With more and more consumers turning to their iPhone as their main camera source, it is no surprise that we are seeing a lot more accessories designed to enhance the photography experience when using a smartphone. At the CES Show in Las Vegas, Zeiss has launched three new iPhone lenses in collaboration with Fellowes’ ExoLens. The three lenses, a wide-angle, telephoto and macro, are scheduled to be launched in late Q2 2016. According to Zeiss, the wide-angle and telephoto lenses offer excellent image performance with outstanding edge-to-edge contrast. The macro lens features a zoom function, which is a unique feature for a accessory lens of this type. The new lenses can be used on the Apple® iPhone® with customized mounting brackets.
According to Zeiss, the new lenses are characterized by their leading-edge design featuring smooth surfaces made of black anodized aluminum with white labelling. The modern design is said to offer excellent optical properties and the lenses meet even the highest aesthetic standards. Zeiss claim, “The lenses of ExoLensTM with optics by ZEISS are the best currently available on the market. We have achieved the best possible technical balance between a small size, light weight and high image quality.”
All lenses incorporate the T*® antireflective coating, which claims to minimize reflections at the glass-to-air surfaces and improves the transmission of light.
The lenses are attached to the device-specific ExoLensTM machined aluminum bracket using a screw thread. The ExoLensTM bracket features a standard tripod mount (1/4”-20) as well as a cold shoe for mounting accessories. At launch, the lenses will be available for Apple® iPhone® 6/6s and Apple® iPhone® 6 Plus/6s Plus, with the goal of adding more devices in the future. The only problem with adding the ExoLensTM bracket is that you can’t put your iPhone in any sort of case. It also makes it a lot more difficult to keep it in your pocket.
The thing to remember is, no matter how good the Zeiss optics may be, your iPhone still has to ultimately use the in built lens to take a photo or capture video. Photography enthusiasts may be happy to carry around 3 extra lenses, but many consumers may need a lot more convincing.
This from Zeiss:
ExoLensTM wide angle and telephoto lenses with optics by ZEISS
The jointly developed lenses turn the integrated mobile phone lens into either a wide-angle or telephoto lens. The optical design used for both lenses bears the name MutarTM. This stands for an afocal system and is therefore different from traditional interchangeable lenses for system cameras. The lens has no focal length, i.e. the focus is set at infinity. This enables photography of objects from infinity to the close-up range, the limits of which are defined only by the technical properties of the mobile phone camera. This makes this optical design suitable for both landscape and detailed photography. Distortion would impair the composition as straight lines which are not imaged through the image center would be reproduced as curved lines. This adverse effect has been offset by the use of aspheric lenses in the optical design. Both lenses therefore offer image excellence and outstanding contrast rendition right to the edges. Chromatic aberrations are also corrected. Bright-dark transitions in the image, and highlights in particular, are largely free from colored artifacts. Protection against dust and water spray makes the wide-angle or telephoto lens perfect for the challenges of outdoor use.
Dramatic perspectives, exceptional angles or portraits in which the main subject is to be clearly isolated from the background are the specialties of the two lenses by ExoLensTM with optics by ZEISS.
ExoLensTM macro lens with optics by ZEISS
The macro lens complements the wide-angle and telephoto lenses and enables currently unparalleled close-up photography with a mobile phone camera. The optical design of the macro lens bears the name Vario-ProxarTM. “Vario” stands for the variability of the focal length (zoom), and Proxar for proximity. Like the wide-angle and telephoto lenses, the macro lens offers edge-to-edge image excellence and no discernible distortion or chromatic aberration.
It is currently also the only accessory lens for mobile phones to offer a continuous zoom function, permitting the full-frame capture of objects with diameters of between three and twelve centimeters. An optionally attachable and semi-transparent diffusor serves as a spacer, allowing light to shine evenly on the object to be photographed and enabling convenient focusing, even with a short object distance and shallow depth of field.
The lenses will be available to purchase with the matching mobile phone mounting brackets in selected specialty stores, Amazon.com as well as at exolens.com. They will come in two packages. The first will include the mount, wide-angle and macro lenses, as well as a carrying case, for $299US. The telephoto lens will be available separately for $199US