The Olloclip Filmer’s Kit
is an iPhone photography kit that includes a handheld passive stabilizer and five lenses. Designed for the iPhone 7/8/Plus models, this kit is worthy of your consideration if you’re looking to get more out of your iPhone’s camera. Have a look at our hands-on video walkthrough for more details.
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- Works with regular and Plus iPhone 8-era models
- Pivot articulating mobile video grip for passive stabilization
- Universal clamp
- Cold Shoe mount for lights and accessories
- 1/4″-20 thread for tripod mounting
- Go Pro mount
- Clip and blanking base for easy lens attachment
- Fisheye lens
- 15x macro lens
- Super-wide lens
- Ultra-wide lens
- Telephoto lens
- Incase carrying case & cleaning cloth
- Pendant tripod stand
- Work with both front and rear facing iPhone cameras
- Works with iPhone 7/8 Plus telephoto lens
Note:The Olloclip Filmer’s Kit is for iPhone 8-era designs, meaning it’s not compatible with the iPhone X. Olloclip has announced an in-the-works iPhone X lens system
, but it’s yet to be released.
I’ve long aspired to use my iPhone as a go-to video or photo camera, but I almost always find myself reverting to my standalone cameras due to their sheer versatility. Lens attachments can go a long way towards making the iPhone a more flexible photo and video machine, but having a full on kit, with several lenses, a handheld stabilizer, and a travel case, makes such a premise more appealing.
The Olloclip Filmer’s Kit is a great starting point for those who are serious about iPhone photography and videography. Keep in mind that there are still notable limitations when it comes to capturing photos and videos with a smartphone — for instance, you’re still working with a fixed aperture — but having interchangeable lenses adds some much-needed versatility to the equation.
Olloclip’s Filmer’s Kit comes with the company’s Pivot hand-held passive stabilizer. It features a pistol-grip articulating design that comes with a universal clamp on the end to easily secure your iPhone. The grip helps when it comes to framing shots and achieving added stabilization, but temper your expectations accordingly. You’ll still need to be methodical when it comes to movement, and hand shake will still be noticeable when you’re not especially careful. If you’re looking for an active stabilizing solution, then something like the DJI Osmo Mobile 2
, which Ben reviewed back in February
, is a solid solution.
I do, however, appreciate the Pivot’s sheer versatility. The universal clamp is attached via a 1/4″-20 mount, which means that it can be easily placed on a tripod for added stabilization. The clamp also features a cold shoe mount on top for adding additional accessories such as lights.
The extras are nice, but the real appeal of the Filmer’s Kit is the sheer amount of lenses included. There are five lenses in all, including a fisheye, super-wide and 15x macro lens.
The fisheye and macro lenses are combined, and removing the fisheye lens attachment reveals the macro lens. The macro lens is a handy tool for getting super close to a subject, bringing out intimate details that aren’t easily discernible with the naked eye. The fisheye lens provides users with impressive near-180-degree coverage, which is great for circumstances when you want to capture a large swath of your surrounding environment at once.
The super-wide lens is probably what you’ll use most — as it provides a 120-degree field of view thanks to its 4-element lens. It’s a great way to intake more scenery without being subject to the type of distortion that’s present in the ultra-wide and fisheye lenses. The super-wide lens is also great for offsetting the crop that occurs when switching to video mode on the iPhone, making it a helpful tool for hand-held vloggers.
The remaining two lenses — the ultra-wide and telephoto — make up the “active” portion of the lens set. The ultra-wide is useful for capturing scenery, but its 155-degree field of view gives it more of a fisheye look. The telephoto lens provides users with an additional 2x of optical zoom. When combining the telephoto lens attachment with the telephoto lens on the iPhone, you’ll definitely want to use a tripod to avoid shake, as telephoto OIS is currently an iPhone X exclusive.
Build quality and usage
Most of the components included in the Filmer’s Kit are comprised of plastic. Some parts, such as the lens housings, are made up of dense high quality plastic, which should be able to endure a measure of abuse. Other components, like the Pivot handheld stabilizer, feature less dense plastic that doesn’t feel as nice to the touch, and doesn’t feel like it’ll stand up well to repeated drops.
The lens clip housings are also comprised of plastic, which makes sense considering that they have to be flexible to fit over the iPhone. Each lens features a spring-loaded mechanism that allows it to snap into place on the lens clip housing.
Note that you’ll need to remove each clip when replacing lenses, as the portion of the lens housing that fits over the iPhone’s protruding camera is what is used to secure the lens clip in place. In other words, you can’t just keep the clip housing on the iPhone and swap lenses in and out, you’ll need to first remove the entire housing, swap the lenses, and replace the housing on the iPhone.
It’s also worth noting that the lens clips probably won’t work with most cases. I use a standard thin case on my iPhone 7 Plus, but I was forced to remove it in order to use the Olloclip. Your mileage may vary in this regard, but expect to have to remove your case.
For Plus model iPhones with dual camera modules, users have the option of rotating the lens 180-degrees to attach it to the standard wide angle lens, or to the 2x telephoto lens. Of course, creative needs may differ, but I generally recommend sticking to the wide angle lens, as the telephoto lacks built-in stabilization, and the minimum focusing distance is too great for achieving up close shots with that buttery soft blurry background.
The front-facing FaceTime camera can also be used with the Olloclip attachments. In fact, you can connect both front and rear lenses simultaneously due to the dual lens design of the clip housing that fits over your iPhone. Any lens that you can use on the rear camera can be likewise used with the front facing camera.
Creativity is a must
Acquiring the Olloclip Filmer’s Kit won’t automatically up the quality of your photos and videos. It takes a creative mindset and an understanding on the kit’s limitations to truly get the most out of it. But if wielded properly, the Olloclip Filmer’s Kit can be a powerful tool in any iPhone photographer or videographer’s arsenal.
All of the lenses in the Filmer’s Kit are useful to varying degrees. The macro lens is great for super close photos and videos of an object’s fine details, while the wide angle attachments are great for taking in scenery or a landscape. The telephoto lens is good way to add “zoom” to your shot when you can’t get in close. You also gain stabilized telephoto access when pairing it with the iPhone’s wide angle lens. The fisheye lens will have special use cases, but is one of those important tools that you either have or you don’t.
For videographers in particular, you’ll want to use apps that afford you more manual control. For example, Filmic Pro
, a video-oriented app thatI highly recommend, allows users to target the specific lens — telephoto or wide angle — that you’d like to use on Plus model iPhones. For still photo shooters, I recommend Halide
as my go-to camera app of choice.
But the usefulness of the Filmer’s Kit goes beyond its lenses. The Pivot stabilizer, thanks to its versatility is especially useful, allowing your iPhone to be quickly paired with a tripod or monopod. And the case itself, thanks to Olloclip’s partnership with Incase, ensures that all of your tools stay organized and together — instrumental when you’re about to work on a project and need quick access to your lenses.
All of that said, the Olloclip isn’t some magic tool that will turn you into a great photographer or videographer. It definitely takes a measure of creativity and know-how. The build quality, as well, could have been better, especially when it comes to the stabilizer tools. But overall, the Olloclip Filmer’s Kit is something that’s easy to recommend to serious iPhone photographers or videographers who are looking to invest in their craft.
What are your thoughts on the $199 Olloclip Filmer’s Kit? Do you use any similar tools in your photo and video workflow? Be sure to watch our hands-on video walkthrough embedded above for additional details.