When asked what the best camera was, Pulitzer prize winning photojournalist Barry Staver said, “It’s the one you have with you.” Photographer Chase Jarvis liked the quote so much he went out with his iPhone and created a book, an app and a website around it. Recently, ‘living legend’ Annie Leibovitz called the iPhone 4S “the snapshot camera of today.”
I’ve already said myself how owning one and using one has rekindled my love for photography. The iPhone’s simplicity rocks! It only has one button; shoot. If you want more, more you can have in the way of apps; Camera+ gives you shoot, focus and exposure. You can edit on the fly and post your photos to all of your social media sites or keep them to yourself in the Camera Roll.
Annie Leibovitz described the iPhone as accessible, easy and the modern version of the “wallet with the family pictures in it”.
Grrr to the fucking gadget!! Fuck Apple and fuck Steve Jobs. I resisted the whole iPhone thing for so long until ultimately I saw the photos a 4S could take and I wanted one. So much thought has been put into the camera. There are rumours, that knowing how important a part of the iPhone the camera is, Jobs was in talks with the Lytro inventor Ren Ng about including the Lytro technology in a future rendition of the iPhone.
I could have waited until the iPhone 5, and then waited until 6 then 7. I’d have waited forever. It’s called procrastination, so I climbed aboard the 4S. And now. Now. The fucking thing has taken over my life a little. So much so that I’ve gotten a little responsibility back and started to blog again.
That’s right, blogging is part of the Neolestat experience and it isn’t updating a Facebook status. It’s a small step forward. I’ve started a 365 photography project and I have ‘productivity’ apps. All down to an 8mp, f2.4 gadget, phone aside.
Problem is though, at heart I’m an artist and in the real world, f2.4 should give you some smidgen of creativity. A little depth of field as it were. But, with such a small lens, what was I expecting? As a photographer and as an artist I’m always looking for more. I love taking snapshots but I also love creating images that fall within the realms of art; images that have effect, technique, colour, and composition. I bought my first DSLR so that I could add depth of field to my images. That’s a fact. A DSLR purely to be able to incorporate depth of field into my photography.
So, seeing as the iPhone is going to be my goto camera until some modicum of success means I have the spare change to be able to go out and buy a Leica M10 and the new Canon 1Ds X I need a way to improve on the iPhone’s ‘kit’ lens as it were: It’s with the Olloclip that I mean to do this.
Designed by Patrick O’Neill the Olloclip is a 3-in-1 quick-connect lens solution for the iPhone 4/4S that includes a fish-eye, wide-angle and macro lenses that work with both the still and video cameras. Made from CNC machined aircraft grade aluminium, precision ground glass and soft plastic the Olloclip isn’t a cheap lens solution but it’s certainly the best and worth every penny. As a Kickstarter project people had faith in it as a blueprint alone and so far its funding is at 454% of the original figure asked. It seems that Kickstarter is the place to go to fund an iPhone project… Hang on a minute while I register!
Cleverly designed to be one product rather than 3 separate lenses banging about in a pocket or bag the Olloclip is fashioned to clip on and off the iPhone with ease and is engineered to be foolproof with regard to lining up the lenses. It’s soft plastic body means that no matter how many times you slide it on or off the phone you are never going to damage the glass front or back. Like the previously reviewed product; the Glif, the Olloclip is designed to work on a caseless iPhone so for an all in one tripod and lens solution the Olloclip and Glif are an ideal pairing.
To operate the Olloclip, simply slide it onto the iPhone and enjoy the wonderful fish-eye lens with it’s approximate 180 Degree field-of-view and shoot some rad and gnarly skateboard trickery! Or don’t. I just threw that old cliché in for the sick boarders that want a convenient solution that doesn’t weigh them down. As with even the most expensive cameras and fish-eye lenses there is a certain amount of vignetting, don’t hate on it, love it. It’s part of what makes shooting fish-eye so much fun.
When you tire of all that fish-eye goodness, slide the Olloclip off, turn it around and slide it back on. Wide-angle for the win. Tire of that, unscrew the wide-angle lens and you have a perfectly functioning x10 macro-lens. What I do assure you of, is that with three options you’ll never tire of using them all and the standard iPhone lens will seem just that; standard.
Measuring about 20mm (0.78 in) across on average, weighing only 20 grams or 0.7 of an ounce, having lens caps for the wide-angle and fish-eye lenses and coming with a micro fibre cleaning cloth that handily doubles up as a carrying bag a there’s absolutely no reason to leave home without it and more to the fact you’ll probably find that you look for excuses to leave home with it. You’ll become a keen landscape photographer, an URBEX photographer or most importantly you’ll get that fish-eye on, dust off your skateboard and get grinding again.
I can’t gush about the Olloclip enough. For my Canon 1Ds Mark II I only had three lenses. I had the 24-70 f2.8L, the 70-200 f2.8L and the 85mm f1.2L. Now I have three lenses for my iPhone and didn’t have to spend in excess of £5800 ($9140 with today’s currency exchange rate). With an Olloclip attached I’m a happy iPhoneographer!