I’ve been eyeing these for a while. Luckily, AR got them for me for my birthday. He was on top of it and ordered them in the beginning of September so that they would arrive in time for my birthday on the 27th, except Photojojo kept postponing their shipping. They kept emailing every few weeks with new hopeful ship dates. Well, they finally arrived at the beginning of November, two months after! But enough about that, onto the review!
OK, so what are they again?
These two small yet powerful and finely constructed lenses, one fisheye and one combo wide-angle/macro, attach to your cell phone transforming your standard flat phone photos into wide and up-close wonders.
They work with any camera phone and attaching them is easy breezy! A detachable magnetic ring sticks to your cell, providing a sturdy, shake-free hold between the lens and your phone.
When I first got word that these lenses existed, I fired off a tweet to Photojojo asking them what, if any effect, would there be on my photos if I used the lenses with my case on my phone? Got radio silence.
Fortunately AR got them for me so I could now try it out for myself. If I was going to use these at all, I had to be able to leave my case on, so I tried that first (thank goodness I got 4 metal rings in case things went awry). I peeled off the backing from a metal ring and placed it around the lens opening on my iPhone 3GS case. Then it is just a matter of taking off the magnetic backing from one of the lenses (and the lens cap, of course) and just stick it on via the magnet onto my phone to give it a whirl.
Here are my non-scientific test shots:
Normal iPhone photo without any lens attachments
Fisheye Lens attachment test. The first was taken from the same approximate place as the one without any lens. The second is moved in to take a closer (better) look at the toy.
Wide Angle Lens attachment. If you compare to the normal photo on the right, you will see the wide angle gets a lot more of the scene.
Macro lens attachment. This one required me to revisit it once I realized that when they meant that it was a Wide Angle/Macro Lens attachment, they meant I had to unscrew the lens to get the different effects, well, then it made sense. See, the first test shot below was me just getting really close to the dinosaur with the Wide Angle/Macro Lens attachment on. The second one is with only the Macro Lens attachment. You have to unscrew the lens into two pieces and use the one labeled “Macro”. Duh!
If you are still wondering what I meant, here is how the lens comes apart:
In both the fisheye and wide angle attachments, I get some of that black lens rimming around the photo, and it isn’t evenly centered. This is because my phone has a curved edge where the lens is. This is something that will affect all curved phones, I think. I had high hopes that next year when I upgrade to version five of the iPhone, that it would still be flat like the current one, but on the Photojojo site they explicitly state “iPhone 4 Disclaimer: our sticky lens rings don’t play well with your sleek, well designed glass backing. Dern you Steve Jobs!”. So if the next version is glass-backed, I may be SOL. The sticky metal ring might also interfere with a flash if you have one right next to the lens on your device.
In the end, I am not sure if my case had any negative effects on the photos. I don’t really want to put the rings on my naked iPhone because it will basically be a waste of a ring. But from what I saw, they performed as one would expect.
Overall, though, it is a really cool set up. My next step is to get myself a nice long chain so that I can wear them around my neck instead of buried in my pocket so that I remember to use them more. I bet outside they will be even more fun.
Poor Lomo Fisheye camera. I had a lot of fun with you, but this is a whole lot easier!
So thanks to AR for my awesome birthday gift! If you have someone on your Christmas list that loves to take photos with their camera phone, then this is a great gift. You can purchase each lens individually for $25 or both in one combo pack for $40 at Photojojo.
PS: That dinosaur came in my package from Photojojo, so I figured he would make a suitable test subject.