My friend, Jessica Near (Opposite of Far) suggested that I check out the website Photojojo. We were talking about classic toy cameras (Holgas and Dianas). In the early 90s I spent a lot of time shooting with Holgas — little plastic medium format cameras. Due to bad plastic lenses and light leaks these cameras produce interesting and funky effects. Like many folks I’ve not had a dark room set up in years and have kind of drifted away from these kinds of things.
Jessica told me that Photojojo sold a Diana lens adapted for my Canon Rebel. took a look at the site and found quite a few interesting camera and photography toys and gadgets.
I made a purchase. I didn’t expect to write about it here. In fact, I half thought that It would be a piece of junk and I would be too embarrassed to admit my purchase.
In fact the opposite is true. I’m so sold on this gadget that I want to shout its praises from the rootops! (With two minor caveats.)
Long before I purchased my iPhone I heard folks praise its wonderful built-in camera. A recent blog reported prefessional photographers shooting weddings with their phones. I was hoping that this camera would be so good I wouldn’t have to carry other cameras around. I wasn’t too disappointed, but the truth is that it is very difficult, nigh near impossible, to build a decent camera as thin as an iPhone. There just isn’t enough room to really put together a decent lens. I found the iPhone camera to be about what I expected.
I installed the Camera+ ap. This ap makes the iPhone camera more camera-like. The user has some control over focus, white balance and other camera-like concerns. In addition Camera+ allows cropping, brightness and contrast adjustments, frames and even film and camera effect a la Hipstamatic. It also includes a 6x digital zoom, but we all know what a joke digital zooms can be. I’ve found it pretty useless until now.
The iPhone Telephoto lens changes the game.
This 8x telephoto screws to a special iPhone case (included). Also included is an awesome iPhone tripod that I’ve found myself using to watch movies, listen to itunes, etc.
The proof is in the pictures. Shot one is a regular iPhone shot. The second is with the 8x telephoto attached. The third is with the telephoto and the 6x digital zoom (in Camera+). That’s 48x right?
There are two concerns:
1) The tripod has a ball head (Very good!)The tripod clamps to the phone with a very strong spring (Good). The spring mount screws into the tripod with a standard thread. That means the mount can be used on other tripods. (Good, again) The nut in the mount — that attaches the mount to the tripod — is friction fit and pulls right out. I almost lost my phone into a bathtub over this (Don’t ask). A spot of Super Glue fixed this.
2) I used to shoot with an ancient wood and brass view camera. It was hard to focus in bright light so — like the guy in the cartoons — I used a black cloth over my head to see the screen. Same problem here. In bright sunlight focusing is really, really, hard. I may have to improvise some sort of shade cloth.
In short, I’m kind of blown away by this toy (That’s all I expected it to be.) If that kingfisher hadn’t flown this morning I’m convinced I would have gotten a decent bird shot.
I paid $35. I thought I’d be embarrassed to report this, but nope — go try one out yourself.