Thursday, February 11, 2016

ExoLens from Zeiss hopes to change the way you shoot with an iPhone

At CES 2016, Zeiss debut a two lens set for the iPhone6 and Galaxy S6  called the ExoLens. It has been a tried and tested way for many to get people to add lenses to their iPhones for many years only to end up disappointing. Can Zeiss change the game?

For me, without question is kinda simple. Show me the proof and I would ante up on one. Problem is, they didn't quite do that.

Besides running a series of promotional pictures, the site had very few real life examples. This led me to conclude the images may be subpar as with all other clip on or snap on lenses.

The most telling of the sample images was this one from the site. Note the top left and right corners and you'd see the vignetting. This is probably the one that confirms it for me. The wide angle lens isn't going to cut it.

The 3X zoom lens however, well, there was one clear sample but I haven't seen any other tested in more real life situations to warrant me to buy it.

Zoom lenses are a bit more easy to make, the only challenge is the optical quality needed to reproduce colors and the one photo on the site just didn't quite convince me.

Why Now?

It goes without question that the digital camera market has been savaged by the likes of mobile phone cameras. Previously, Zeiss provided their premium lenses to the likes of Nokia and though some are purely branding and had nothing to do with quality, Zeiss still had to find ways to make a living.

Sony licenses Zeiss glass to be used on their mirrorless and DSLR cameras. This is of course a sunset market as the rolling numbers aren't going to pay the bills in Germany.

So why not an iPhone lens?

The two set lens cost about US$130 bucks. That is a lot of money to pay if you are sure of the quality but after looking through the whole site for sample images instead of snaps by paid instagramers, I went away disappointed.

The holy grail of iPhone lenses do have some chinks in its armor. And that's that's not something I would pay over a hundred bucks for.


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