Review: ExoLens' Wide-Angle Zeiss Lens is Bulky, but Takes Distortion-Free Photos

Discussion in 'Guides, How Tos and Reviews' started by MacRumors, May 12, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    ExoLens and Zeiss have teamed up to create some high-quality lenses designed to take iPhone photography to the next level. At $200, the ExoLens PRO with Optics by Zeiss Wide-Angle Kit for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus is almost the price you'd pay for a standalone camera, but the lens is distortion free, compact, and enhances the range of images you can capture with your iPhone.


    There are dozens of inexpensive lenses on the market, but most of the cheaper options are unable to measure up to the quality you get with the $199 Zeiss/ExoLens combo.


    The ExoLens PRO comes in a padded box and ships alongside several mounts to fit different sized iPhones, including the iPhone 7, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 6s Plus.

    Right out of the package, the ExoLens PRO stands apart from other lens options. It's over an inch tall and similar in circumference to a standard pill bottle, with a solid weight to it. The outside of the lens is made from aluminum, and the glass of the lens itself is protected with caps on each side when not in use. Zeiss branding is on the side of the lens, which looks more like a small DSLR lens than a standard iPhone lens.


    Inside the box, there are two carrying bags for the lens and any accessories, along with an aluminum lens hood and an installation guide.

    Click here to

    Article Link: Review: ExoLens' Wide-Angle Zeiss Lens is Bulky, but Takes Distortion-Free Photos
  2. nsfw macrumors regular

    Aug 21, 2009
  3. Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

    Jul 12, 2016
    I know these take really high end photos and the results are that of DSLR. But That looks a little ridiculous attached to the iPhone.
  4. dasmb, May 12, 2017
    Last edited: May 12, 2017

    dasmb macrumors 6502

    Jul 12, 2007
    Who is this targeted at? Professional users, like realtors, who commonly need to take high quality wide angle photographs and are currently doing so with a second camera.

    $200 for higher quality, less to carry and a streamlined workflow is a no brainer.

    ExoLens apparently also offers a 2x telephoto lens and a macro lens on the same style bracket and they're all a bit cheaper "a la carte." 2x isn't much of a telephoto but it would make the iPhone more of a portrait camera, and the macro lens would be awesome for anybody selling small things online or capturing fine detail such as text.
  5. jclo Editor


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2012
    This is a good point. Realtors (and those in similar professions) might indeed find this useful if they don't already use a DSLR/hire a professional for listing photos.
  6. Avieshek Suspended


    Dec 7, 2013
  7. DZakDad macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2014
    I've used a number of different accessory lenses on various iPhone's and the Zeiss models are by far the best. Yeah, they are heavy and using the slippery iPhone without a case or skin can be a little unsettling if you're not paying attention.

    If you're serious about image quality and want a little more flexibility than the standard iPhone lens, these are worth it.
  8. zorinlynx macrumors 603


    May 31, 2007
    Florida, USA
    Lenses last forever and don't become obsolete.

    Phones quickly become obsolete after a few years.

    Will they be selling mounting kits for future iPhones so you can keep using these expensive lenses into the future?
  9. macduke macrumors G4


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    At this point just get a nice, cheap mirrorless like the Sony A6000 with the 20mm f/2.8 pancake and you'll get much better results.
  10. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    Cheap and mirrorless don't go in the same sentence anymore. Prices for SLRs have been going back up.
  11. dasmb macrumors 6502

    Jul 12, 2007
    They apparently already offer 3 different mounting kits so it looks like they're moving in that direction.
  12. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    Well, no, since there are innate physical limitations related to having a very small sensor.

    Today's phones do take awesome photos, given what they are. But if one feels the need to add that kind of bulk to improve the quality of one's photos, a DLSR or mirrorless makes more sense.
  13. Fzang macrumors 65816


    Jun 15, 2013
    Can't get rid of the noise though, which is the biggest problem with smartphone photography.
  14. macduke macrumors G4


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    Yeah maybe if you get something like the new pro sports 20fps A9 that costs $4499 but the A6000 has one of the best price/performance ratios out there and can often be found on sale around $399 body only. Personally I'm waiting for the A7III which will likely be in the $1799-1999 range and wreck the 5DMkIV. I'm switching from Canon for my personal work but will still be using a 5DMkIII at work.
  15. nwcs macrumors 68000


    Sep 21, 2009
    Probably Zeiss licensed their name rather than actually a Zeiss design/build. Similar to the Sony/Zeiss lenses on the FE mount. Still, why would someone who only uses a smartphone use this? If DXO would work on the ergonomics/design of their One camera it would make more sense than this.
  16. avanpelt macrumors 68030

    Jun 2, 2010
    The headline calls the product "bulky" but the body of the article calls the product "compact". Judging by the photos of the product, I'm going with bulky (athough, paired with an iPhone, it is certainly more compact than a DSLR camera body and lens).
  17. Vanilla35 macrumors 68040


    Apr 11, 2013
    Washington D.C.
    This performance doesn't look like it's worth the cost at all. In 70% of the situations you can simply walk closer to the object, or crop a photo after taking. The only gain I see is in the focal point of the shot (less border around it), and the zoom. Still looks like it distorts to some degree because the coloring is off with the lens (in some pictures). Why would you not just get your own point and shoot at $200? The iPhone is good, but not that good.

    The point of portability is void, because this thing is massive. It's less unwieldy to bring around a slim point and shoot camera.
  18. emm386 macrumors 6502


    Feb 5, 2016
    Yeah... but no...

    I'd much rather take distorted photos then.

    And if bulky is OK for I was a professional, I'd just take my real camera along.
  19. jonnysods macrumors 603


    Sep 20, 2006
    There & Back Again
    I can see a lot of uses for this, but not for general regular folk.
  20. dasmb macrumors 6502

    Jul 12, 2007
    You can make a lens smaller, but not without reducing its properties. If your goal is low distortion with little to no reduction in the speed of the lens system, you need a lot of surface area. My guess is that this lens was designed not to reduce the iPhone's aperture of f/1.8 at all. A lens surface 1/4 the size would reduce that by a full stop to f/3.6.

    I am not aware of a point and shoot camera with an aperture that fast and an angle this wide.
  21. ignatius345 macrumors 68020

    Aug 20, 2015
    No, not the results of a DSLR. A DSLR has a much much much larger sensor and way better optics. This little lens looks cool, but all the light is still getting funnelled through a tiny iPhone lens and a really tiny sensor. It's all OK in the daytime, but at night you really start to see the difference.

    I'm not knocking smartphone photography -- it's absolutely amazing, but there's only so much you can do with that compact of a camera.
  22. Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

    Jul 12, 2016
    Truthfully, I don't have a lot of knowledge on these micro lens. I trust your judgment though.
  23. Michael Scrip macrumors 603

    Mar 4, 2011
    Yep... any serious real estate agent would hire a professional. :D

    I've seen professional real-estate photographers spend 30 minutes working on one photo of a room in a house. They composite together multiple photos with different exposures... a mixture of flash and exterior sunlight... etc.

    It's a lot of work... but boy do they look great.
  24. DaMacDad macrumors newbie


    May 12, 2017
    --- Post Merged, May 12, 2017 ---
    Throw a pop socket on the back of the phone and that will be a nice little setup. Combine that with a gorilla pod and you are good to go for nature hikes or just about anything.

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