ExoLens Review: Hands-On With a Professional Photography System for iPhone 6

Discussion in 'Guides, How Tos and Reviews' started by MacRumors, Feb 24, 2015.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple's iPhone has topped Flickr's list of the top mobile cameras for years, with Apple even surpassing Nikon to be the number 2 camera brand on the service earlier this year. Smartphone photography is booming and there has been no shortage of accessories to help users take even better pictures, and one of the latest entries in this category is the ExoLens system.
    What's in the Box

    The ExoLens system comprises two lenses -- a 3x telephoto lens and a 165º wide angle lens -- that screw into a machined aluminum bracket that slides onto an iPhone. The bracket has an integrated 1/4"-20 tripod mount, which will also work with some selfie sticks/monopods. Also included are lens caps, a lens hood for the telephoto lens, and a microfiber carrying pouch. ExoLens officially launches today for the iPhone 6 with a retail price of $129.95, with a model for the iPhone 6 Plus planned for release in May.

    Click here to

    Article Link: ExoLens Review: Hands-On With a Professional Photography System for iPhone 6
  2. BMcCoy macrumors 68000


    Jun 24, 2010
    The pics look better from the iPhone by itself...
  3. chuloo macrumors member


    Jun 24, 2010
  4. decimortis macrumors 6502a


    Aug 28, 2007
    Is it wrong that I want the Vader figurine more than the lens?

  5. thelookingglass macrumors 68000

    Apr 27, 2005
    The wide angle is cool though. I find myself constantly resorting to panaorama mode lots of time because there isn't the ability to take a wide angle phoyo
  6. divideby macrumors member

    Sep 16, 2009
    At first the wide angle looked awful due to the distortion, but if you look at how much more field of vision it includes, it's kinda cool.

    Also a little disappointing regarding the drop of moisture in this article
  7. macduke macrumors G4


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    "Professional Photography System"? No.

    It's pretty bad when an image resized for the web has readily apparent reduced image sharpness. Even worse, the corners look atrociously soft and smeared with some vignetting. You don't even have to pixel peep to see how bad this is. I think I even see some chromatic aberration which you usually only see at 100% on mediocre glass. And while some barrel distortion can be expected at such a wide angle—the telephoto shots are way too pincushion distorted. It's like the lens designers didn't even try. And yes, it's possible to make a decent lens for cheap. Look at the Canon nifty fifty. If this was even half as good as that then it would be a massive improvement.

    If this was marketed as a lens for a "cheap toy camera look" then it might sell better. Some people enjoy that look to their photos. Nothing wrong with that. But for general photographic use? No joy. You're better off spending about that much on a point and shoot which probably takes up about as much space as carrying this thing around separately—which is especially annoying if you use a case.
  8. Gizmotoy macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2003
    Pretty much exactly my thoughts. "Ooo, neat!" Then I looked at the images. The wide angle lens is particularly bad: the image is decidedly soft, but particularly so in the corners, and is accompanied by vignetting. The telephoto lens seems to suffer from chromatic aberration, which can surprisingly be seen even in these small re-sized images.

    Pretty disappointing.
  9. Schranke macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2010
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    It is a shame that photography is coming to this.
    I know that enthusiast is still getting high quality DSLR and works wonder with them, but those who do use the iphone should consider getting an entry lvl DSLR.
    I think they will love the difference in quality that a real camera provides once they learn how to use it.
  10. 2457282 Suspended

    Dec 6, 2012
    I also notice that the frame covers the flash making this pretty useless in low light or dark settings.

    One of the major concerns I have with these things is that they are made for a specific form factor and do not allow for cases. What happens when the iPhone 7 comes out? Buy everything all over again?

    I am still holding out for a good system that also allow for future changes. Oh, and that allows the flash to work.
  11. Gizmotoy macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2003
    ** Disregard. Have no idea how this double post happened so far apart.
  12. Antares macrumors 68000


    "Professional Photography" and "iPhone" (or any phone) should not be used in the same sentence.
  13. MR-LIZARD macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2012
    This is my major concern with all accessories and why my accessory purchases are virtually zero*. I don't even upgrade my phone every year (I jumped from a 4S to a 6+) but the thought of wasting money on junky accessories that i know will ultimately end up going in the bin isn't something I want to get involved in.

    I've seen so few good accessories. They're almost all gimmicks; from awful gamepad ripoffs, nasty cases, weird camera attachments, stupid keyboards, etc it honestly amazes me that there is a market for this stuff because I never see anyone using it (apart from nasty cases; people love that crap it would seem).

    BTW - I'm not a case person, but there are some nice ones. People just seem to like cheap tacky nasty ones.

