The camera sensor in the iPhone 4/4S always surprises with its quality. I’ve completely ditched my point and shoot, in favour of an iPhone for everything from snapshots to short interviews. The only real problem, is its poor digital zoom and difficulty handling depth of field; well, until I discovered these accessories and apps. Whether you want to capture macro, wide, fisheye, or telephoto, or simply want a stable platform, there are tools out there which allow your iPhone to become the full camera you’ve always wanted.
You’ll absolutely love Oloclip; it’ll live in the same pocket as your phone, and they’ll hardly ever be parted. Oloclip is a complete lens set, built into one enclosure. You get fisheye, wide and macro lenses, all of which produce truly impressive photos, even if the fisheye lens does stretch the image slightly (as all fisheye lenses do). Arguably, Oloclip’s best feature is that you can just slip it on or off at a seconds notice; unlike complicated cases and fiddly lenses with catches, you’ll hardly notice the process. The lens set comes with a felt bag, which is also a perfect lens cleaner, preventing dust entering between the lenses and blurring your shots.
2. Vtec 12x Telephoto Lens
Dealing with the iPhone’s digital zoom is one of the major barriers between having a fully featured camera or a camera-phone. Vtec’s 12x Telephoto Lens handles zoom admirably, producing great photos on iPhone 4 and amazing photos on iPhone 4S. You’ll really feel as though this lens is built to last, and it can certainly withstand a few bumps and bashes. Its aluminium shell and study support case may be rugged, but they are a little complicated to assemble (though you are unlikely to need to rapidly attach it, unlike the Oloclip). This lens comes with a free tripod (it’s not the best tripod in the world, but it is free) which might be useful, considering that the lens is quite heavy. Such weight is to be expected with a lens of such depth, it takes the standard iPhone depth of 35mm all the way up to 352.8mm, a real improvement compared to the standard lens, and brilliant for distance shots.
3. Gorillapod & Glif+
I can understand why you’d consider a tripod for an iPhone to be just another thing to carry around, but a Gorillapod is so much more than ‘just a tripod’. If you haven’t used a Gorillapod before, then you’re in for a surprise, a Gorillapod will give you a stable surface pretty much anywhere and attach to anything. Gorillapod uses dozens of ball and socket joints, enabling it to fit pretty much anywhere (mine is currently gripping onto the door handle quite happily). I’ve used my Gorillapod everywhere; from the railing which overhangs The Empire State Building to holes in rocks in the more mountainous areas of Wales, and it is yet to let me down, nor let my iPhone plummet to its death. In order to attach the iPhone to the Gorillapod I whole-heartedly recommend the Glif+, not only is it an easy way to connect your iPhone to the tripod (they just screw into one another), but it can also double as a kickstand or provide extra support when standing. Together Gorillapod & Glif+ really are brilliant ways to keep your iPhone safe and get otherwise impossible shots.
1. Camera Plus Pro
At this point, Camera Plus Pro has pretty much become my go-to photo/video app. In addition to standard capture, you’ll find; filters, stabilisation, self-timer, metatagging, white balance and focus locks, as well as a myriad of other features. Personally I can’t get enough of ‘Soft Flash’ a feature which lights the flash slightly earlier than that of the standard Camera app, making the photo well exposed, without being blown out. For £1.49 it does everything you could want from an iPhone photo/video capture app.
If you use Camera Plus Pro, then its perfect companion is Photogene2. For just 69p you’ll find all the commonly used features of Photoshop Express, including extremely detailed colour and tone adjustment, as well as a fairly complete retouching toolset. Though for professional editors; the ability to make all changes non-destructively and still preserve great quality originals will be indispensable. When you’ve finished editing, Photogene also has a simple but effective collage maker with boarders and overlaid text, which can be uploaded to an array of social networking sites.
…and one for luck
Making stop-motion films may not be a common day-to-day task for your iPhone camera, but Frameographer is a fun little tool to make stop-motion movies quickly and really enjoyably. In a past life I was studying Claymation, (stop-motion animation in Plasticine) if this great little app had been around then… well it would have saved me days. Whether you just want an app to play around with for a couple of hours, or want to introduce a loved-one or family member to stop-motion animation, then Frameographer is a great place to start.