Photography is easily one of the most underrated art forms known to man — or at least the platform that is the most taken for granted. Present to folks a high-definition camera nestled in their cell phones and a medium where they could share makeshift photos with their friends and voila, you have a “photographer.” Photo composition at this point still means very little to the majority of users, but somewhere down the line the introduction of refined photo editing apps found itself in the appropriate hands and “mobile photography” has begun to take a broader step forward. Said mobile cameras are being taken seriously as photographic tools as of late and companies like Olloclip are taking note and honing in on the creative spectrum of mobile photography that once took a backseat in the Instagram-era of instantaneous visual flexin’ (ie. Sacramento Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins catching the rook Nik Stauskas trying to stunt hooard on the ‘gram.) Olloclip’s latest 4-in-1 lens for various phones such as the iPhone 5s and Samsung Galaxy are just one of many tools that adds playful effects to photos. We got a firsthand try using the iPhone 5s version at the Super Street x Olloclip collaborative event, Shutter Speed, where celebrated photographers like Estevan Oriol, Magnus Walker, Ryan Tuerck and more took their hand at mobile photography and used the Olloclip lens to shoot some of the sexiest whips to ride LA’s streets.
As the name suggests, the Olloclip 4-in-1 posses just that: four micro lenses all attached on a singular mount that makes for switching out virtually effortless. Complete with a fisheye, wide angle and two macros lenses — one at 10x and one at 15x — the 4-in-1 wins big in providing a nice variety of effects in a convenient package that is suitable for mobile photographers.
Now the lenses themselves are a different story.
My favorite bar none was the fish-eye: great for playful framing, a change in photo perspective and when applied applicably, a super fun means of blowing up subjects out of proportion. The only gripe: dim lighting is its worst enemy. The idea for the fish-eye is to set a tone of whimsical disproportion, sending anything surrounding the main subject on a warp that can add to the whole playful idea going on. But in dim lighting, the entire image can get muddled and grainy, which takes away from the visuals.
The wide angle was helpful in the way that what the eye sees and what the camera can actually capture are two very different things. A lot of times, when I’ll see something that catches my eye and I want to take a photo of it, the image I have in my head doesn’t necessarily translate well to a camera (that plus I’m still inept at taking photos.) That concept is magnified to a great extent on a camera phone, and this is where the wide angle lens alleviates that. Not having to put a great deal of distance between the camera and the object just to capture it in its entirety was never a huge inconvenience until the emergence of Instagram, and for that, wide angle lens, we’re so glad to have you around.
The macro lenses were a bit confusing: the simple instructions were to unscrew either the fish-eye or the wide angle lens — depending on which you were using — and voila: microscopic imaging at your disposal. After some advice, I found that the macros are tooo strong (cue Gerry Bertier) and you have to really zoom in on an object because that’s where the lenses strengths lie: in grabbing the really, really up close and personal details of an object. The lens was great at capturing scratch marks in the paint, the grain in the car’s emblem, the etchings in the metal plates — but in all honesty, I’d have to question why I myself would want to take photos at this close of a proximity. But I’m sure somewhere down the line I’ll find an appreciation for such after playing around with it more.
Overall, the Olloclip 4-in-1 lens is a fantastic tool that might take some time to learn how to work and master its full potential, but consider that feat more of a positive than a negative. Tools like these should push its users to elevate their craft, and in this case, adding an Olloclip to the arsenal adds for supreme photo stuntin’, whether it’s strictly for Instagram or not.