The iPhone takes 8-megapixel pictures. For anyone who snapped pictures with an early digital camera, that’s an astounding leap in quality. And yet, forgetting that just a few years ago smartphones didn’t even have a photo option, we want the iPhone camera to do everything short of talk to us. (Or maybe we do want it to talk to us–let’s ask Siri.). Fortunately, a pair of designers has managed to fill in the gaps, with an ingenious clip-on, three-in-one lens accessory that expands the iPhone’s photo repertoire to include fish-eye, wide-angle, and close-up shots.
Patrick O’Neill and Chong Pak, two California-based designers, launched the Olloclip on Kickstarter last summer to a receptive audience–the team exceeded its funding goal of $15,000 by more than 450%–and is now available to the general public (just in time for the holidays!). The beauty of the gizmo is in its ease of use: Slip it onto the corner of your iPhone so that it’s aligned over the camera, and you’re good to go; the camera autofocuses through the Olloclip. And switching among the three lenses is also simple as pie. Let’s say you start with the fish-eye lens (which is labeled as such) but want to move to the wide-angle, just slide the device off and flip it around. Since the macro lens is part of the wide-angle assembly, detail shots are slightly more involved but nothing a 5-year-old couldn’t master.