The classic feel-good story of a tech company starting out of a garage, the first olloclip, a beautifully crafted 3-in-1 lens system for the iPhone 4, was successfully funded in 2011 via Kickstarter.
Since then, founder and CEO Patrick O’Neill has been honored as the Entrepreneur of the Year from Entrepreneur.com and the company has amassed multiple awards, including the coveted CES Innovations Design and Engineering Award at the 2013 International CES in Las Vegas. Of course, with that success, the company was able to move out of the Huntington Beach garage and has gone on to produce several more exceptional lenses, including a new 3-in-1 version for the iPhone 5/5S and accessories for the evolving mobile photographer, in addition to acquiring thousands of followers.
The newest iteration of the olloclip is the 4-in-1 lens system for the iPhone 5/5S, equipped with a redesigned fisheye, wide-angle and two macro lenses and like its predecessor, easily "quick connects" onto an iPhone in mere seconds. But please bear in mind the downloadable user manual recommends the olloclip is not intended for use with a “screen protector or anything that adds thickness”.
Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, this state-of-the-art 4-in-1 package will significantly enhance an iPhone’s ability to create remarkable photos with dazzling clarity. For instance, the fisheye’s approximately 180-degree field of view and the two macro lenses easily produces brilliantly crisp images exceeding anything else I’ve inspected. It won't replace a digital SLR camera but the quality in workmanship in this tiny lens system is simply astonishing and obviously much more transportable. One can only speculate what’s in store with an upgraded camera in the highly anticipated iPhone 6 coupled with an olloclip system.
The 4-in-1 lenses are made of precision ground, coated glass optics and the two barrels are made from aircraft grade aluminum, with an elegant design clearly demonstrative of its industry awards. Photos can be taken directly from the iPhone or with the free olloclip app available from the App Store. However, the olloclip will only take photos using available light, so if the iPhone’s flash function is needed, it has to be removed, albeit very easily. Also included in the package are a handy carry bag, two lens caps and an adapter for a fifth generation iPod Touch.
For consumers thinking of adding a telephoto lens to an iPhone, olloclip offers a 2X optical magnification telephoto lens, which comes with a high quality polarizing lens for reduction of glare and reflections and image enrichment. These are both features I’ve hoped for with the iPhone ever since its inception and am pleased with the results. As an added benefit, the polarizer can also be used with other olloclip lenses, with included step down adapters for the wide-angle lens on the 3-in-1 and for the wide-angle and fisheye lenses of the 4-in-1.
In summary, olloclip lenses are high precision optics capable of creating stunning images for professional and amateur photographers. Even consumers with little or no experience in composing great photos can make themselves look like an expert. The olloclip can be especially helpful in impressing friends on social media, particularly Instagram and Facebook. Although the telephoto lens and polarizer package is a bit pricey, it can be a very powerful addition to an iPhone.
Conclusion: olloclip gets a solid five star rating. It's obviously good enough to the featured lens systems (not apps) on the Apple Store website. I encourage consumers to visit the olloclip website to see breathtaking examples of images posted from its growing legion of followers.