This smartphone case can improve photo-taking
The New York Times
TECHNOLOGY companies are rapidly improving camera functions and apps for smartphones, but one is focusing instead on how a smartphone case can improve photos.
The company, iZZi Gadgets, recently introduced the Orbit case, which it says will turn an iPhone into a professional-grade device for digital photographers.
The Orbit, designed for the iPhone 4 and 5, includes four optical lenses - fish-eye, macro, telephoto and wide-angle - on a rotating spindle attached to the case.
Made of durable aluminium, the case has a grip that helps to steady your hand while taking a photo. For more stabilisation, the case also has three 20mm slots for tripod mounts.
No instructions were included in the review sample that was sent to me, but the setup was pretty simple.
I placed my iPhone in the Orbit's inner silicone case, then secured that in the outer metal case, making sure to align the phone's camera with the case's viewfinder. The spindle turned smoothly until one of three lenses clicked into place; the fourth, the macro lens, was accessible by removing the wide-angle lens.
The fish-eye lens offered a 180-degree view and the telephoto lens doubled the zoom, but the wide-angle is a mere 0.67 times wider.
The macro lens, my favourite, captured detailed close-ups. Unfortunately, the spindle is not removable, so the iPhone's camera cannot be used in its normal setting.
It would be nice if the case came with an editing app, if for no other reason than to remove the shadow of the lens that appeared in the photo corners.
The phone's other functions were still easy to use, but the bulky case was not built to slide easily into a pocket. In fact, the case could use its own case for travel. Fortunately, the case has a convenient thumb hole, making it easy to pop the phone out.
The Orbit case comes in black, blue, purple, red or silver, and costs US$230 (S$287) for the iPhone 4 version or US$240 for the iPhone 5. That's expensive, but still cheaper than a new camera with four lenses.