When I studied documentary photography in the 1980’s, for the first six months we were not allowed to use any lens other than a 50mm. It was a really useful experience, as it made you think carefully about framing. Eventually we started to experiment with other focal lengths, but to this day I can fairly accurately predict, which lens I need for any given situation. If I am put in the position of only carrying one lens, my preferred focal length for the type of work that I do, is a 28mm.
With the iPhone, I have tended to zoom with my feet, but would have liked to have had a slightly wider focal length than the standard. I did try some experiments with the Olloclip 4-in-1 lens, but to be honest, whilst it’s fun, it softens the edge sharpness too much for my tastes. It does have a distinctive look, similar to a Lomo but it’s not suitable for the type of work I do.
To a large extent, after this experience, I dismissed the idea of using supplementary lenses, until I read a review of the Inmacus 18mm lens. The results looked excellent so when the company recently offered a 50% discount, I ordered one.
The lens comes in a specific iPhone 6 or 6 Plus mount. Included is the 18mm lens, a +5 close up lens and a circular polarising filter. First impressions are very positive. The lenses all have metal threads, are multicoated and come in a soft bag. It attaches using a unique design. You squeeze the sides of the mount which expand and grip your phone. The upside is that the fit is excellent and very secure, but it does mean that the mount is model specific.
In use, I have to say that the results are excellent. Lets have a look at some practical examples and compare it to the Olloclip I have.
The first image is just using the iPhone 6 plus with no additional lens.
The second image is with the addition of the Olloclip 4-in-1 lens. As you can see whilst the centre is relatively sharp it falls off towards the edges. This lens also suffers from Chromatic Aberration (purple fringing, see below).
Below, the third image is with the Inmacus 18mm lens. As you can see centre to edge sharpness holds up very well and there is no evidence of Chromatic Aberration. The multicoating seems to do a good job.
Here is a crop from the area in the red square from the first image, highlighting the Chromatic Aberration issue that plagues the Olloclip.
In the next example the Olloclip does not improve, so I have not included examples. This is the iPhone 6 Plus with no additional lens.
Below is the iPhone 6 Plus with the Inmacus 18mm lens. Look at the foreground detail, it is sharp both at the centre and towards the edges. This is definitely a lens I will keep and use on a regular basis.
Inmacus also manufacture a Macro Lens Kit. This features three lenses a +5, +8 and +10 diopters. The mount is similar to the one on the 18mm lens. The lenses can be used individually or in different combination. Here is an example of them all used together (+23):
Conclusions: I have to say I am very impressed with these lenses. Build quality is very good and optically they perform well. They mount very securely to the phone. With some lenses I have used you can’t put someone you are interviewing near the edge of the frame, as it gets too soft. This is not an issue with this kit. I am very pleased with my purchase! More details can be found here: http://launch.inmacus.com/
The only negative comment I have is regards to shipping costs. The lens costs USD$59.90 which I think is good value for money, but I did get charged USD$33.00 for shipping and handling. I did order the macro kit as well, but it would be nice if Inmacus could find a cheaper shipping solution.
Ethics Statement: The lens was purchased by me. This site is not sponsored in any way. If products are reviewed for manufacturers it will be clearly stated, none of the above was.