    * - My only accessories are a car cradle and a DAB/DLNA/Bluetooth receiver that works with more than just my iPhone and will work with any Bluetooth phone.
  14. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    I have to agree with the others here. Even on my 1st gen, NON-retina iPad Mini, with just looking at the article and not resizing the photos or anything, these shots look pretty bad.
  15. Lazy macrumors 6502

    May 27, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    Amazingly bad distortion on the telephoto.

    But the real comparison here should not be to a DSLR, but to a small point-and-shoot costing $130 or less. Those aren't any larger than a bag with all of this junk in it, but would deliver nearly infinitely better quality. If one were willing to carry around an extra bag, might as well carry around a real camera instead of this.
  16. ctrlshft macrumors member


    Nov 3, 2010
    The reality is that a better camera solution needs to come from Apple, not from weird peripherals that are limited by iPhone version. Even with the painstaking effort put into the designs, they are ultimately inferior to a better built-in solution from the manufacturer. Who knows, maybe Apple will offer diff cam versions in upcoming devices. The various flavors they offer now is a testament that they are becoming motivated to try new things. Time will tell.
  17. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    Incredibly poor lens and no match for even the cheapest DSLR or mirrorless camera system.

    And why couldn't they take the time to wipe off the water droplet in the telephoto shot?
  18. Nevaborn macrumors 65816


    Aug 30, 2013
    there is far to much snobbery going on here, with regards to the term " Professional ".

    This notion to be a professional you need a DSLR or that you need one at all because you can do such a better job than with an iPhone. The fact is the DSLR can produce great or rubbish shots and so can the phone. The level of photography is not decided by the device but the skill of the photographer and their understanding.

    There will always be moments when a better level of tool will get better results but that is the same for anything and even if you have a nice expensive DSLR you will find times when what you have is not enough, but does not mean you cant achieve great results. Anything else would be different not necessarily better or worse.

    The iPhone is a wonderful camera and will only get better with time. Yes you can get amazing results from a dedicated camera, but gone are the days where it was your only option as an iPhone is catching up very quickly and from a sheer hardware point of view to be doing so with it's physical limitations means if Apple gave a bit in their obsession for all things thin then that nice camera you have may just be a nice relic.

    End of the day photography is an art, and while gone are the days where we all chose a film for effect now we just have varying components and processing software for results and while some may please us over others, surely it is all jsut artistic choice and again with the right know how you can always find a decent shot.


    As for this product though, it is rubbish like most of these external lenses that do nothing but obscure and negatively impact what was a perfectly acceptable image.
  19. Neepman macrumors 6502

    Jul 31, 2008
    This is so retarded.
    You could buy a good point and shoot for that price and not have the dork factor.
  20. macduke macrumors G4


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    Yeah the iPhone does take great shots. At least as far as my comments were concerned, just to clarify in case anyone is confused, I was arguing that the iPhone camera was made much worse by these lenses. It should also be mentioned that I've seen better results from other cheap iPhone lenses. Not great, but better.

    Personally I own an old 7D and some "fancy L glass" that is a little older than the camera, and use a 5D MkIII at work, but I love our little Sony RX100 for snapshots of my kid and got some good general shots in NYC with it last year. I'm looking into moving to Sony mirrorless for my personal work. So not a dSLR snob, just recognize crappy glass when I see it. And this is exceptionally bad.
  21. ppdix macrumors 6502a


    Jul 6, 2001
    Miami Beach
    It sucks. Look at the distortion!

    Horrible quality and distortion. Who wants that?
  22. jclo Editor


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2012
    It's maybe not fair to judge this system based on just a few photographs. The wide angle image is arguably quite nice comparative to other lens systems on the market, not quite what I'd call much worse. That's a lot of distortion for the telephoto, but that's more for portrait type photos as in the second shot, same goes for other similar lenses.

    Here's a few more ExoLens images: http://exolens.com/images/
  23. melgross macrumors 6502

    Jan 23, 2004
    New York City
    That's a bad thing to say. An episode was made recently of the hit comedy show "Modern Family" using an iPad. Which has a lesser lens than the new 6 series of phones.

    Several movies have been made with iPhones, and commercials, such as Apple's own, new one.

    My background is in commercial photography. For some uses, the new iPhones would work well enough. The only thing they need are some good lenses.

    Sadly, these don't seem to be those. But Schneider makes a very good lens set for the iPhone, though I'm not sure if they've updated the mount for the new phones.
  24. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    Really wish they weren't all edited down for Instagram.

    They have some more here:

    Was looking at the metadata and they've been messing with them in Pixelmator.
  25. melgross macrumors 6502

    Jan 23, 2004
    New York City
    They both look terrible. There's no excuse for so much distortion, particularly for a tele. The company is dissembling over this, making statements that are not true.

    At first I thought that these were too cheap to be any good, but there is no diaphragm mechanics. No focussing mechanics, and it's a simple screw-in. The holder is cheap to make. But they do t seem to very good anyway.

    The Schneider lens set is much better than this one. I hope it will be available for the new cameras.

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