With the launch of the iPro lens system, Schneider Optics has decided it's ready for a piece of the iPhone lens-attachment market. The product centers on a robust aluminum case, to which separate fisheye and wide-angle lenses can be attached, as can a tripod, via the provided adaptor.
Lens-housings are also made from aluminum, anodized no less, to prevent wear when twisting lenses in and out of the case. Lenses can be fitted and removed quickly and easily, courtesy of a twist-to-fit system something like a bayonet fitting, but using teeth rather than pins. Lenses have an anti-reflection coating and are painted at the edges, so that lens flare is supposedly eliminated.
The wide angle lens affords a 35 percent wider field of view "with minimal distortion and edge-to-edge sharpness" - I'm guessing the dangling "minimal" is meant for the distortion only, and that the edge sharpness is good. The fisheye lens, meanwhile, increases the field of view to a whopping 165 degrees (in stills mode) compared to the 86 degrees of the wide angle lens and the 62 degrees of the iPhone's built-in optics.
Comparison shots of Brooklyn Bridge using the fisheye (right) and the regular iPhone lens (left) (Photos: Schneider Optics)
Perhaps the smartest feature of all is the three-in-one tripod mount adaptor that is also a lens case as well as a handle, which Schneider Optics claims is helpful for taking steadier shots.
At US$199 all in, it's a price point aimed at the serious amateur, and one which positions the iPro lens system against the iPhone Lens Dial. It has a $50 edge, but is a telephoto lens down compared to its rival. However, Schneider Optics has announced that a compatible telephoto lens will be released in April for approximately $100, which would hand the $50 advantage back to the iPhone Lens Dial.
The iPro lens system can be ordered directly from Schneider Optics website, via the iPro product page.