PhotoProX iPhone 5/5S case with lenses
The PhotoProX is a rugged, waterproof case for the iPhone 5 and 5S that accommodates four included lenses. The case is designed for the outdoors and is built to withstand serious abuse—it can even be used for underwater photography. Your iPhone fits into a plastic “sled” which, in turn, slides into the clear plastic case. The top door, where the phone slides in, has a tight-fitting gasket and a strong latch. There is also a bottom door that permits access to the 3.5mm audio jack, the Lightning charging port, and the phone’s mic and speaker. This little door snaps shut with effort and is very difficult to open due to the necessary waterproofing gasket.
The lenses are protected in a separate hard-sided case with padded recesses for each lens. Even if you go hiking or biking, the lenses will be well protected. There are four glass lenses included and to insure the waterproof integrity of the case, each lens has a silicone O-ring that seals the lens threads. There is a 2X telephoto lens, a 170º fisheye lens, a Macro lens, and a blank low profile lens that must be screwed into the case to maintain the waterproof seal when the other lenses are not being used.
The following examples show a normal photo, one using the telephoto lens, and another using the fisheye lens. A 2X telephoto lens will never deliver dramatic results, but it does bring objects a bit closer. The 170º fisheye lens adds an odd warm note to the photos taken with it. The frame surrounding each lens is bright red. Note that the edge of the red bezel is visible on the bottom edge in the fisheye photo below.
The macro lens lets you get in dramatically close to your subject. Here are spines from the cactus in the photos above.
Barrel distortion is unavoidable with a fisheye lens, but I’m surprised by the amount of pincushion distortion introduced by the telephoto lens. Outdoors, this isn’t usually a problem, but in a photo including geometric objects it can be disturbing.
The PhotoProX kit includes the four lenses, the iPhone 5/5S housing, the iPhone sled, a padded lens case, a wrist leash, and a lens cloth. Inside the lens case there a few extra O-rings as they are small and easy to lose.
Here’s where I see a disconnect in the PhotoProX strategy. The super-strong, waterproof case is great when you are out and about and exposed to dirt and moisture. When you are at home and simply want to take a photo with one of the lenses, you have to put your iPhone in the sled, slide that into the case, clamp the door closed, and screw in the appropriate lens. After you are done, you have to reverse the procedure.
I discussed this with Optrix at Macworld/iWorld 2014 and discovered that they are developing a machined aluminum frame that slides onto the iPhone 5/5S to hold the lenses when the protective case is not needed. I’d like to see this included as part of the PhotoProX in the future.
If you are an outdoors enthusiast and like to hike, bike, ski, or swim, you’re going to like the PhotoProX. If you just want interchangeable lenses for your iPhone, the inconvenience of the complex case will soon become tiresome.
MyMac Review rating is 7 out of 10.