"The Schneider iPro is a high quality 3rd party iPhone lens kit, that is a must for those who demand the best" - Glyn Evans, editor.
The iPro Lens System from Schneider Optics is a pro grade lens kit for the iPhone 4 and 4S. Consisting of 2 lenses, a wide-angle and a fisheye, a case and lens carrier/grip/tripod mount, but priced at $200 USD the iPro Lens System is not cheap, but what is it like, and is it worth the money?
The iPro Lens System case is of a sturdy, one piece, snap-in design, with bespoke bayonet lens mount, which due to the lack of fitting instructions, at first, appears to be almost impossible to fit. What is not obvious, due to the lack of these instructions [which is something Schneider need to address], is that you need to use the supplied lens carry case, screwed into right hand mount, and then used to apply leverage during the fitting process. Once this has been made clear, and having fitting the case once, then the fitting and removal process [which is a reversal of the fitting process] is a breeze to do.
The case good points:
- Constructed of strong plastic.
- The bayonet lens mount.
- The threaded mount for the handle/tripod mount adapter.
The case bad points:
- The case is of a one piece snap in design, that can difficult to fit.
- Because of the thickness of plastic, access to the volume shutter button, is a little difficult.
Right, having looked at the case, it's time to look at the important parts of this kit, the lenses.
As mentioned above, the iPro Lens System comes with 2 lenses, a wide-angle and a fisheye. They both are well made, have metal lens barrels, and are easily and quickly mounted to the supplied case via a proprietary metal lens bayonet mount.
The Wide-Angle Lens
The Schneider wide-angle lens is constructed of 4 elements in 3 groups, and in tradition 35mm film camera terms, gives the equivalent angle of view, as a 19mm lens, compared to the iPhone 4 lens that equates to the same angle of view as a 30mm lens.
With the aid of the proprietary lens mount, fitting is quick and easy, and in use, this wide-angle lens produces crisp and stunning results, with no vignetting, and only minimal distortion.
The Fisheye Lens
Just like the wide-angle lens, the Schneider fisheye lens, which is constructed of 3 elements, is quick and easy to fit, and gives the equivalent angle of view, to that of a 12mm lens, but just like any other fisheye lens, you have to be selective when using this optic. That said, when you do use this Schneider lens, the results are equally clean and crisp.
The Lens Likes and Dislikes
- Like: The bayonet mount, which makes these lenses quick and easy to use.
- Like: The quality and feel of the lenses.
- Dislike: No lens caps to protect these expensive optics whilst mounted on the iPhone.
The Tripod Mount and Grip
The lens carry case doubles up as grip and/or trip mount, which is very useful for when you want to shoot high or low, or attached to your favourite pocket tripod.
So what do I think of the iPro Lens System from Schneider Optics?
Whilst the case is sturdy, I would have preferred to have seen this $200 USD lens kit supplied with a two piece lock together case, rather than the difficult to fit supplied one. That said, the optics are stunning, making up for the shortfall in the case design, with the wide-angle's 86 degree field of view, compared to the iPhone's 62 degree, being particularly useful and versatile, especially if you shoot landscapes, interiors or street views, and is a lens that many would and could use all the time.
Due to the issues I have with the case, I'm going to give the iPro Lens System, two ratings, one for the case, and one for the lenses.
The Case = 3.5 STARS : The Lenses = 5 STARS
So, now for the big question, is the iPro Lens System worth $200 USD?
Well, this is a difficult question to answer, but remember, quality doesn't come cheap. If you shoot a lot of landscapes, interiors or street views, and have a need for a top quality wide-angle lens for your iPhone, then the answer is a definite YES, but if you are happy with the default lens, or only have an occasional need for that extra field of view, then the answer is no, as there are cheaper alternatives that will probably meet your needs.
For more information about, or to order** the Schneider Optics iPro Lens System, head over to the iPro website.
*Please note, due to the different lens found on the iPhone 4S, the angle of view quoted above is less than that of the standard iPhone 4.
**Please note: If you're in the UK, then expect to pay an extra £35 GBP import charges.
Coming soon: The Olloclip 3-in-1 Lens v Schneider Optics iPro Lens System