Review: ExoLens® PRO with Optics by ZEISS

I must confess that when I was invited to be a part of an exclusive group of photographers from India to try my hands at the brand new ExoLens® PRO with Optics by ZEISS, I was excited but at the same time also apprehensive. Apart from using a DSLR during my travels, I have been a keen mobile photographer all along, and have always followed the trends in innovation as well. I was excited because these were ZEISS Optics, which implies that they are certainly extraordinary, but I was also uncertain about the impact on quality with an add-on lens on an already excellent iPhone lens. 

Review ExoLens PRO ZEISS india
ExoLens PRO in action

Review ExoLens PRO ZEISS india
My favourite of the set - wide lens


Over the last one month of my travels, I used the lens set extensively anywhere and everywhere I could! I used it first in Mumbai, then in Pune, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. Its magic actually became apparent, when I used it for clicking the city - the pictures came out perfect whether I used the lens in landscape or the portrait mode. 

So what's my verdict?

"I absolutely love them, especially the wide angle lens!"

What did I use?

I used two different ExoLens - the wide angle and the macro. If you follow my pictures, macro isn't exactly my style of photography, but I was anyway keen to try it out. I used my iPhone 7 Plus for all pictures. 

Review ExoLens PRO ZEISS india
My lens kit :)

Technical Specs for the lens

Wide-angle Lens

Designed to capture large scenery without vignetting
The ExoLens® with Optics by ZEISS Mutar™ 0.6x Asph T* Wide- Angle lens features a modern aspherical design, is virtually free of distortion and chromatic aberration, has exceptional edge-to-edge contrast and a picture quality unmatched by any other add-on iPhone® lenses in the world.

Macro-zoom Lens

Designed to capture astonishing details not visible to the naked eye
The macro lens is the first and only mobile lens to offer a continuous focus adjustment function giving a 40-80mm equivalent to allow users to fill the frame with subjects with diameters between 1.2 and 4.7 inches (3 and 12 cm). An optionally attachable and semi-transparent diffuser serves as a spacer, allowing light to shine evenly on the object and enables convenient focusing. The ExoLens® with Optics by ZEISS Vario-Proxar™ 40-80 T* Macro- Zoom lens is virtually free of distortion and chromatic aberration, has exceptional edge-to-edge contrast and a picture quality unmatched by any other iPhone® lens in the world.

What's great about ZEISS ExoLens?

So let's try and understand why they are so good.

No loss of quality

This was my number one apprehension when I started using the lens, but was pleasantly surprised by nil quality drop with the add-on lens. In fact I am yet to see any visually significant difference in the quality of image with or without the lens. 

Yes, there is some distortion around the edges, but that happens with many wide angle lens. I use it to my advantage actually, especially for architectural shots - the lens gives a feeling of grandness to the frame.

Review ExoLens PRO ZEISS india
ExoLens Pro in action at Gadisar Lake in Rajasthan


Pro tip: This is not a lens if you want to click a group picture, as the distortion can deform people on the edges of the frame. Use the telephoto lens (2x optical zoom) for all iPhones or the portrait mode if you use an iPhone 7 Plus.

Really wide view

With an equivalent focal length of 18mm, the view is deliciously wide and you will be surprised how much can fit into the frame with these lens. I actually went berserk using the lens at Patwaon ki Haveli in Jaisalmer purely for this reason and came back really happy with the results. 

Review ExoLens PRO ZEISS india
Capturing wide views at Suryagarh, Jaisalmer

Easy to use

The lens is rather easy to use - all you need to do is slide it on your phone. Actually there are two parts to the product - the lens and the bracket which goes on the iPhone. Since I was primarily using only one lens (wide angle), I kept it screwed on the bracket all the time and simply slid it on when there was a need to click.

Review ExoLens PRO ZEISS india
Capturing monsoon clouds in Maharashtra


Pro tip: You can't use the lens with your mobile case/ cover and need to take it off. It wasn't a problem for me, but it's good to keep it in mind. 

General tips for using add-on iPhone lens

Handling: Handle them like you would handle a camera lens - with love and lots of care. You can't keep them on your mobile always, so make sure you handle it well.

Storage: Storage is important - I keep my lens out of their box and inside a small box in my camera bag to keep it safe.

Cleaning: You need to keep both the front and the back covers when you store them and that helps in keeping them clean and tidy too. 

Cost - ZEISS ExoLens

ExoLens® PRO with Optics by ZEISS Wide-Angle Lens - Rs 17,950
ExoLens® PRO with Optics by ZEISS Telephoto Lens - Rs 19,950
ExoLens® PRO with Optics by ZEISS Macro Lens - Rs 17,950
ExoLens® PRO with Optics by ZEISS  iPhone 7 / 6 / 6S / 6 PLUS / 6S PLUS EDGE BRACKET - Rs 5,950

*MRP (inclusive of all taxes & in Indian Rupees). MRP (Rs.) is for one unit of product.  

Where can you buy them?

For authorized dealers: log on ZEISS ExoLens
More details here.

Gallery of shots
Before I end, here's a collection of some of my favourite shots using the ExoLens PRO. Enjoy :)

review shots exolens pro zeiss india
Gadisar Lake, Jaisalmer

review shots exolens pro zeiss india
Mumbai

review shots exolens pro zeiss india
Guards of Suryagarh

review shots exolens pro zeiss india
Pokhran

review shots exolens pro zeiss india
Jaisalmer fort

review shots exolens pro zeiss india
Morning in Jaisalmer

review shots exolens pro zeiss india
Another morning shot at Gadisar lake, Rajasthan


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Disclaimer: The ExoLens Pro used for taking the pictures were provided by ZEISS. Needless to mention all views are unbiased and based on my own personal experiences with the product.

Comments

  1. Seems very cool. Especially for people who use their phone as the main source of photography. Though I will say I wished you included shots taken with and without the lens so that we can comapre how wide it really goes. Will look it up on the net though. Cool review Sid.

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