Imagine having a complete set of camera lenses including a x2 zoom, ultra-wide, fisheye, macro, etc. that you can fit in your pocket. And the best part of it is, that they don’t need a dedicated camera to attach them to! Instead they fit to something that most people keep on their person already… a phone!
This is exactly what the Olloclip is able to provide in a very compact package. On a recent long weekend to London I took the 4-in-1 and Active lenses with me to put them through their paces.
The Olloclip lenses come with plenty of accessories including neck straps to help carry the lenses and different adaptors to fit them on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. I only wanted the essentials for the trip, so I took the 2 lenses, 2 carry pouches and the inner covers for the lenses to help keep dust out when they were not in use.
One final accessory I opted to take with me was the Olloclip iPhone case. This allows easy installation and removal of the lenses while still providing your precious iPhone with protection. The case has an Olloclip shaped cut out which allows the lenses to easily slip on and off.
The trip day 1:
Note: From here onwards, all the photos you see will be taken on an iPhone using the different Olloclip lenses. I will specify on each photo which Olloclip was mounted (4-in-1 or Active) and which lens variation was used (wide-angle, 2x zoom, etc) .
The weather forecast showed typical British weather over our 3 night stay which meant we could possibly have all 4 seasons in one day. On the coach to London, rain hit the window and we prepared ourselves for a wet weekend. Luckily though, we had no need to worry because as soon as we arrived, the clouds disappeared and the sun beamed down. It ended up staying like this for pretty much the whole weekend! In fact, at some points, it was a bit too hot to be wandering around the city and we hoped the clouds would come back.
Once we had checked in at our hotel, we headed out for the first stop for the day: the British Museum. We had never visited the museum before and we were both eager to see what it had to offer.
The building itself was very impressive! It contains a good mixture of old and modern architecture which blend together seamlessly. The Olloclip offered plenty of different options for the situation allowing me to zoom in close to details and get wide views to take in all the surroundings in one photo.
A limiting factor of using an iPhone for photography is its lowlight capability. From the museum we headed to the London Underground to get a tube into Central London for spot of shopping. Whilst we were in the Underground I wanted to test the Olloclip to see how they fared in low light conditions.
Luckily, the Olloclip didn’t darken the images any further, meaning that the quality was maintained.
We started by heading along Carnaby Street. The ultra-wide lens on the Active Olloclip allowed me to capture the height of the 4 storey buildings with ease, making quite an immersive photo.
Carnaby street and the adjoining side streets host a wide range of shops, but once you’ve ran out, the next place on the list for shopping in London is Covent Garden.
The walk from Carnaby Street to Covent Garden takes you through Piccadilly Circus. We waited around for a typical London bus to come so I could take this photo with 3 famous London sights in. The London Underground, Red London Bus and the flashing signs of Piccadilly Circus.
Covent Gardens indoor market areas are quite compact especially with the sheer amount of people that pass through. That combined with the rounded roof meant the fisheye lens would be able to take in all the surroundings and exaggerate the roundness of the roof making an interesting photo.
Covent Garden is always full of street performers and this day was no exception. Inside the market area a comedy opera singer entertained the crowds of people. Around the outer square, human statues and other entertainers kept the shoppers spirits’ high.
The trip day 2:
Having purchased everything we had planned on day 1, day 2 was a sightseeing day. We have been to London many times but there is a huge list of activities we still wanted to do. At the top of that list, and perfect for day 2, was the Tower Bridge Exhibition.
We began by getting the Underground to Westminster. As soon as you step out of the Underground station you are greeted with the sight of Big Ben (which actually is Elizabeth Tower. Big Ben is the name of the bell at the top of the tower).
Due to Big Ben being another huge tourist trap, it’s hard to get a good photo without crowds of people standing in the way. This is where once again the Olloclip came into play. The Ultra-Wide lens allowed me to get close enough to the tower to take a photo without people in the way.
We walked across Westminster Bridge to a location that we have been before to take photos.
Inside the archway/tunnel is quite dark, whereas the outside is very bright in comparison. With an SLR camera this is quite easy to compensate for by adjusting the settings to get the correct balance. However, an iPhone 6 doesn’t have the advanced settings that an SLR camera has, so I was unsure as to how the photo would come out. The Olloclip Wide Angle lens allowed me to capture the archway, framing big ben perfectly.
