Olloclip 4-in-1 lens system for iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s review

Olloclip recently released an update to their current lens system for iPhone which is supposed to bring with it better overall optics and a new macro option. In the past we've been impressed with the results the old Olloclip system produced when it came to taking wide-angle, macro, and fisheye shots on the iPhone 4s and iPhone 5. Now that I've had my hands on the new 4-in-1 system for a while now and had the chance to test it out with my iPhone 5s, here are the results...

I've always been a fan of the Olloclip lens system and found it to be great while on the go or whenever I was in a pinch and didn't have my DSLR or the traditional lens I wanted handy. Paired with the stellar camera in the iPhone 5s or iPhone 5, you really can't go wrong. The new 4-in-1 system is supposed to bring with it some better quality when it comes to the overall optics system itself. It also adds a new macro option. The old system only had a 10x macro option while the new system comes with a 15x as well. Olloclip also says the refreshed 10x macro on the new 4-in-one system should take brighter and better focused images than its predecessor.

I took the new 4-in-1 system around with me for a few days and was extremely happy with the results. I did notice I had to exert less effort with the new and refreshed macros in order to get a shot I was happy with. Here are some image samples I got with the new 4-in-1 lens system when paired with my iPhone 5s:

Wide-angle samples

From left to right: Without Olloclip, with Olloclip

The wide-angle lens on the olloclip has always produced wonderful results to begin with, at least in my experience. I feel the new optics to a better job of not curving the image as much as the old version. It's a very slight difference but it's there. You can also use the Olloclip companion app to straighten wide-angle shots if you need to.

Macro samples

Left to right: Without Olloclip, with Olloclip

In the above photos, I got as close as I could both with and without the Olloclip. The resulting image was as close as I could possibly get and still achieve a decent focus. You can see how much of a difference the Olloclip really makes. Compared to the older version, I don't see too much of a difference but I do feel the images are brighter as advertised.

This second set of photos I specifically used the new 15x macro option. All of them turned out rather well and you can clearly see the level of zoom you really do get. One thing I will note is that the 15x macro zoom does make it much harder to stay steady and get a clear shot with no blur. But anyone who has ever used a professional grade macro lens will tell you they aren't easy to focus in the first place due to motion blur.

Fisheye samples

From left to right: Without Olloclip, with Olloclip

I've never really found a really good use for the fisheye lens so if you guys have suggestions, let me know. It's fun to play with but not something I typically use. If I want a wider view, I favor the wide-angle. Either way, here are some samples for those interested. I'd be curious to here what kinds of situations you guys use fisheye for too, so make sure to let me know in the comments.

The good

  • Brighter photos over the 3-in-1-system
  • 15x macro is insanely accurate, even if it is hard to focus at times
  • Wide angle and fisheye are the same great attachments we know and love, just with better optics

The bad

  • 15x macro can be finicky when it comes to focusing, but that's the case with any really good macro
  • Isn't a very compelling upgrade for those that have the 3-in-1 system already, unless you really want that 15x macro option

The bottom line

If you already own a 3-in-1 Olloclip system, I don't think the 4-in-1 system is a compelling enough reason to upgrade. Sure the quality of macros is a little brighter and you have the additional 15x macro option, but those two things definitely don't make the 3-in-1 system obsolete.

For those that don't already own an Olloclip system, the 4-in-1 system doesn't disappoint, just as the 3-in-1 system doesn't. If you decide to pick one up, you definitely won't regret it. Olloclip is not only one of the best lens attachment kits for iPhone, its hands down the most convenient.

The Olloclip 4-in-1 system is currently available for pre-order and expected to ship early November 2013. Clicking the link below will take you to the Olloclip site to pre-order.

- $69.99 - Buy Now

Allyson Kazmucha

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.