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Olloclip iPhone 5/5s Telephoto Lens Review

Olloclip's pricey but useful 2-in-1 system gives telephoto reach to your iPhone and a polarizing filter to combat sunny-day glare.

Our Verdict

With just one lens and one filter, the Olloclip telephoto kit feels expensive for what you get.

For

  • Simple, straightforward design is easy to mount on iPhone
  • Less distortion than with other telephotos
  • Small and portable

Against

  • Expensive for one lens and a filter
  • Pinched "pincushion" distortion on telephoto images

Design: One-piece construction

Olloclip's double-sided iPhone mount holds a 2x telephoto lens on one end and a large, 25mm circular polarizer filter on the other. A reversible metal clip in the middle slides onto the corner of the iPhone.

MORE: Best iPhone Camera Lenses

Ease of Use: Simple as can be

The clip fit snugly onto the iPhone 5s and held the lens perfectly centered over the phone's camera. If you have a case on your iPhone, you'll have to remove it before attaching the Olloclip. Or you can buy Olloclip's $40 Quick-Flip iPhone Case with a cutout for attaching its lens system. (We didn't evaluate the case.) The lens kit fits into an included terry cloth bag for safe storage.

Image Quality: 2X Telephoto Lens and Polarizer Filter

Starting Point

Below is the scene shot with a bare iPhone 5s, to show how the lenses augment images, and how they affect the quality of photos.

Credit: Sam Rutherford / Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Sam Rutherford / Tom's Guide)

2X Telephoto lens: better than most

Most of the telephoto lenses we tested suffered from a pincushion effect in which images look like they are pinched inward. While the telephoto lens from Olloclip isn't immune to this distortion, the effect is less noticeable compared to the results of other lenses, such as Camkix and Photojojo.

Credit: Sam Rutherford / Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Sam Rutherford / Tom's Guide)

Circular Polarizer: Clean images

The large filter opposite the telephoto works as advertised. Colors appear slightly more saturated, while the filter removed distracting reflections, thereby accentuating details. The polarizer adds almost an indistinguishable amount of distortion — just 0.06 percent over the bare iPhone 5s lens, according to our lab tests. If Olloclip were to make a 5-in-1 kit, this filter would be my choice to add.

Credit: Sam Rutherford / Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Sam Rutherford / Tom's Guide)

Bottom Line

The Olloclip telephoto system sells for a cool $100 — more than the company's entire 4-in-1 system ($70) and more than those kits that include a telephoto and many other lenses. However, Olloclip's telephoto and polarizer combo also offers exceptional quality. So you get what you pay for.