We continued our walk along South Bank towards the London Eye, which once again is a huge tourist trap.
Once again, I wanted to try and take a photo of the London Eye without the crowds. So I attached the Wide Angle lens and moved away from the crowds towards the cables that support the Eye to take the above photo.
Continuing along South Bank past the stalls and street entertainers you soon end up at Millennium Bridge which crosses the Thames over to St. Pauls Cathedral.
The reflections of the Cathedral and clouds from the tall glass buildings make this photo. I wanted to try and capture as much of the two buildings without too much lens distortion.
The next stop after St. Pauls was the main attraction of the day… Tower Bridge!
We walked to the entrance of the Tower Bridge experience and bought the tickets. As you walk up the winding steps inside the tower you can see the history that surrounds you. Each brick in the tower was painstakingly laid by hand, you can understand why it took 8 years to build!
Once you reach the top, a video explains how the bridge was constructed and operates (two enclosed bridges link the two towers together). Part of the bridge’s floor is made from glass so you can see all the way down to the water and road below. The windows on either side provided spectacular views over the Thames.
Before heading back to go out for food, I just had enough time to get a quick photo of the Shad Thames.
The trip Day 3:
Day 3 was set to be as jam-packed as the day before with a visit to Camden, followed by the Zoo and finally a trip to the Sky Garden!
For people who haven’t been, Camden is a vibrant area of London which hosts a wide variety of things to do, including cleverly designed shops, market, scenic canal and plenty of nice restaurants.
London Zoo is within easy walking distance of Camden (the closest tube station to the zoo entrance is Camden Town) so exploring the area on route to the zoo is almost essential.
We’ve been to London Zoo before and loved it. This time was no exception. However, this time around it seemed a lot larger than we remembered! We wandered around the suggested route, visited several animal talks and even managed to get a glimpse of the tiger cubs. Before we knew it was time to leave and head to the Sky Garden which we had pre-booked for 5pm.
Prior to this trip, we had never really considered going to the Sky Garden. It was only after reading online about it (and that it was free entry) we decided why not check it out?!
We walked towards the huge building and already saw the queue forming with other people booked into the 5pm slot. We took our place and waited for security to invite us in. After a short while, we passed through an airport style security check and were whisked into a lift off to the top floor.
The top floor housed the garden itself along with several bars and restaurants. The views were spectacular! In my opinion, the Sky Garden provides the best panoramic views of London, especially for the ‘free’ price tag!
The trip day 4:
The final day was set to be more relaxed. Our coach home was booked for 4pm which gave us several hours in the morning to finish off the trip. We chose to take a sightseeing river cruise of the Thames!
The day was the hottest of the entire trip. We checked out of the hotel in the morning, put our bags in the luggage room and headed down to the pier to catch the boat. Once again I had pre-booked to secure a place and time slot.
We left from Tower Pier (near Tower Bridge) and headed down the Thames. Live commentary on the route kept us up-to-date with all the places we were passing along with a brief history of several London landmarks.
The tour gave a unique perspective on a all of London’s riverside landmarks which meant photos could be taken from angles not seen from the shore. The cruise was a good price (£11.70 at the time this blog was posted) and it lasted just under an hour.
The trip was now drawing to a close and it was time to collect our bags from the hotel and begin the journey to the coach station then on to home.
The trip was fun-filled and we were kept busy. Perhaps a little too busy. I think the next trip will be a little slower paced…
Final thoughts on the Olloclip:
The main thing that has to be kept in mind is no matter how good the lenses are, the photos are still taken on a phone and not a dedicated camera. This means the quality isn’t going to be dedicated camera standard. Hopefully Apple will soon release an update which will allow more manual controls and hopefully add the feature to allow us to shoot RAW photos.
The Olloclips however are fantastic! The build quality is superb. The lens barrel is made from metal and the part that clips to your phone very solid plastic. There are plenty of times when you can’t be bothered to lug around a camera and the associated gear. This is where the Olloclip fits in perfectly! The compact construction means when it’s not in use, you can put it in your pocket and not even realise it’s there.
The lenses cover a wide range of features, some of which I haven’t shown in this blog including the 10x and 15x macro lenses which are accessed by unscrewing either the fisheye or wide angle lens on the 4-in-1. I look forward to experimenting with these in the future and I will keep you updated with my results. However, all the lenses I did try were excellent quality. Just look at the photos, I think they speak for themselves.