Who it's for: iPhone 6 or 6 Plus owners looking for a quick and portable way to enhance their smartphone's camera.
With the release of Apple's new iPhones, Olloclip tackled the challenge of creating an easy-to-use lens system that could also accommodate both the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. Mission accomplished. Olloclip's $80 4-in-1 lens system features a wide-angle lens, a fisheye lens and two macro lenses using a mount that works with both front and rear cameras of Apple’s two newest smartphones. All of this comes in a kit that offers great image quality while still being easy to carry.
Design: Solid and Simple
Unlike the previous Olloclip model for the iPhone 5/5s, which clipped onto the corner of the phone, the new 4-in-1 system features a metal clip that slides over the middle of the phone and uses plastic inserts to adjust the fit for the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. Subtle nooks and grooves ensure the camera and lenses line up correctly.
Similar to previous models, the 10x and 15x macro lenses are built directly into the metal mount, with the wide-angle and fish-eye lenses screwing on top. The removable lenses are constructed of smooth machined aluminum with easy-to-read, etched labels, and are protected by clear plastic lens caps. The only design flaw is that the mount blocks the rear flash on both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
Olloclip also includes three pendant clips (black, baby blue and lime green), so you can attach the system to a keychain or the included gray lanyard.
All of the components are solidly built without being bulky. I carried the entire system over a weekend and barely noticed the Olloclip in my pocket next to my keys. This design prevents the Olloclip from being a chore to carry around, ensuring it'll be on hand when you want to grab a shot.
Ease of Use: Swift Lens Swapping
My review unit came with an instruction card stating that the iPhone 6 insert was already installed, and an illustration showing how to switch in a 6 Plus insert. Removing the iPhone 6 insert required just a little downward pressure on each side to pop it out of the mount. Installing the 6 Plus insert was a little more difficult, as it tends to twist when you try to set it in the mount. After 15 seconds of fidgeting, I finally wedged the insert home. While this process isn't supersmooth, unless you switch between phones a lot, you'll only have to do it once.
On the iPhone 6, the Olloclip slips over the phone in less than a second, and a simple tug side to side will let you know it's seated correctly. Same goes for the iPhone 6 Plus, except that unlike with the 6, you need to slide the clip left or right depending on which camera you want to use. Thankfully, the Olloclip has designed its system so that when you move the clip from side to side, it stops abruptly when it's in the right position, so there's no guesswork in determining if the lenses are lined up correctly.
From there, it's a breeze to unscrew a fish-eye or wide-angle lens to get to the macro lens underneath, or do a quick flip to access the lens on the other side. Olloclip's previous model for the iPhone 5/5s (see review) was by far the easiest iPhone lens kit to use, and the iPhone 6 model continues in that tradition with a dead-simple design and even more flexibility.
Image Quality: Macro Shots Shine with Details
In its previous iPhone 5/5s model, Olloclip wowed me with some of the best image quality out of all smartphone lens accessories I tested. That quality carries over to the new iPhone 6/6 Plus model. Lenses from both versions can be used interchangeably on either model, and in side-by-side comparisons, I was unable to distinguish shots between the old and new lenses.
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Olloclip doesn't sell the iPhone 6/6 Plus bracket separately, so if you already have the lens kit for your iPhone 5 or 5s and you upgrade to one of the new iPhones, you have to buy the entire kit again.
The fish-eye lens offers a truly encompassing view that was even able to capture the rooftop deck's safety railing directly in front of the tripod holding the camera while also taking in the rest of my shot.
While there is some distortion around the edges of the picture (a given for a fish-eye lens) and some purple fringing in the top right, subjects in the middle of the frame remain sharp and are less deformed.
When used with the front camera, the fish-eye lens can also produce some interesting selfies, injecting a breath of fresh air on an otherwise stale trend.
Attaching the wide-angle lens gives you a view that splits the difference between the full-on distorted look of the fish-eye lens and the stock iPhone 6 camera lens.
Unfortunately, blurriness around the sides is quite noticeable. Although it's the weakest lens in the kit, Olloclip's wide-angle lens is still above-average compared to the competition.
10x Macro Lens
Olloclip's macro lenses are the strongest parts of the kit.
They combine sharp detail and your choice of two magnifications. My 10x macro shot of the eagle on the $5 bill captured the ink bleed in the lettering (on the left side of the "U") that goes unseen by the naked eye, and you can even pick out the wrinkles in the worn banknote. Focus falls away in the corners, although that's a common occurrence with many macro lenses.
15x Macro Lens
When you need to get even closer, the 15x macro lens goes so deep that wrinkles in the bill start to look like mountains.
The lens retains strong focus, as seen on the eagle's eye and brow in the center of the frame. But with the increased magnification comes increased distortion, seen in the blurry stretched proportions in the corners and the rainbow fringing on the top right.
Like its previous model, the $80 Olloclip 4-in-1 Lens for the iPhone 6/6 Plus offers great image quality from multiple lenses in a package that slips onto the phone in a second and fits easily in your pocket — even if you wear skinny jeans. While many companies have yet to release updated iPhone 6 lens systems, Olloclip has jumped out to an early lead with a fantastic product that sets the standard for future iPhone lens kits. I just wish the mount didn't cover up the flash, and that Olloclip offered an upgrade option for owners of the previous models. But for those who have a new iPhone and are looking to make a great smartphone camera even better, the Olloclip 4-in-1 Lens is the kit to get.