I can almost hear the die-hard photographers wailing from here: yes, guys. It’s been a long time coming, but finally the smartphone users can also use lenses to take amazing shots.
This isn’t something to worry about – people just use their smartphone differently from how they use a DSLR. Options like the Manfrotto Klyp+, however, mean that you don’t have to choose between the easy, instantaneous smartphone and actually taking a good photo. You can have both.
Although the option of buying an iPhone lens has been around for a while, our interest was only truly piqued when Orms told us about the clip from Manfrotto. The makers of glorious tripods and other photographic paraphernalia have joined the iPhoneography fray with this set of three lenses and an LED light, which attach onto a case. Our photojournalist, Teagan Cunniffe and I headed to Hout Bay to put it through its paces. Between me, the avid Instagrammer and her, the serious DSLR photographer, we’d be able to really figure out whether this is worth your time.
Firstly, the Manfrotto Klyp+ comes with a poly-carbonate cover, which is reassuringly sturdy – I’d probably keep it on my iPhone at all times. It’s a bit bulky, but certainly better than a cracked screen – and for those of us with butterfingers, security is more important than aerodynamicism. You can thread any of the three lenses onto this case. Attaching the LED light was a bit trickier, but easy enough once you work it out.
The fish-eye lens won me over immediately – think of the Instagrams! – and it won Teagan’s approval too.
The “portrait” lens, with its 1.5x zoom, was also a winner, although it did introduce some more serious lens flare. If you wanted to use it for macro shots, you may need a tripod. (Yes, haters, iPhone tripods are officially “A Thing”.) Below is a photo taken without a lens:
Compare this with a photo taken from the same distance, but with the zoom portrait lens:
My favourite by far, though, was the “Landscape” lens. When going on a hike, I’m certainly not going to lug a camera along with me – but being able to capture only a smidgen of the gorgeous vista on my iPhone is a source of infinite frustration. Teagan was a little worried about the distortion here, but I loved the effect it gave to the shot – quite like a baby-fisheye.
Normal iPhone 5 shot:
Now, compare the scope of that shot with this one, taken with the landscape wide-angle lens:
The Manfrotto Klyp+ also came with a LED light: this is very exciting. The iPhone flash is only useful for disorientating people and wildlife. The LED light has three different brightness settings, and instead of flashing when you take the photo, it’s on until you switch it off. This isn’t very good for taking stealthy photos, of course, but it does allow your camera to auto-expose correctly before taking the picture.
Want to win one? You can! Check out our Expect #theUnexpected competition. Otherwise, they’re stocked at Orms Direct for R1 895.