Some of the best photographic lenses originate from Germany. Think Zeiss or Leica. Now, a Stuttgart startup named Lemuro hopes to earn that same respect with lens attachments for the iPhone.
And if looks, a swell of support on Kickstarter and that whole assumption about German precision engineering are indicators, Lemuro may get there.
That would be a huge leap, especially for a lens line that hasn’t hit the market yet. Lemuro, however, could prove to be competitive pretty quickly in a crowded space with popular brands, like Moment and olloclip, as well as a slew of cheaper clip-on lenses.
With an elegant mounting case and four different lenses, Lemuro was funded on Kickstarter in its first 45 minutes Tuesday. The lens are bright and bulbous – much like the eyes of the company’s mascot, the lemur – and are encased in a black or silver aluminum.
Each lens – two extra wide-angle lenses, a 10X macro and a 2X telephoto lens x – start at $58 on Kickstarter and a case is $29.
“We are passionate photographers and respect and consider our competitors as first movers in that niche,” Lemuro CEO and founder Eric Bohring told Cult of Mac. “We believe as a younger company, we can (take advantage) of years of product evolution and make a more refined product design.”
Bohring said the company has already cleared several tests and regulatory hurdles to begin production this summer, thereby greatly reducing the risks that often doom Kickstarter projects.
The first products will only be available for the iPhone X and the 7 and 8 series handset. Fittings for other iPhone models and Android smartphones are likely to follow. Two other lenses, including an 80 mm telephoto, are in development, he said.
Even before the iPhone was 10 years old last year, its camera had surpassed conventional cameras as the most widely used photographic tool. Soon after, lens companies and tech accessory brands began manufacturing lens to extend the reach of a handset’s native lens.
Now, many smartphones are being produced with two lenses, a 28 mm wide angle lens and a medium-range telephoto. However, companies, including Apple, are expected to produce triple-lens models by 2019.
Smartphone cameras are popular, in part, because it eliminates the need to carry heavier, more conventional gear. With companies building in these types of lenses with next-gen smartphones, brands that make attachments will face a new challenge: go obsolete or build even more powerful accessory lenses.