Mobile Photography is seeing a second renaissance; with the combination of machine learning and better optics, today’s high-end smartphones are able to take amazing photographs that will have most people thinking they don’t need a DSLR in order to make great images. While the camera that’s always with you may often time be good enough for most uses, sometimes not being able to swap lenses to change perspectives is clutch. Recently, Olloclip released their updated line of Pro lenses for most smartphones – giving smartphone photographers a much-needed step up in lens quality. We got a chance to take the new lenses out for a spin, here’s how they stack up.

Olloclip Super-Wide Pro Lens Features (via Olloclip)

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  • Premium glass gives you a wider field of view with less distortion.
  • Use this for group selfies, expansive landscape, and architecture shots.
  • Swap with other Connect Lenses (for iPhone X or Multi-Device Clip).
  • Multi-element coated glass optics deliver premium image quality.
  • Great for video, time-lapse, panoramas and 360° VR photos.
  • Works with all camera apps.

Olloclip Telephoto Pro Lens Features (via Olloclip)

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  • 2x optical zoom gets you closer to your subject and gives a flat depth-of-field.
  • Use this for portraits with a softer background, landscapes that capture far-away subjects, getting closer to the stage at events.
  • Swap with other Connect Lenses (for iPhone X or Multi-Device Clip).
  • Multi-element coated glass optics deliver premium image quality.
  • Great for video, time-lapse, panoramas and 360° VR photos.
  • Works with all camera apps.

Build Quality

The immediate thing that stands out from the new Pro series lenses is their heft and size. Compared to their essential line of lenses (we recently reviewed the iPhone X variants earlier this year), the Super-Wide Pro and Telephoto Pro are built like tanks. The glass optics are significantly larger, which lends credence to the claim that they allow more light in than their Essential counterparts. The lenses are of solid metal construction that’s definitely a welcomed step up from the otherwise plastic housing. In our previous write-up we lamented the plastic feeling of the lenses, the Pro lenses eliminate that entirely with their new design – making them feel every bit on par with their competitors’ offerings.

We paired these lenses with the Multi-Device clip, also a recent addition to Olloclip’s line up. As the name suggests, the Multi-Device clip allows you to pair the lenses with phones other than an iPhone or Galaxy-branded phone by eliminating the need for a specific clip or case. The construction is simple – image a chip bag clip with a slot for the lenses and you have an idea of what you’re working with. For those of you who routinely swap phones, we recommend the Multi-Device clip unless you’re committed to and own one of the devices supported by the dedicated Olloclips.

Image Quality

Since we had a generally good experience with the Essential lenses, we were excited to see how the Pro series stacked up. For much of the review, the clip and lenses were paired to an iPhone 7 Plus and a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and netted mixed results. On the iPhone, the Super-Wide Pro did deliver on giving us a much wider field of view but we found that the weight of the lens would be too much for the clip to stay in the most centered position. This lead to issues with focusing and vignetting on some of our shots – while it can create an artsy effect, more often than not, it’s just a distracting element that can be the difference between getting usable footage or not.

Again, when paired with the iPhone, the Telephoto Pro also suffered from the added weight when paired with the Multi-Device Clip, but we found that it didn’t suffer as much when it came down to autofocusing. Since we used the telephoto lens for portraits and still life primarily, we found that the occasional vignetting wasn’t a hindrance as was the case with the super-wide angle lens. That said, when the stars aligned and everything was perfect, the Telephoto Pro produced some truly sharp and eye-catching images.

It’s not all bad news though, where the combination of lenses and clip truly excelled was when paired to the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. While it required a more intentional pairing because of the camera placement on the Note 9, we found that we had far more consistent results with fewer slips. The clip stayed more securely connected to the camera on the Note 9 making for sharper images whether shooting with the Telephoto lens or the Super-Wide lens.

Conclusion

We’re truly happy to see that Olloclip has finally put out a pro-level lens – not just in design materials but also in the amount of light it allows onto your phone’s sensor. Olloclip made a name for themselves by being the first company dedicated to creating optics for smartphones – the iPhone specifically. After 7 years in the game, they’ve brought a lens that can stand as an equal to other manufacturer’s that are designing lenses for mobile creatives (looking at you Moment). We’re grading the Pro lenses on a curve mostly because there are specific mounts for the iPhone 7 Plus (our primary testing device) which may or may not have produced better results and on the strength of the Multi-Device clip’s performance with the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. We’re happy to see the lenses becoming available for Android devices though we hope that version 2 includes some native support for some flagship Android Devices including the Pixel and the various Galaxy phone variants.

You can get the lenses for $99 without a clip and $120 with either an iPhone or Multi-Device Clip direct from Olloclip.