While iPhone photography keeps on improving thanks to the advancement of tiny camera sensors and image processors, it’s still nowhere near as fully-fledged as DSLR or Micro 4/3rd photography. You can’t swap out interchangeable lenses for different types of imagery, and have to rely on third-party manufacturers producing clip-on accessories. That’s where the Aukey 18mm HD wide angle clip-on lens comes in.
ExoLens, a division of Fellowes, today announced a partnership with highly-respected camera lens maker Zeiss to release “ExoLens with optics by Zeiss,” a series of three new high-quality add-on lenses for the iPhone 6/6s and Plus models. Incorporating Zeiss’s T* anti-reflective coating, the lenses offer optical quality comparable to the Zeiss lenses found in Sony cameras, improving on already-released ExoLens systems for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Each lens screws into a machined aluminum mounting and tripod bracket that attaches to Apple’s devices. One even offers zoom capabilities…
Snapchat is out with its latest update bringing new features and tricks to the photo messaging app. The release notes are short: Before you take a selfie, press and hold on your face for a surprise! That’s referencing the new selfie Lenses trick, which lets you apply some pretty wild effects to your face before sharing with friends. To use Lenses, just tap and hold on your selfie before taking a Snap. A facial outline appears as well as seven effects including that dramatically change up your selfie.
According to an Apple patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and detailed by PatentlyApple, Apple is at the very least conceptualizing a device that sports a removable back panel for easily replaceable components such as lenses or optical solutions.
While it is unclear whether the invention would be used in a standalone camera, next-generation iPod or iPhone, or a different device entirely, the patent detailed several methods of upgrading a device with supplementary optics:
The digital imaging subsystem is typically enclosed within the case of the device to protect the digital imaging subsystem. The enclosure generally prevents direct access to the lens of the digital imaging subsystem for the purpose of providing any sort of supplementary optics, especially if the supplementary optics must be precisely aligned with the image sensor… It would be desirable to provide a structure for a compact device that allows the end user to reconfigure the optical arrangement of the device while retaining the benefits of assembling the device using a pre-assembled digital imaging subsystem.
Apple detailed several features that could be added through the easily swappable supplementary optics, including: improved zoom capabilities, better shutter control, removable close-up lenses, and the addition of motion sensors, flashes, or a lens baffle. As an example, the report explained a removable IR cut-off filter that would allow “capturing black and white images at very low light levels. Without the IR-cut filter the camera’s light sensitivity may extend to 0.001 lux or lower.” The report also broke down how the removable back panels could be implemented: