Thursday, July 4, 2019

Olloclip Phone Lens Kit Review

ramshorn snail shell
Ramshorn Snail Shell - Olloclip Macro Lens
Up until this year, I had not done any photography with my cell phone cameras.  When my laptop died a while back, I had to rely on an older iPhone to take the photos for my online blogs, reviews, and social media posts.  That necessitated the discovery and use of a few key photo apps and, just recently, the use of clip-on smartphone lenses.  In the ongoing process of learning as much as possible about iPhone photography, I came across several references to the Olloclip macro, wide angle, and fisheye lens kit.  Today, I am reviewing my initial impression of these lenses (which are available for many different brands and models of phones).

When I purchased my Olloclip lens kit, I was mainly interested in the two macro lenses (magnification times 10 and 15).  I wanted to take some really up close and personal photographs (think flowers, butterflies, bees, dew drops, etc.).  Macro is also great when I need photos of the jewelry I sell online.  The wide angle lens will be used primarily for landscape photography (can't wait to try it out at the Great Sand Dunes).  It is also perfect for group shots, selfies, and videos.  The fisheye lens will be fun for the animal photography—like those cute nose shots—I do to help shelter dogs get adopted.  It is also wonderful for lighthouse photography (spiral staircases especially).

dog through fisheye lens
Rescue Dog Finn - Olloclip Fisheye Lens
As I have been getting into macro photography, I have found it helpful to start indoors, since it takes some patient practice to learn how close to be to the subject, how to get the focus right, how to stage the object for an interesting photo, and, perhaps most importantly of all, how to handle the lighting.  I don't have to deal with the wind indoors, either.  That is a huge plus.

flexible tripod
Flexible Tripod, Olloclip 10X Lens, iPhone
Yesterday, I was experimenting with some shells I had found on the beach.  I used natural lighting by a window.  With macro, a tripod is essential, as is a remote shutter release (or the use of your phone's shutter timer).  I set up some black foam boards and a tiny easel covered in a sheet of black felt for my backgrounds.  With the Olloclip 10X macro lens, I was able to get incredibly close to my subject (just a few millimeters away).  Not much will be sharply in focus with ultra macro photography (but the right kind of blur is the appeal), so the trickiest part is moving the mini tripod around until you find the special effect, and point of focus, that expresses your unique point of view.  It's all about the angle.

measuring the size of a shell
Ramshorn Snail Shell Without Macro Lens
You can see just how small the snail shell actually is in the photo above using a regular camera lens without macro (about half an inch).  

ramshorn snail shell through micro lens
Ramshorn Snail Shell - 10X Magnification
This is the same shell photographed with the Olloclip 10X macro lens.  I used the free Snapseed photo app for cropping and minor adjustments.  

sundial shell
Sundial Shell Without Macro Lens

Next, I experimented with a Sundial shell I found on Padre Island.  Two photos are provided for comparison.  The photograph above was taken with my Nikon D200 with a zoom lens.  The photo below was taken with an iPhone 5s (ancient compared to the latest iPhones) and an Olloclip 10X macro lens.

sundial shell
Sundial Shell - Olloclip 10X Macro Lens
Today, it was time to get outdoors and test the wide angle lens.  I'm sure most of you can relate to the frustration of not being able to get all of your subject into the photo frame.  First, I snapped a regular shot of this historic truss bridge with my iPhone (the Lobato Bridge over the Rio Grande in southern Colorado).  As you can see below, the right side of the bridge was cut off.

lobato bridge
The Lobato Bridge - Built in 1892
The photo below was taken with the Olloclip wide angle lens.  I was able to get all of the double-span bridge in the photograph even when standing much closer to the bridge than in the first shot.  There was plenty of extra margin for cropping.

labato bridge
Bridge Photographed Using Olloclip Wide Angle Lens
One thing I did notice is that this wide angle shot is a bit fuzzy near the edges of the photograph.  I'm told Olloclip has a free app for making image adjustments.  I will check that out and update you.

tree tops through a micro lens
It's not what you look at that matters,
it's what you see.  ~Thoreau
I was lying on the forest floor while pointing the Olloclip fisheye lens directly skyward when I created this photo.  This image reminds me of an eye, with the trees forming the iris.  In a forest devastated by wildfire, I was looking at the emergent green undergrowth and seeing how to embody the Phoenix.

trees through a fisheye lens
Phoenix Rising: Self-Portrait
All of these photos are first attempts.  Once I experiment, and perhaps invest in a newer smartphone with a more advanced camera, I'm sure my photographs will evolve.  You have to start somewhere and learn by trial and error.  In this case, I don't really care if the photos aren't perfect.  For me, photography is a reflective practice.  I photograph things that move me, and I practice photography to learn how to see more clearly, to learn how to pay deep attention, and to immerse myself in beauty and wonder.  

If you enjoy pushing your creative boundaries, you really can't go wrong with Olloclip products.  They offer good quality, affordable tools for the smartphone photography enthusiast.  There are more expensive options, but for just getting started, I suspect most of us like to keep costs reasonable.  This is a good budget choice.  I feel I got my money's worth.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. What a difference a clip-on macro lens makes! You’ve always had a remarkable eye for capturing nature’s extraordinary beauty. I can’t wait to see what you do with this new tool once you’ve had time to play with it more! Even your first-try shots are gorgeous.

    1. I have lots of work (well, play) to do, but I wanted to dive in and get started. The thing is to just begin. I'll be taking some pet photos today with the fisheye lens. That should be fun and highly challenging! Maybe I'll head out to the dunes, despite the holiday crowds, to snap my first wide angle shots. Thanks for stopping by and happy 4th!

  2. This looks really cool! I'm very impressed and how much easier it will be to travel with just an iPhone rather than lots of other camera and lenses.

    1. I figure I will always have my iPhone with me, so I wanted a compact clip-on lens for spur-of-the-moment shots. You just never know when you might come upon something wondrous to photograph. This way I will be ready no matter what.

  3. Very impressive! This is the first time I have truly been tempted to buy an iPhone. I am still using my workhorse flip phone since I only use my cellphone for phone calls. However, I love photography! Like you, I use my camera to see things closely that I would otherwise miss. Taking photos requires me to slow down and look around for something special (many times small). Looking back at the photos, I can see the Master's Hand in every creation and note how nothing is too small for His most excellent detail. Your shell photos are fabulous! The Olloclip phone lenses are clearly awesome, although you have always had an eye for selecting and photographing subjects of interest. Very cool, Diana! Very cool indeed

    1. I still have a flip phone for making inexpensive calls for my volunteer work. Getting into iPhone photography was very affordable because I got an amazing deal on a like new smartphone. By purchasing an early model iPhone, my Olloclip lens kit was incredibly cheap. It's a good way to try something new without making a big investment. I figured I could splurge later if I really loved taking photos with my smartphone. It has been a very good purchase. I'm glad I took the plunge. Please know that I appreciate your thoughtful comments.

  4. Absolutely amazing! It's terrific what can be accomplished using today's technology. I can still remember using a Kodak film camera that you looked down into to see the image you were going to snap (think early 1960s). Your macro photos using this clip on accessory for an Iphone are fantastic. Well done.

    1. It is amazing to think about those early cameras and to reflect on how far we have come. I remember using a pinhole camera back in the early 70s. It was astonishing to take photographs with a coffee can. And now I am mesmerized with what can be done with a smartphone camera. The thing is to always push your creative boundaries. I love being stretched when learning new ways of expressing myself artistically. Thank you for stopping by and sharing. Always appreciated!

  5. That's a big difference! And, yep I have an iPhone. Hmmm, you have me thinking now. Photos are beautiful. Certainly useful when you're out taking pictures or need them for specific reasons and can get qualify right from your phone. So convenient.

    1. I think many people would use these lenses for group shots and selfies. I've taken maybe two selfies in my life, but I could see that it would be useful when I'm out hiking solo and want to be in a photo. The reviews share that the wide angle lens is especially helpful for bloggers and those who take videos. I think I will use the macro X10 lens the most, although I did have lots of fun with the fisheye lens yesterday (snapping pics of my fur babies).

  6. Wait a minute.... you sell jewelry online? How did I not know this ?! Thank you for the Olloclip review. I just now have a new-to-me smart phone that seems to take much better photos than my last phone. I might start using it more often for photos (instead of my Sony camera - which is sometimes too big and bulky). I like macro photography - I think I'd like this lens!

    1. I've not done much with the jewelry yet. Kind of testing the waters. Will let you know if I fully launch something worthy of sharing. It's nice to have a viable compact photography option. I used to have a very compact camera with a decent macro setting that I used for mountain backcountry hiking (when every extra ounce counts). That camera no longer works, so being able to take interesting pics with my compact smartphone is a good solution. Hope you get to play more with your macro photography. I am enjoying my explorations.

  7. Dear Diana, I'm late getting into commenting on your Review, but, I can say that I am amazed. Your photography skills are truly inspired and you just keep getting better and better. These lenses seem to make a big difference. I love the forest pics and the "nose"! What's not to love? Thank you for bringing these lenses to my attention. I will have to investigate the possibility of getting a set for myself and seeing what I can come up with.

    1. Aww... thank you for the lovely comments. I appreciate your kindness and affirmation. We like the same pics. :-)


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