle lens really does give you a lot more coverage. As with most lenses of this type, however, you will see a lot of barrel distortion around the edges of the image. My suggestion for taking wide-angle photos? Just use the built-in pano function of your basic iPhone camera, or even better, use an app like Sphere to capture a 360 degree spherical image of your location.
The 2X telephoto lens is really quite good. I was really happy with the close-in photography I was able to accomplish, and the lens seems fairly fast as the images are beautifully bright.
As for the macro lens, I was pretty impressed. Although the image the lens didn’t produce the extreme magnification possible with the Olloclip 3-in-1 Macro Lens Kit, it was quite accurate and distortion-free across the frame of the picture with just a small amount of pincushioning. In other words, it’s perfect for those closeups that don’t need a huge amount of magnification.
I like the grip/case, as it provides a sturdy, comfortable knurled grip to hold onto. There are two non-standard tripod screw mounts on the case, each of which connect to a screw on the top end of the case.
Now the big question — is this lens kit really worth $ 229? To be honest with you, I’m not sure I see that much of an advantage of this kit over the $ 170 combination of the Olloclip 3-in-1 ($ 70) and Telephoto with circular polarizing lens ($ 100).
Both offer a similar range of lenses, however the Olloclip simply slides onto a “naked” iPhone, and doesn’t require a special case. On the other hand, the iPro Lens Kit offers a much more convenient case for the lenses that doubles as a hand grip, the lenses seem to be a bit faster than those provided by Olloclip, and the distortion levels are a bit lower.
Whatever lens kit you end up with, realize that all things considered, you’re still shooting photographs with a mobile phone. A set of lenses attached to an iPhone is no match for a DSLR; realize that, and you’ll probably be quite happy with whatever you select for your photographic endeavors.