New High Quality Zeiss iPhone Lenses Coming Soon

Add-on lenses give you greater flexibility and more creative options when shooting with your iPhone. But many of the available lenses have poor optics, resulting in reduced image quality. So we’re excited by the news that iPhone lens developer ExoLens has teamed up with Zeiss (one of the most renowned manufacturers of camera lenses since the late 19th century) to create a brand new set of add-on lenses. In this article you’ll discover more about these lenses, and how they could be a game-changer in iPhone photography.

Zeiss iPhone Camera Lenses 8

Three New Lenses

There will be three lenses available: Wide Angle, Telephoto, and a “Zoom” Macro Lens.

ExoLens states that they’ll be available first for the iPhone 6/6s and 6 Plus/6s Plus, but other versions may follow.

Zeiss iPhone Camera Lenses 1

So let’s take a more detailed look at the specifications for these three lenses.

Wide Angle Lens

The new wide angle lens offers 0.6x magnification, which yields similar results to an 18mm lens on a DSLR.

The lens is capable of focusing from a distance of 50cm to infinity, which is more than enough range for most wide angle uses.

Zeiss iPhone Camera Lenses 4

Telephoto Lens

The telephoto lens offers a 2x magnification with a 36mm minimum focus distance (relatively standard for iPhone add-on lenses), which is similar to a 58mm DSLR lens.

While this would be considered more of a “normal” lens on a larger camera, keep in mind that the built-in lens of the iPhone is actually considered to be a wide angle lens to begin with.

Zeiss iPhone Camera Lenses 2

Macro Lens

Of particular interest is the new macro lens. With a minimum focus distance of 30mm, this lens is purported to be the only “continuous zoom accessory for smartphones.”

While it doesn’t appear to be a zoom lens in the traditional sense, it appears that it allows for a greater focal range compared to other macro lenses which typically only focus at a very specific length while all else remains out-of-focus.

Like all macro lenses, this new lens allows you to focus at extremely close distances, but with a bit more range than most macro lenses. This could potentially make for a more forgiving shooting experience.

Zeiss iPhone Camera Lenses 3

Many folks use a tripod for macro photography as the shallow focal distance makes it very hard to create decent hand-held macro shots. This new macro lens from ExoLens and Zeiss may remedy that issue.

The magnification of the macro lens is such that an object as small as 3cm could fill the frame for incredible close-up (macro) photography.

The lens also comes with a semi-transparent lens hood/diffuser. This allows you to get extremely close to your subject while still allowing in additional light from the sides to help improve exposure.

It also serves as a handy guide for knowing how close you can get to your subject (the depth of the hood itself).

Renowned Zeiss Lens Quality

All three of these new lenses are characterized by the manufacturer as typical of the Zeiss quality and styling.

From the black anodized aluminum frames to the T*® anti-reflective coatings that minimize glare, these lenses appear to be of the highest design quality.

They could potentially give other premium add-on lenses such as those from Moment Lenses a run for their money.

Zeiss iPhone Camera Lenses 2

All three of the lenses are said to offer edge-to-edge sharpness with minimal distortion and no noticeable chromatic aberration (blurring and/or colored “fringing”).

This isn’t surprising coming from such a notable optics manufacturer as Zeiss. To expect anything less than near-perfect optics from Zeiss would be unusual.

At the same time, this puts a great deal of pressure on both Zeiss and ExoLens to deliver on this quality when the lenses are released later this year.

Innovative New Mounting Frame

The lenses attach to your iPhone via a unique ExoLens mounting bracket. The bracket is made from machined aluminum, and each lens mounts to the bracket using a secure screw thread.

Zeiss iPhone Camera Lenses 5

The ExoLens bracket doesn’t serve as a full case for your iPhone, unlike many other add-on lens mounts. Therefore, in order to use the lenses, you can’t use a case at the same time.

The ExoLens frame also includes a standard-sized threaded tripod mount and an accessory shoe for mounting external lights and other accessories.

Zeiss iPhone Camera Lenses 6

Final Thoughts

The ability to add a Zeiss-quality lens (or lenses) to your iPhone could result in a huge step forward when it comes to using external lenses in your photography.

While we haven’t been able to test these new lenses yet (they’re due to be released some time before mid-2016), they look extremely promising and may very well become the best premium add-on lenses for the iPhone.

Zeiss iPhone Camera Lenses 4

For more information, and to sign up for notifications as to when these new lenses will be released, please visit the ExoLens website.

  • Mark Henry

    I’m excited about the lenses, but am curious if the frame will hurt the screen protector that most of us have on our phones. Last week I bought an Olloclip for my iphone 6S. Within an hour I returned it to the Apple store. Sliding it on shredded the top edge of my screen protector, which I’m sure I’ll soon have to replace as it further frays.

    • Hi Mark. Yes, this is an issue with some lenses. I know a lot of people like to use screen protectors, but if it’s any help, I’ve never used one and have never scratched my screen 🙂

  • Thanks Rob for this article…. I can’t wait for the results when you do a test run with these lenses…. I’m particularly keen on the Macro, I have several different macro lens and believe it or not my favourite is the least expensive but for me has produced the best results. I’ve often been surprised by little unexpected critters captured by this lens. So . . will be expecting great results from a Zeiss lens 🙂