Yesterday the weather was gracious again and let the sun shine. I immediately used the time to test a couple of clip-on lenses that the Central Hessian company inLine made available to me. In detail, there are these three lenses:
- Ultra wide angle and macro (0,39x wide angle and 6x macro)
- Macro HD (2,8x magnification)
- Telephoto lens (3x magnification)
This allows the range of use of the internal iPhone camera to be expanded significantly, as objects that are much closer than usual to the camera lens can be focused or objects can be zoomed in without using the software zoom.
Chapter in this post:
- 1 Workmanship and quality of the inLine lenses
- 2 Compatibility with the iPhone 7 Plus
- 3 Not recommended for use with the iPhone 7 Plus
- 4 Photo quality of the lenses
- 5 The inLine smartphone lenses in detail with sample photos
- 6 0,39x ultra wide-angle or 6x macro lens
- 7 sample photos ultra wide angle lens
- 8 3x telephoto lens
- 9 sample photos telephoto lens
- 10 2,8x macro HD lens
- 11 sample photos HD Macro Lens
- 12 Conclusion on the inLine lenses
- 13 Untested: fisheye lens and polarization filter
- 14 Similar posts
Workmanship and quality of the inLine lenses
All lenses are made of aluminum and feature "coated" lenses. This is a coating on the glass that is supposed to prevent reflections, for example. Each lens comes with a plastic clip in the packaging that allows it to be attached to the iPhone (and other smartphones). The lenses can also be unscrewed from the clip for safe transport and provided with dust protection covers so that the glass surfaces cannot be damaged.
The advantage of the clip is that there is no metal and the use of a silicone pad (the red part in the photo) because this protects the surface of the iPhone and the display from scratches. Unfortunately, a well-known manufacturer, where such a lens set costs well over 100 EUR, made it completely out of metal, which led to angry customers who scratched their iPhone – the “Jet Black” color is particularly strong here endangered. So: inLine has done everything right in this regard!
The processing of the lenses and the clip is very good from my point of view. The plastic clip is also so robust that you don't have to worry that something will break off. And since everything is in black, the whole thing also looks classy.
The supplied dust covers are for both sides of the lens and protect them so well that you can easily transport them all together in a bag or box.
Compatibility with the iPhone 7 Plus
My current iPhone is the iPhone 7 Plus, which has two camera lenses. The downside is that you no longer have that practical lens knob that sticks out on the iPhone 6 and 7, but rather a long knob that encloses both lenses. This makes it difficult to attach the snap-on lenses, which fit easily on the “small” iPhone 7, to the iPhone 7 Plus.
How well it works depends on how skillful you are at centering the lens in question over the iPhone lens. Usually you get it somehow, but with the ultra-wide angle from inLine I just couldn't manage to prevent the photos from getting black vignetting at some corners. But everything went great on my iPhone 6. There you can see at a glance whether the lens is correctly centered over the lens and you can take photos quickly without having to fumble with the lens for a long time (see photo above).
Not recommended for use with the iPhone 7 Plus
In addition to the fiddling mentioned above that you have when adjusting the lenses on the iPhone 7 Plus, there is also the fact that you simply cannot take sharp photos with the ultra-wide angle and the iPhone 7 Plus, for example. I tried it several times and pushed the lens back and forth, but what came out was always at most in a small area in the middle sharp and otherwise out of focus. So my recommendation would be to use the clip-on lenses for the iPhone models with a single lens, but not with the iPhone 7 Plus, which has two lens knobs.
Photo quality of the lenses
When it comes to quality, don't forget: We're talking about small lenses that you clip onto a smartphone. And then a hobby snapper like me comes along and talks about “photo quality”. :D Just keep in mind that I like to take photos in my free time and have tried out a few clip-on lenses. It should be clear to everyone that the entire apparatus cannot be compared to a DSLR with “real” lenses. But there is no question that you can still take great pictures with the small lenses!
The photos I was able to take in my garden were all quite impressive. In particular, the visual impact that they have compared to the photos with the normal iPhone lens is enormous.
The inLine smartphone lenses in detail with sample photos
As mentioned above, inLine provided me with three different lenses. I would like to briefly explain which areas of application these have and how this looks on the basis of photos in comparison to normal iPhone photos. I took all the photos with the iPhone 6 (not Plus) and didn't do any post-processing either. Only the pixel dimensions of the photos were calculated small, otherwise the amount of data would have been too large.
0,39x ultra wide angle or 6x macro lens
With this lens you can take wide-angle shots, for example to get “more” on the photo in cramped conditions, as well as macro shots with 6x magnification. I've tried both and I think they work really well. With the wide-angle shots, however, you should make sure that the horizon runs roughly in the middle of the picture, otherwise it gets a more or less strong curvature, which usually looks a bit strange.
Unfortunately, the blurriness, which increases more and more towards the edge, is also typical of such ultra-wide-angle lenses. You simply have to accept this effect with small smartphone lenses. If you get close enough to an object, it always turns out a little less or looks almost intentional. Here in the example with the “Construction trailer and lake” photo I find it too clear, while the snowdrops look very nice with the same lens (earlier in the post). For macro shots, however, the macro HD lens is better suited because it shows more sharpness of detail and also a good one Depth of field having.
Sample photos ultra wide angle lens
3x telephoto lens
The “3x Telephoto Lens” is to be used for zoom shots at a distance of about 0,5 m or more. If you get closer, the camera cannot focus on anything. However, for longer distances it is very good! Since the iPhone 6 and 7 (without Plus) do not yet have a separate 2x zoom lens built in, the 3x telephoto from inLine is a good addition to these smartphones. You don't need it as much for the iPhone 7 Plus, since an optical 2x zoom is already built in. Nevertheless, here are two example photos with the iPhone 6 “normal” and one with the inLine Tele.
Example photos telephoto lens
2,8x Macro HD lens
My favorite lens is definitely the “2.8x HD Macro” from inLine. The magnification is good and with sufficient lighting it also convinces with the good depth of field, which is rather the exception with these small smartphone lenses.
Focusing works less by tapping the spot on the display (as is usually done on a smartphone) than by varying the distance to the object. At about 2 to 4 cm away, the photo becomes sharp and then you release the shutter.
If you compare the "normal" iPhone 6 photos with those that were taken with the macro HD lens, you can see how large the objects can actually be photographed. The factor 2,8 is not that high, but you can get much closer and the photos are still sharp. This also makes a big difference in terms of the “overall” magnification factor.
Sample photos HD Macro Lens
Conclusion on the inLine lenses
Personally, I wouldn't need all three lenses, because the ultra-wide angle has too little edge sharpness and I would use the 3x zoom too seldom. The Macro-HD, on the other hand, completely convinced me. But this is a personal matter and can be different for everyone. I just like macro photography and that's why I really enjoy using these lenses.
Overall, the inLine lenses can be recommended. The processing quality is on a high level and the optics of the lenses are also on a good level. In any case, I can't fault the macro shots. The colors in particular are beautifully strong but still realistic with all lenses.
Only the incompatibility with the iPhone 7 Plus is a shame. But the other manufacturers also have nothing to offer, so that you currently have no alternative to choose from anyway.
If you are interested in inLine smartphone lenses, you will find them all here in the overview.
Untested: fisheye lens and polarizing filter
Untested by me, but still interesting, perhaps these two lenses or filters from inLine:
Jens has been running the blog since 2012. He acts as Sir Apfelot for his readers and helps them with technical problems. In his spare time he rides electric unicycles, takes photos (preferably with the iPhone, of course), climbs around in the Hessian mountains or hikes with the family. His articles deal with Apple products, news from the world of drones or solutions to current bugs.
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