I’ve played with about a dozen add on lenses for the iPhone. Some have been good, a few great but none can come close to the design, functionality and optics of the iPro Lens by Schneider Optics iPro S2 Kit For iPhone 5. iPro is a Schneider Optics product. For some of you, that will be enough and you can stop reading now. Schneider optics are legendary, and the fact that they are behind this product speaks volumes.
This kit includes:
Series 2 Case for iPhone 5 (Very sturdy and offers good protection)
Macro, Wide Angle & Tele Lenses (Very sharp and a huge improvement over apps that mimic these focal lengths)
3-Section Series 2 Combi Handle (Doubles as storage)
It’s easy to install, brilliantly designed and optically improves the the iPhone camera’s capabilities
I like that the hand attaches to either side of the case and that the lenses in this particular kit actually store inside the handle. So whether you want to go ultra wide or 2x telephoto or macro, you’ve got all the lenses you need. The lenses simply screw on to the case securely via an integrated bayonet mount, but are easy to take on and off.
You should note that using the iPro lens system will make the iPhone’s built-in flash obsolete because the lenses block the flash. This is due to Apple’s decision to mount the flash so close to the lens. Hopefully in the future, they will separate the two.
There is an included lens cap so which ever lens you have mounted to the iPhone is protected at all times. I assume that this lens cap will get lost so I am ordering some additional lens caps. They are inexpensive. There are other accessories including an inexpensive tripod mount that lets you mount the iPro handle to a tripod for ultimate stability.
Schneider has just started shipping a fisheye lens for this system. It is $75 and a bit spendy for a smart phone camera system at $75. It does a reasonably good job in average to low light. It works better in good to great light. The photo below was made with the fisheye in okay light. It is in focus and yes there are some artifacts. This is after all attached to a smart phone. But overall I am happy with the quality. In the mean time, if you order the kit you get everything you need to get started, but there are a few extras I recommend ordering along with the kit.
I ordered three iPro Lens caps at $4 each so I could have one for each lens plus a spare. I ordered an extra iPro 1/4-20 tripod adapter ($6) so I could mount the Combi handle to a tripod for more stability. And I ordered an additional iPro Combi Handle Series 2 ($21) so I could have one handle as storage and one as a functioning unit to stabilize the system.
Schneider optics are not inexpensive. You can absolutely buy similar products for less money that will accomplish similar things, but not as easily, elegantly or optically beautiful.
The iPro Series 2 Trio Kit makes the iPhone into a serious contender when put up against any points and shoot and allows serious image makers to make serious images with the device they are most likely to have with them at all times, i.e. their phone.