Olloclip Active Lens Review (iPhone 6/6 Plus)

For iPhone photographers, Olloclip's original 4-in-1 Lens offered a lot of flexibility for not a lot of money. The $80 package featured two macro lenses, a fisheye and a wide-angle lens, which left a little space to fill in its arsenal. Now, the $100 Active Lens has arrived to round out your kit. Featuring an ultra-wide angle and 2x telephoto lenses aimed at outdoor explorers, you can capture expansive vistas and distant subjects with ease.

Design

Like Olloclip's previous lens systems, the Active Lens features a sturdy collar made out of aluminum. The difference this time is that the collar only comes in black, unlike the multiple color options you got on Olloclip's 4-in-1 kit, and the two lenses (ultra-wide angle and telephoto) don't unscrew from the mount.

Credit: Jeremy Lips / Tom's GuideCredit: Jeremy Lips / Tom's GuideThere's a small removable tab hidden in the fold of the collar to adjust the fit of the system for either the iPhone 6 or the 6 Plus.

When you're ready to shoot, all you have to do is slide the system over the iPhone's camera lens, which works for both the front- and rear-facing cams. Unfortunately, you'll have to remove any case currently on your phone to do so.

For those looking for a splash of color, Olloclip includes black, red and orange wearable pendants, so you can attach the Active Lens to a key ring or hang it from your neck for fast access using the included lanyard. If you prefer to keep the kit in your pocket or purse, the Active Lens also comes with a cloth carrying case and plastic lens caps so the glass won't get scratched. 

Image Quality

Olloclip Active with 2X telephoto lens | Credit: Samuel C. RutherfordOlloclip Active with 2X telephoto lens | Credit: Samuel C. Rutherford

The Active Lens' ultra-wide lens offers an expansive view that splits the difference between the stock iPhone lens and a fisheye.

iPhone 6 stock lens | Credit: Samuel C. RutherfordiPhone 6 stock lens | Credit: Samuel C. RutherfordWithout help, the stock iPhone camera lens struggled to fully capture the road and sidewalk on both sides of the historic Flatiron Building. Attaching the ultra-wide lens expanded the view significantly, while retaining good sharpness on the detailed stonework.

MORE: Best Lens Kits for iPhone Photographers

The wide-angle view did exhibit some distortion, most notably around the edges, which caused objects to look a little blurrier than they should. However, the distortion was much less prevalent than other iPhone lens kits I've tested.

Moment wide-angle lens | Credit: Samuel C. RutherfordMoment wide-angle lens | Credit: Samuel C. RutherfordThe only other wide-angle with less distortion is the $100 lens from Moment. It’s also sharper, but has a narrower field of view.

In a photo from the same spot but with the Olloclip 2x telephoto lens, you can see the detailing in the green metalwork above the first floor, and although there is a little bit of the pinched pincushion effect visible in the distance, it's pretty minimal. Compared with Moment's 60mm telephoto lens, there's a bit more blurriness around the edges, especially on the left side, and a little more vignetting (darkening in the corners). Still, it's less than what you get on most other lenses.

Accessories

For people who like to keep their phone protected, the $30 Ollocase lets you slip Olloclip's lenses on and off with ease, and features rubberized bumpers and a scratch-resistant back. When purchased with a lens kit, Olloclip also subtracts $10 off the price of the case, so you can pair the case with your the Active lens, or any of its other iPhone 6 lens kits such as its superb 4-in-1 Lens system.

Bottom Line

Olloclip's Active Lens system retains the strong image quality I liked in its original 4-in-1 lens. This time, its combination of an ultra-wide angle lens and 2x telephoto lens in a single package makes a great option for adventurers who don't want to drag around a DSLR and a full-size zoom lens. The only lenses that consistently took higher quality photos than the Olloclip were Moment's lenses. But priced at $100 per lens for Moment versus $100 for the Active Lens' pair, Olloclip gives you more for your money. Whether you're adding to your existing collection of lenses or starting from scratch, Olloclip's Active Lens is a solid addition to your iPhone photography tool kit.

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