Olloclip Tele+Polarizer Is Even Better Than The Original [Review]

Olloclip Tele+Polarizer Is Even Better Than The Original [Review]

Olloclip Tele Polarizer by Olloclip
Category: Cameras
Works With:iPhone 4/4S/5
Price: $100

The Olloclip must be one of the most useful iPhoneography accessories around. It’s a tiny clip-on widget which adds three additional lenses to the iPhone: macro, wide-angle and fisheye.

And until now, the only thing it was really lacking was a telephoto – after all the more-or-less 35mm equivalent lens on the iPhone is already wide enough for most uses. Olloclip has fixed that with this new lens, and added another handy accessory in the box: A circular polarizer.

What It Is

The Olloclip Telephoto + Circular Polarizer Lens (Tele+CPL) clips over the iPhone’s lens, just like the other Olloclip. This time, though, you get a 2x tele on one side and a removable polarizer on the other. Why removable? Because it pops off and fits over the tele itself, letting you use the two in tandem.

Better still, the kit comes with a small, easy-to-lose donut-shaped adapter which lets you use the polarizer on the regular Olloclip, making it handily backwards compatible. In short, if you have both Ollokits, then you have a pretty awesome lens system.

The tele comes with a lens cap (clear) and a microfiber bag. The Polarizer only has the bag, although if you can find a lid from an old film canister it might make a good DIY lens cap. I haven;t tested this, for obvious reasons.

The Good

Olloclip Tele+Polarizer Is Even Better Than The Original [Review] Zoom, zoom, zoom.

Tele

The telephoto is a multicoated block of optical glass, and as such offers fantastic quality. I like the regular Olloclip, but this one seems to be way better optically. There’s a fall-off of sharpness at the edges. You won’t even notice it on the iPhone’s small screen, and when you blow it up on a Mac or iPad you get a nice Instagrammatical-style blurry vignette (although you still won’t see it unless you’re looking for it.)

66mm is just about long enough to use as a portrait lens.

Utility-wise, the doubling of the iPhone’s native focal length (around 33mm as far as I can tell) is way more useful than yo’d think. For starters, 66mm is just about long enough to use as a portrait lens. If you ever thought that your friends look terrible in your iPhone photos, try this perspective-flattening telephoto to see more flattering images: big noses don’t stick out so much, and the face just looks better.

And as you can see in my comparison shots, a 2X zoom gets you a lot closer than you’d expect. I often use my iPhone to snap details of things I see in the street for posting on Instagram, which usually means I have to crop them first. The Olloclip Tele+CPL gets me closer to my end result, and without the fuzziness of cropping and enlarging.

Polarizer

Olloclip Tele+Polarizer Is Even Better Than The Original [Review] The polarizer has darkened the blue sky, and the telephoto has flattened the perspective on the building.

A polarizer does two useful things: it saturates clot and it cuts out reflections in glass, metal and water. It does this by only admitting light that is polarized in one direction. To make an analogy, the filter is like a prison door, and the light is a box of broomsticks. If you throw the sticks at the foo, only those that are parallel to the bars will get through. If you now imagine that the other, non-parallel broomsticks are actually the light reflected by water or glass, then you can see that just turning the prison door (or twisting the polarizer) will exclude the light (or broomsticks) that you don’t want.

Of course, you should avoid putting broomsticks into an occupied prison cell as the inmate will quickly attach a shiv to the end and use it to stab you as you stand there taking photos.

The polarizer fits tight on its own mount, or on the other lenses you have. To adjust it, you just twist the end, which is damped but turns easily enough. You’ll need to hold the Olloclip in place as you do it though as the unit has a tendency to slip off as you twist. This isn’t as annoying as it sounds – you just keep it on place with your right thumb while using the fingers of your left hand (your left fingers?) to turn it.

As you turn it you’ll see skies darken, contrast increase and reflection disappear. Point it as a lit iPad screen and you can block the emitted (polarized) light completely, making the screen look as if it’s switched off, even as its brightness is turned to full.

The Bad

Olloclip Tele+Polarizer Is Even Better Than The Original [Review] The combo even copes with situations that should cause extreme flare.

There are a few bad points. The Polarizer’s front element is so big that it picks up fingerprints like the Hardy Boys in a suspiciously-abandoned theme park. This is compounded by the lack of a lens cap, but mitigated somewhat by the fact that it’s stored in a microfiber bag and can be cleaned so easily.

For the telephoto, I have no complaints. It’s a fantastic addition to the iPhone, and would be worth the $100 asking price on its own.

The Verdict

The Tele+CPL kit isn’t as all-round versatile as the original Olloclip, but it might be more useful to you. And while buying both for $170 seems expensive, in terms of photographic gear it’s virtually free. Plus, the two kits complement each other with no cross-over in function. Quite the opposite in fact – the Tele+CPL adds features to the wide/fisheye/macro unit.

The only problem is that changing iPhone lenses is just as fiddly as changing camera lenses. Which is why I’m currently experimenting with a lanyard that will let me keep the lenses around my neck without looking too dorky. I’ll let you know if I manage it.

Olloclip Tele+Polarizer Is Even Better Than The Original [Review]Product Name: : Olloclip Tele Polarizer

The Good: Olloclip’s highest-quality lens yet; backwards-compatible with the original lens set.

The Bad: As fiddly as any swappable lens system.

The Verdict If you buy it, you won’t regret it.

Buy from: Olloclip

Cult of Mac rating: Excellent

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  • MrsCleaver

    Still can’t put it on an iPhone that’s in a case. Since having an unprotected iPhone is not my preference, the Olloclip devices are just not right for my photo purpose. Still, hats off to a great specialty-item company.

About the author

Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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