The iPhone accessory market has been rapidly growing over the past couple of years. As a result of this explosion in iPhone photography accessories the mobile photographer is now able to push the boundaries of their creativity a lot further. One area of the accessory market that is growing are the number of lens options available from manufacturers like Olloclip, Moment and iPro Lens system.
Recently I have been testing out a newcomer to the lens market from Inmacus who earlier this year launched a range of iPhone lens and filter kits. After some field testing of the Inmacus lens system I’m of the opinion this product is likely to give the competition a run for their money.
Inmacus has over 25 years of experience in the camera industry and they have applied this experience and knowledge into developing a flexible and high quality lens system for mobile photographers.
There are two lens kits in the Inmacus range. The wide angle kit which features a wide angle lens, a polarising lens filter and HD macro lens. Meanwhile the HD Macro Filter Kit includes three lenses, a +5, +8 and +10 macro lens.
The Rapid Grip Lens Mount
The lens and filters attach onto the iPhone using the rapid grip mount. By pressing two buttons on either side of the mount it allows the unit to easily be placed in position over the iPhone camera lens. Releasing these buttons sees the rapid grip mount firmly clamps onto the phone. Once clamped into position it offers a pretty solid grip onto the phone with no unwanted movement.
The rapid grip mount itself is made of a tough plastic material with a protruding metal screw mount into which the lenses screws into.
A couple of downsides to the lens system are that I found the grip mount unit wouldn’t fit onto my iPhone 6 with my trusty Ollocase fitted. I also found changing the lenses when out in the field a little fiddly.
18mm HD Wide Angle Lens Kit
Out of the two lens kits my favourite is the HD Wide Angle Lens Kit which includes an 18mm wide angle lens, a circular polarising (CPL) filter and a macro lens. This combination lens types within one unit, in my opinion, makes this model the most versatile.
All the lenses are housed in a metal body with the lens construction being made of glass rather than plastic. This means the lens provides a much better optical quality which is evident in the picture quality of the photos taken using the lens. Let’s take a look at the different lenses one by one.
18mm HD Wide Lens
First, my favourite, the 18mm HD wide angle lens. The iPhone lens already has a fairly wide angle lens but the Inmacus extends that field of vision much further without the need to move back away from your subject. This is something that is especially useful in landscape photography or large group shot situations.
Below are two examples of the same scene. The first was taken with no lens.
and the second using the 18mm wide angle lens.
One of the main issues I have found when using other lens attachments for the iPhone is that there is a certain amount of lens distortion and blurring towards the edges of the frame. The end result being the centre of a photo is sharp while the outer edges have a slight blurring effect to them.
However, one the first things I noticed about the Inmacus lens was the quality and sharpness of an image taken with the lens. There was no distortion or blurring to the outer edges.
HD Circular Polarizer
The next lens in the wide angle kit is more of a filter than a lens, it is the circular polarizer. In my DSLR days this was anther of my favourite filters to use.
The filter basically reduces glare and reflection by preventing the light from being captured with a certain polarity. With the lens fitted all you have to do is turn the lens until you have achieved the desired look in the scene in front of you. This is perfect when shooting locations that include reflective surfaces such as water, glass, shiny objects or situations when you have blue sky or green grass and want to give it some extra saturation.
Let’s see the lens effects in action. Below are two examples
HD Closeup +5 Filter
Finally, the wide angle lens kit includes a +5 macro lens. Again, like all the other lenses in the range it screws firmly into the rapid grip mount housing and enables you to focus on objects up to a range of a few centimeters. Again, I found the image quality to be just as sharp as the wide angle lenses but due to the the shorter focal length the lens offered a nice depth of field effect. This basically means that objects outside of the area of focus were slightly blurred out.
HD Macro Filter Kit
For those who are into shooting macro photography then the HD Macro Lens Kit will be the kit for you. This macro system includes three macro lenses which all fit together to give an impressive +23 magnification.
+5 HD Closeup Filter
Firstly, there is the +5 macro lens which is the same as the one found in the wide angle kit.
+8 HD Closeup Filter
The second lens in the macro lens kit is the +8 macro lens. As you would expect this lens offers a slightly higher degree of magnification than the +5 allowing you to get even closer to the subject.
+10 HD Macro Filter
The +10 macro lens allows you to get even closer still. When I say close we are now at about 3cm away from our subject. At this level of magnification, the depth of field is very narrow so it is important to lock your focal point carefully and to have a steady hand. I found it useful to mount my phone onto a tripod to ready ensure a steady shot.
+23 Macro Filter Combination
Finally, all the lenses in the macro kit attach together to offer a macro lens with a +23 magnification. You can now shoot as close as 1.5cm from the subject and the results are breath-taking.
When shooting this close to a subject be aware of any shadows you may be casting onto the subject. If possible, I would certainly consider using a tripod, especially if the subject is moving, as the area of focus is going to be extremely narrow.
The lens quality of the Inmacus lenses is very much evident in the macro lenses. The quality of the images captured is superb and the fine detail and texture that is recorded at such short focal lengths is amazing.
Macro photography isn’t something that has previously interested me but the results offered by the Inmacus macro lens kit has wet my appetite to explore this type of photography further.
I have been pleasantly surprised by the quality of both the Inmacus wide angle and macro lens kits. The construction is solid and it offers a firm grip on the phone body. The lens quality and resulting image quality is pin sharp with no distortions or blurring towards the edges. The kits offer the mobile photographer the option of either capturing ultra wide angle landscape vistas or zooming in close to the micro world insects and fauna. The creative options are certainly there for the taking.
The only downsides to the Inmacus is that I found changing the lenses the field a bit fiddly and it would be nice if there was a phone case which allowed the grip mount to be easily slipped into position.
Overall this is a nice piece of kit and one I highly recommend you check out.
How to buy the Inmacus lens kit
If you are interested in investing in an Inmacus lens kit then visit www.Inmacus.com where the wide angle lens kit retails at $59.90 and the HD Macro lens kit retails at $49.90. Unfortunately, the lens kit is only available for iPhone 6, 6 Plus and the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.