I had a brief WTF moment when I first saw this iPhone 4 zoom lens on Gizmotherapy. It seemed like a gimmicky product, with more entertainment value than utility. But Brian of Gizmotherapy was kind enough to send us a review unit and so we tried it out.
Inside the box you will find the telephoto lens itself, with each opening covered by a protective cap, a simple tripod, an adjustable bracket that holds the iPhone 4 and mounts onto the tripod, a simple, rubberized iPhone 4 case with a large opening for the camera lens where you screw in the telephoto lens, and a small cloth bag to hold them all together.
If you’re using some kind of case, you will have to first take it off and then clip on the case that came in the box. If you have some sort of protective film like Wrapsol or Invisible Shield applied, you’ll have a harder time slipping the phone into the case; if you are using a thicker kind of film like the Wrapsol Ultra, then you might not even be able to fit the phone into the case.
But once the iPhone 4 is in the case, then screwing on the zoom lens is a quick and easy task. You then slip it into the bracket: hold the base, then pull the rubber tab upwards until the bracket opening is large enough to accept the iPhone 4 (it’s best to have another person with you, as you need three hands to get this done). Mount the bracket on the tripod (or any other tripod you prefer), and you’re set.
How do the pictures look? The iPhone 4 telephoto lens provides you roughly the same zoom capability that the iPhone 4 camera’s digital zoom provides you (theoretically, it’s an 8x zoom, according to the specs for the lens). In other words, the photo you get with the telephoto lens on looks about the same as the photo you take if you max out the digital zoom, except that the picture quality is much, much better than the noise-filled, pixellated mess that the digital zoom provides. And combining the zoom lens with the iPhone 4 camera’s digital zoom, you can get fairly up close to distant subjects, though you’ll be sacrificing picture quality.
The iPhone 4’s camera is a decent camera, which often turns out to be the best one because it is the camera that you have with you when an unexpected photo op comes up. The photos here were all taken indoors, on a very gray day. Photos taken outdoors, with good lighting, should be much, much better in quality. The zoom lens turns out to be a surprisingly useful accessory that lets you, well, zoom in to capture subjects or scenes that you would otherwise not be able to. And it’s a small accessory that you can throw into a shirt or jeans pocket quite easily.
It’s pricey for someone who uses the iPhone 4’s camera only sparingly, but iPhone 4 owners who’ve become shutterbugs will definitely find this useful.
Availability: Gizmotherapy iPhone 4 telephoto lens page
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