The iPro Lens comes to us as iPhoneography is now being helped with lens accessories and attachments. And if you're looking to expand the capabilities of your iPhone 5 or 5S' camera, you could do with the likes of iPro Lens.
Similar to Olloclip, you slap lens attachments over your iPhone's camera, and you've either got telephoto, macro or wide angle capabilities.
There's something to be said about working within the confines of the iPhone camera's natural field of view and how it forces us to be more creative within that space. But if you've been pushing those limits for years now, the iPro Lens can help you take your art to another level.
First, let's start with the hardware. Most iPhone lens attachments come with cases or clips that allow the lenses to be affixed to the phone. In the case of the iPro Lens, you have to use the case that comes with the package.
The case has a mount right over the iPhone's camera that allows quick mounting and changing of lenses. Its design allows lenses to be mounted with just a short twist, rather than having screw threads that make you screw on the lens attachments.
The mount for the lenses feels secure, so I really appreciate its simplicity and the ease with which I can change lenses.
The lenses themselves mount into their casing the same way, and the casing comes in a tube shape that separates and screws together to form a handle. When screwed together, the handle can be screwed into the case on the iPhone, giving you a makeshift grip for shooting videos and more.
Photos of the accessory probably do a better job describing what the thing actually looks like.
Overall, the pieces fit together really well and it's lightweight and easy to carry around. Of course, the handle containing the lenses is a little bulky, so you'll need large pockets, such as the ones found on a jacket, or a bag or purse.
My main concern was that the iPhone case itself with scratch or nick the iPhone edges, especially since they're susceptible to that sort of thing, but it went on and off without any problems.
Lastly, the glass on the lenses seem solid and scratch-resistant. They're also coated to prevent lens flare, but I'm sure you can achieve some flare if you try hard enough - assuming you're going for that look, of course.
If we're talking lens attachments on the iPhone, the best they can do is either improve image quality, or at the very least not degrade it.
The set of iPro lenses we tested are made of optical quality glass, and they're coated with anti-glare materials.
It's hard to say whether images actually look better in terms of color and sharpness with the iPro Lens attachments, but I can say with confidence that the iPro Lens system doesn't degrade the iPhone camera's native quality.
The only thing you may want to take into consideration is slight chromatic aberration or fringing in the telephoto lens, and distortion in the wide-angle lenses. Distortion for wide-angle lenses is expected, and sometimes the effect is even desired. The sample images will show you what it's like.
Usage and handling
Using the iPro Lens system is self-explanatory and intuitive. Storing, changing, mounting the casing and lenses is a piece of cake.
Moreover, the fact that the lens storage unit doubles as a grip for the iPhone is a nice touch. It helps gets your hands out of camera shots, and your hands shouldn't muffle, cup or modify sound as it's being recorded by video.
A few things to note is how different focal lengths will affect your photos. When you're shooting macro or telephoto shots, for example, the shakiness of your hands will be exacerbated. Small movements will appear large on your screen, and your likelihood of creating blurry photos is heightened.
When you're shooting with the macro or telephoto attachments, you want to be sure to keep a very steady hand. In cameras with manual controls, the solution for this is to raise shutter speed. However, since the iPhone's camera doesn't allow you to do that, you'll just have to keep the jitters down. Maybe ease up on the coffee.
One thing to note, however, is that this thing is pricey. The package we tested costs US$229, £167.00 if you're in the UK, or AU$349 for Australians. You can buy each lens, case and attachment part a la carte from the website, but you're probably better off buying the set.
To see sample images taken with the iPro Lens system, head on over to the next page.