Video Essentials

Two Lens Attachments Turn the iPhone into a Video Powerhouse

For the business user, there’s a tendency to overlook the live streaming production device already in-hand. But anyone who carries an iPhone 4 or 4S should pay attention to a few products shown at MacWorld 2012 last weekend.

These two accessories offer the right set of bells and whistles, giving you the ability to shoot wide-angle or telephoto video with an iPhone. They’re easy to attach for a quick video shoot, and to remove when you’re done.

Enter the ingenious OlloClip: this rubberized unit sports two lenses at one time, slips over the corner of the device, and can easily be stored away in its own carrying pouch when not in use.

OlloClip costs $79.00 from the company or $69.99 on Amazon. The package comes with three lenses: a fish-eye lens, a wide-angle lens, and a macro lens. All three mount to the clip at the same time.

According to the booth presenter, the fish-eye lens is a true fish-eye, in that it capture almost a hemishphere (a 180-degree field-of-view) that can be used not only to generate a striking image but also to allow for angles the iPhone isn’t capable of producing on its own.

The OlloClip wide-angle lens gives roughly double the field of view of the iPhone’s camera, using the same trick as the fish-eye lens: by slipping completely over the iPhone’s internal camera lens at a fixed distance, the OlloClip can use the center of its own ground-glass lens to widen the field of view.

The third lens, the macro lens, works in the opposite direction, magnifying the image to about 10x the normal field of view. Because it works for a narrower field of view, the macro lens is designed to focus on close-range objects (within 12-15mm of the subject, according to the company). The macro lens is actually embedded into the OlloClip, just below the wide-angle lens, and the wide-angle lens, once unscrewed from the clip, can double as a stand against which to lean the iPhone 4s when using the macro lens.



The only downside with the OlloClip is that it can’t be used when the iPhone is in a case. Another company, iPro Lens, has a solution that combines an outer shell and two optional lenses.

The iPro is produced by Schneider Optics, makers of professional camera lenses for 99 years. This protective shell has two screw-in mounts, one directly above the iPhone lens and the other on the left-hand side of the phone.

The second screw-in mount acts as a universal tripod adapter, positioning the iPhone horizontally, with the camera positioned in the upper left when on a tripod. It’s a sight to see a standard case — not much bigger than a typical Otterbox case — transform the iPhone into a tripod-mounted camera with only one additional accessory (a dongle that screws into the case and then connects to the tripod’s larger threaded mount).

Designed with photographers and videographers in mind, the iPro system has two lenses that can be attached: a wide-angle and a fish-eye lens. Each of these twist on or off with minimal fuss by using an integrated bayonet mount.

The fish-eye lens provides the equivalent of a 16mm lens for 35mm videography (12mm for 35mm-equivalent still photography). The wide-angle lens has a 26mm equivalent for 35mm videography, providing a wide-angle shot without the heavier distortion of the fish-eye lens.

The whole kit costs $199.00 ordered directly from the company, or $189.00 from Amazon


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