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Olloclip's iPhone telephoto lens gets you a little closer

The maker of the quick-connect three-in-one lens for the iPhone adds a 2x telephoto and circular polarizer lenses to its lineup.

Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials
  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
Joshua Goldman
2 min read


There are plenty of add-on lenses for the iPhone's camera. But for Olloclip, its lenses are all about high-quality optics and ease of use.

The company started from a Kickstarter project a couple years ago with its three-in-one lens that combines wide-angle, macro, and fish-eye lenses into one, tiny slide-on accessory. And now it's back again to give iPhone-ographers a little extra focal length and truer colors.

The Olloclip Telephoto is like the original Olloclip in that both sides of the device have lenses on them. This time around, one side is a 2x telephoto lens, while the other has a circular polarizer lens.

Rafael Jimenez

The 2x tele gives you a narrower field of view, taking the iPhone 5's 33mm focal length to 66mm (35mm equivalent). That's not much compared to even an entry-level point-and-shoot. However, if you simply can't get physically closer to your subject, this 2x telephoto will do the trick.

It also gives you a better focal length for portraits so you can get tighter shots of your subjects without getting in their faces. Also, the longer focal length will get you a slightly more out-of-focus background.

Slide the telephoto off and flip it over and you have a circular polarizer lens (CPL) that reduces reflections and blocks light coming in from different angles, resulting in truer colors. The CPL can be used with the iPhone's lens alone or removed and put on the telephoto lens (see the examples at the end of this post). You can also use the CPL on the fish-eye and wide-angle lenses on the original Olloclip.

The lenses are made from coated precision-ground high-quality glass with the shell constructed of lightweight aluminum. Though not quite as small as the first Olloclip, it's still tiny and easily fits in a pocket or bag.

The lens easily slides on and off, too, so you can just slip it on, shoot, and stash it again. However, both Olloclip lenses only fit onto the bare iPhone. This means you need to remove your case whenever you want to attach the lenses, buy Olloclip's Quick-Flip polycarbonate case, or use no case at all.

The Olloclip case is nice since it gives you the option to use a tripod and has a cold shoe for adding accessories like an LED panel light, but is priced at a somewhat hard-to-swallow $49.99. Factor in the telephoto lens' $99 price and it's quite the investment to improve the creative photo and video options for your iPhone. Still, if it's your primary camera, it might just be worth it, and Olloclip does offer a bundle with the original Olloclip and the case that brings the price down $20.

The Olloclip Telephoto will be available in July on Olloclip's site and in Apple stores for the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, and fourth- and fifth-generation iPod Touch. It will be in Best Buy stores in August, as well.

From top to bottom: iPhone 5 only, iPhone 5 with 2x telephoto lens, and iPhone 5 with telephoto lens and CPL. Rafael Jimenez