Zeiss Wide-Angle 'ExoLens' for iPhone

Discussion in 'Other Brands' started by dalethorn, Jun 16, 2016.

  1. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    Here are my first 2 images with the new Zeiss wide-angle 'ExoLens' for iPhones, in my case the iPhone 6s-plus. This lens widens the iPhone's ~29 mm effective view to ~17.5 mm. Using the Cortex camera app gives me slightly more detail with its 27 mp image than what the iPhone can provide with its default 12 mp image.

    Foliage isn't too great with the iPhone in any case, but the amazing thing about the ExoLens is the relative sharpness edge to edge. The ExoLens is serious glass, weighing nearly as much as the big iPhone. For comparison, the cheaper Olloclip lens for iPhones is very distorted and blurry toward the edges.

    iPhone 6s-plus, Zeiss ExoLens, Cortex Camera App, daylight exposure.

    iPhone 6s-plus, Zeiss ExoLens, Cortex Camera App, daylight exposure.
    • Like Like x 3
  2. bartjeej

    bartjeej Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    I love any development that gets me quality wide angle in a small package. Interesting stuff! If only I liked iPhones better...
  3. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    I'm looking at getting the Nikon DL 18-50, which should have (at the wide end) the same angle of view as this iPhone lens. The Nikon would be lots easier to operate of course, and have higher image quality. The trick for me is "seeing" where the wide view enhances the image, rather than just bringing in more detail where the objects in the image look worse because the resolution is spread thinner. A year or two ago I had little or no appreciation for wide-angle shots, but after learning what to look for, I'm really getting into it.
  4. bartjeej

    bartjeej Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    I really like the concept of the DL 18-50, but that lens is looking pretty huge, and especially with no weather sealing, I fear it would be a dust and moisture magnet when traveling in rough places... still I will read the reviews with great interest, if and when it finally makes it to the market...
  5. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    Based on the measurement specs, it will fit into the very compact case I have for the Panasonic LX100 or Leica D-Lux 109. I wouldn't carry that into a swamp or whatever, but the Leica X-U I have would work. Most of the guys I fish with have lost one or more phones into the local saltwater, so cameras wouldn't necessarily fare any better.
  6. Covey22

    Covey22 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Feb 3, 2012
    Wow those clip-ons are huge! That's why folded lens arrays like the Light L16 are probably the way computational photography will be going forward. Once Light starts including those in Smartphones (which is part of their business plan), that will change the game again.
  7. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    I've been reading about the L16. There are some preliminary reviews and even a Consumer Reports article. The 'folded' lens using mirrors has been done in several small cameras already where the zoom is internal and the lens stays inside. The stitching scheme is promising, but the high price for all of the lens elements is prohibitive I think. And the tiny sensors, despite the stitching of multiple images (as my Cortex app does now), will not likely challenge any DSLRs. Right now with the iPhone, all I do is pull the bracket from one pocket, slide the phone in, then screw in the lens I carry in another pocket or shoulder bag. A great feature of shooting with the iPhone is the remote release via any earbud that has the buttons.
  8. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    Another pic from the iPhone/Cortex app/Exolens. This image was cropped less than 2 percent, so you can see that the big glass Zeiss put into this wide-angle (~17.4 mm equivalent) lens really pays off with the iPhone, and the 27 mp Cortex app images.

    iPhone 6s-plus, Zeiss ExoLens, Cortex Camera App, daylight exposure.
    • Like Like x 2
  9. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    Here is where the iPhone camera app meets its Waterloo - if I were using the 2x 'tele' lens and the main part of the image was the lighted bridge, there would be little noise. But because the wide-angle view sees mostly dark, even when the focus is directed to the bridge, the iPhone jacks up the ISO and I get lots of noise.

    iPhone 6s-plus, Zeiss ExoLens, Cortex Camera App, nighttime exposure.
  10. IVN

    IVN Veteran

    Aug 27, 2013
    I wish this was available for Samsung smartphones. Galaxy S5 Neo in particular.
  11. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    It might be at some point. I don't think it's actually made by the Zeiss company, I think it's subcontracted. Since it was just released last week for the iPhone, it might take awhile to produce other versions. The optics are clearly better than the iphone sensor can maintain, so it could be a lot better on better camera phones.
  12. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    I've wanted to shoot this several times, but was never satisfied with the results and I don't even know why. But it worked OK with the wide (17.4 mm equiv.) lens, even though my main interest was the resolution of the structures on the underside of the bridge going off into the distance - it goes straight out for 2+ miles until it curves to the left. The cargo ships are at least 2.5 miles away. There's no width cropping, but I binned the 27 mp Cortex app image down to 7.68 mp before cropping it vertically. I didn't have a tripod handy, so I used the Cortex "remove motion blur" feature.

    iPhone 6s-plus, Zeiss ExoLens, Cortex Camera App, daylight exposure.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    I tried capturing this wetland view at high tide, which looks very impressive from the bridge 100 ft or so above the water, but not so impressive from ground level. This is my first attempt photographing this scene with the Zeiss ExoLens, and it reminds me why the iPhone is not a good landscape shooter - the foliage at medium distances of 200-400 yards is badly smeared. Adding to the problem was a high wind and the Cortex camera app, which combines multiple frames into one still image - the movement of branches and leaves in the wind means the multiple frames don't register perfectly with each other. Still, the overall look was what I wanted and the add-on lens performed perfectly.

    iPhone 6s-plus, Zeiss ExoLens, Cortex Camera App, daylight exposure.
  14. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    For this photo I used the tiny (1/4 palm size) Joby folding tripod. The wide (17 mm equiv. FL) lens is very handy in indoor shots like this. I tried touch-focus to get the main focus on the rear wall, but that failed. The menu board at upper left is sharp, but the blue board slightly lower and to the right is a little blurry, and that's not the fault of the lens. Cropping was less than 5 percent of the width, but quite a bit of the height to get rid of some of the floor and ceiling.

    iPhone 6s-plus, Zeiss ExoLens, Cortex Camera App, daylight through window.
  15. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    The light in the church was fairly low, since the only light came in through a few windows. I thought the ExoLens did extremely well here. I used a monopod with no other support. The water fountain in #2 looks pretty much like a single exposure, but the Cortex app actually takes more than 20 images and combines them, and yet the water doesn't look especially smeared.

    iPhone 6s-plus, Zeiss ExoLens, Cortex Camera App, some daylight through windows.

    iPhone 6s-plus, Zeiss ExoLens, Cortex Camera App, daylight exposure.
  16. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    Yesterday I posted a defective version of this iPhone 6s-plus/Cortex app/Zeiss ExoLens image, so today I'm reposting it. I've made mistakes in PP before this, but this one was the worst. Now better...

    iPhone 6s-plus, Zeiss ExoLens, Cortex Camera App, indoor exposure.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2016
  17. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    Image #1 is a common theme here - a recreation of the old style carriage doors of the horse and buggy days. Image #2 is the monthly Louis Vuitton poster, posted outside of the store, behind glass with considerable glare, making it a challenge to photograph. Image #3 is a Louis Vuitton bag in a window display, and was taken with the iPhone 6-plus using the phone's built-in lens.

    iPhone 6s-plus, Zeiss ExoLens, Cortex Camera App, outdoor exposure.

    iPhone 6s-plus, Zeiss ExoLens, Cortex Camera App, indoor exposure.

    iPhone 6-plus, Cortex Camera App, exposure through display window.