Our smartphones take really, really nice pictures. In fact, it’s almost unbelievable how good our shots are with something that fits in our pockets, especially when the sensor is usually about 1/2 of an inch. For almost everyone that’s great. Our phones are good enough. For a smaller subset of people, though, it’s not enough. They’ll go out and buy DSLR‘s or point-and-clicks. But they probably don’t bring those cameras with them everywhere they go. I know I don’t. DSLR’s are expensive, heavy, and take more time to use. The difference in quality (or, moreover, the hassle) isn’t always worth it to bring a camera around – no matter how badly we want to.
Lugging around that fine, fine glass on those massive lenses with us may not always be easy, but what if we we could take just the glass with us? And what if we could attach that glass to our smartphones to create DSLR-lite shots? A few companies have tried smartphone camera attachments, but none of them have the pedigree of Zeiss. If a lens is only as good as its glass, Zeiss would easily rank near the top of all the lenses available (and they do). That’s why their entry into iPhone lens attachments is a big deal.
Lens attachments, as the name implies, are small accessories that fit overtop of your cell phone’s camera. They give your digital camera real-life optical perspectives without the use of software that can muddy up the quality of your photos.
Zeiss’s offerings include a wide angle lens, a telephoto lens, and a macro lens. All three were announced in January at CES and will be available for purchase in the spring. Those are smart options to launch with. While a fisheye may be fun, the professional crowd is desperate for wider angle shots and optical zoom – a feature missing from nearly every smartphone out there today. Your shots may not be in RAW, but at least you’re getting perspectives on your smartphone the old-fashioned way.
Zeiss has paired up with ExoLens to make all of this possible. ExoLens previously has their own set of camera attachments and specialize in the unique brackets that attach the lens to your phone. It’s a match made in heaven for the two makers to combine their respective trades and is something worth getting exciting about.
But don’t take my word for it. Check out these images taken on an iPhone 6S and Zeiss’s attachments:
There’s no mention of price just yet, but ExoLens sells for just shy of $100. I’d expect the Zeiss lenses to be slightly more expensive. I, for one, am looking forward to trying them out.