ZEISS and Fellowes Brands Launch Mobile Phone Accessory Photography – Setting a New Quality Standard
Fellowes Brands, manufacturers of premium mobile photography accessories and ZEISS, international optics enterprise, present three new high-performance accessory lenses for mobile phones at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas
ZEISS, one of the world’s leading companies in the fields of optics and optoelectronics, and the Fellowes’ ExoLens® brand, an American innovator in mobile photography accessories, announce their collaboration in the design and development of accessory lenses for mobile phones. The companies will present the first jointly developed accessory lenses at the Fellowes booth (no. 31016) during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas from 6-9 January 2016.
The first three lenses – wide-angle, telephoto and macro – are scheduled to be launched in late Q2 2016. The wide-angle and telephoto lenses offer excellent image performance with outstanding edge-to-edge contrast. The macro lens features a zoom function – unique for accessory lenses of this type – for flexible image composition. The new lenses can be used on the Apple® iPhone® with customized mounting brackets.
Partnership between ZEISS and ExoLens®
The collaboration between ZEISS and ExoLens® represents an important step in the development of accessory lenses for mobile phones. ZEISS has been powering optical innovation in photography since 1890. With current products such as the professional camera lenses of the ZEISS Otus SLR lens family or the ZEISS Batis autofocus lenses featuring an innovative OLED display for mirrorless full-frame system cameras, the optics company continues to evolve and set new milestones in photography. ExoLens® is a pioneer in the new and expanding space of mobile photography. The joint goal of ZEISS and ExoLens® is to bring never before seen quality and versatility to this rapidly growing market.
“We are thrilled to announce our new relationship with ZEISS, who has been setting standards in optics for almost 170 years,” says John E. Fellowes, Chief Executive Officer of Fellowes. “Following the launch of our new ExoLens® mobile phone photography line last year, our partnership with ZEISS will enable unique and innovative consumer lens solutions. ExoLens® with optics by ZEISS will redefine quality in the mobile photography space, providing professional-grade results for end users.”
“The impact of an image is decisively influenced by the lens and its technical properties,” says Dr. Winfried Scherle, Executive Vice President of Carl Zeiss AG and Head of the ZEISS Consumer Optics business group.
“The collaboration with ExoLens® gives us the opportunity to tap into new target groups and provide ambitious mobile phone photographers with high-quality tools to support their creativity.”
ExoLens® with optics by ZEISS
The new lenses are characterized by their leading-edge design featuring smooth surfaces made of black anodized aluminum with white labeling. This is a systematic continuation of the distinctive, innovative product design that typifies current families of ZEISS camera lenses. The modern design offers excellent optic properties and the lenses meet even the highest aesthetic standards,” Scherle says. “The lenses of ExoLens® with optics by ZEISS are the best currently available on the market,” he adds. “We have achieved the best possible technical balance between a small size, light weight and high image quality.”
All lenses incorporate the proven T*® antireflective coating from ZEISS, which minimizes reflections at the glass-to-air surfaces and improves the transmission of light.
The lenses are attached to the device-specific ExoLens® machined aluminum bracket using a screw thread. The ExoLens® bracket features a standard tripod mount (1/4”-20) as well as a cold shoe for mounting accessories. At launch, ExoLens® with optics by ZEISS will be available for Apple® iPhone® 6/6s and Apple® iPhone® 6 Plus/6s Plus, with the goal of adding more devices in the future.
First look with ZEISS Lens Ambassadors
Four of our ZEISS Lens Ambassadors had a chance to test samples of the ExoLenses® before the official launch. Even though our Ambassadors are used to working with professional camera equipment they were open to the idea and very interested to see the actual performance.
I was very satisfied with the performance of ExoLenses® in this test, and I think the optics offer a very good addition for smartphone photographers.
I have always felt that photography isn’t about capturing things how your eye sees it, its about shifting the perspective to show something in a new way to enhance the beauty. I can honestly say that now I have a reason to get excited about using my smartphone as a camera with the ExoLens®. The enhanced sharpness and artistic perspective I can take rivals that of a prosumer range DSLR. When I show these photos to people they look through and say, “wow, great shots” then I tell them they were shot on an smartphone with the ExoLens® and their jaw hits the floor, they can hardly believe it… I can hardly believe it!
The high end optics and superior build quality of the wide angle ExoLens® made it a joy to use in the field with the iPhone 6s. The advanced ZEISS optics allowed me to push the capabilities of my smartphone camera sensor and expand on what I can capture thanks to the wider focal length. While there are plenty of 3rd party lenses on the market, I have yet to come across one with the precision build and optical quality of the ExoLens®.
This technology makes taking pictures with your smartphone professional. And thanks to the compact design I always have a high-quality wide-angle solution with me wherever I go.
ExoLens® wide angle and telephoto lenses with optics by ZEISS
The jointly developed lenses turn the integrated mobile phone lens into either a wide-angle or telephoto lens. The optical design used for both lenses bears the name MutarTM². This stands for an afocal system and is therefore different from traditional interchangeable lenses for system cameras. The lens has no focal length, i.e. the focus is set at infinity. This enables photography of objects from infinity to the close-up range, the limits of which are defined only by the technical properties of the mobile phone camera. This makes this optical design suitable for both landscape and detailed photography. Distortion would impair the composition as straight lines which are not imaged through the image center would be reproduced as curved lines. This adverse effect has been offset by the use of aspheric lenses in the optical design. Both lenses therefore offer image excellence and outstanding contrast rendition right to the edges. Chromatic aberrations are also corrected. Bright-dark transitions in the image, and highlights in particular, are largely free from colored artifacts. Protection against dust and water spray makes the wide-angle or telephoto lens perfect for the challenges of outdoor use.
Dramatic perspectives, exceptional angles or portraits in which the main subject is to be clearly isolated from the background are the specialties of the two lenses by ExoLens® with optics by ZEISS.
ExoLens® macro lens with optics by ZEISS
The macro lens complements the wide-angle and telephoto lenses and enables currently unparalleled close-up photography with a mobile phone camera. The optical design of the macro lens bears the name Vario-ProxarTM. “Vario” stands for the variability of the focal length (zoom), and Proxar for proximity. Like the wide-angle and telephoto lenses, the macro lens offers edge-to-edge image excellence and no discernible distortion or chromatic aberration.
It is currently also the only accessory lens for mobile phones to offer a continuous zoom function, permitting the full-frame capture of objects with diameters of between three and twelve centimeters. An optionally attachable and semi-transparent diffusor serves as a spacer, allowing light to shine evenly on the object to be photographed and enabling convenient focusing, even with a short object distance and shallow depth of field.
Update (June 14, 2016): Availability and delivery package
ExoLens® with Optics by ZEISS wide-angle lens kits are available as of June 14th, 2016 for $199.95 or €249,95 at Apple® retail stores and Apple.com for the iPhone® 6/6s and iPhone® 6 Plus/6s Plus. These wide-angle lens kits include the ZEISS Mutar 0.6x Asph T* Wide-Angle lens, a machined aluminum ExoLens bracket, soft device-specific liners (for iPhone® 6 and iPhone® 6s), lens hood and caps as well as microfiber carrying and lens pouches. A la carte macro and telephoto lenses will be available for purchase later this summer.
Update (June 14, 2016): New sample images
Find new sample images for all three ExoLens® with Optics by ZEISS on Flickr.
1iPhone® is a trademark of Apple Inc.
²The ZEISS registered trademark Mutar stands for afocal accessory lens systems (also known as converter). For the purposes of a unified communications, we decided to refer to the converters as lenses.