How did a photographer much more at home tracking birds of prey in flight get on with a Zeiss ExoLens PRO? Andy Elliott let’s us know and shares his ExoLens photography with us.
We gave a Zeiss ExoLens Wide to experienced wildlife photographer, Andy Elliott, to use on an iPhone 6 Plus. He used it on trips to Michigan in the USA, to the Irish coast and closer to home in Ely and Cambridge.
Carl Zeiss optics has an established link to the smartphone market, with handset manufacturers like Nokia and Sony featuring integrated canera optics featuring Zeiss designs and branding. But it was with some surprise that we learned Zeiss was unveiling a premium quality range of external add-on lenses for iPhone 6 and 7 devices. Not only that, Zeiss has used the ‘PRO’ moniker to suffix its new ExoLens brand. Talk about raising the bar in terms of expectations.
There are now several ExoLens lenses to choose from, but earlier in the year we gave an ExoLens Wide to experienced wildlife photographer, Andy Elliott, to use.An iPhone 6 has a camera with a field of view equivalent tp a 28mm wide angle lens on a conventional full frame camera (18mm on APS-C and 14mm on Four Thirds crop frame cameras). With its 0.6X conversion factor, the ExoLens Wide delivers a field of view equivalent to an ultra wide angle 17mm (10mm APS-C or 8mm Four Thirds) lens.
While Andy didn’t use the ExoLens for his more usual bird in flight (BIF) captures of owls in the twilight, he did take the ExoLens on a trip to the USA and Ireland, as well as using it in and around his home base of Ely and nearby Cambridge. You can see a gallery of his images on page 2 of this article. Below, we reproduce some of his notes on his experience using the ExoLens wide fitted to an iPhone 6 Plus.
Irish coastal cliff view – taken with an iPhone 6 Plus without an ExoLens fitted
This time the same view with an ExoLens Wide fitted
Andy says: “Positives are that there is practically no degradation in image quality (distortion, flare, chromatic aberration or sharpness). The ExoLens itself is very robust and well made.
“Negatives include the method of attachment/detachment, So I can’t use a case or screen protector if I want to use the ExoLens. Using without a case (and the lens is heavy and unbalances and the phone) seems like a recipe for a dropped phone.
“It really needs a dedicated case or clamping attachment that can cope with screen protector.”
Overall, Andy was certainly impressed with the results he obtained with the ExoLens Wide. Later in the year we’ll catch up with Andy to discover if the practicality issues he has highlighted have affected his enthusiasm and dedication to using the ExoLens.
A Zeiss ExoLens is a substantial lump of metal and glass. The ExoLens Wide weighs 90g which compares to 129g for an iPhone 6 and 172g for an iPhone 6 Plus.
While some rival iPhone add-on lenses have been relatively compact, they have sometimes made do with less than secure attachment systems. The Zeiss ExoLens Pro fitting is secure but makes your iPhone substantially heavier and bulkier. A more compact Edge bracket is also available.
Is that an iPhone or a sophisticated camera for enthusiasts? It’s both.