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Zeiss ExoLens 2x and close-up lenses for iPhone 6 are now available

Create: 09/14/2016 - 17:43
Zeiss ExoLens

Zeiss has released more information about its branded accessory lenses for iPhone 6 models.

In January 2016, Zeiss announced that it was collaborating with computer peripheral maker Fellowes to produce add-on lenses for the iPhone. The first product from that partnership was a 0.6x Mutar wide angle. The two accessory lenses announced last week are a 2x Mutar telephoto and a Vario-Proxar close-up lens.

These lenses don’t replace the iPhone’s existing lens. Rather, the Zeiss lenses are made to sit atop the iPhone’s lens, via a special aluminum bracket that holds the lens and provides a cold shoe for an LED light or shotgun microphone, as well as a tripod socket.

The 2x Mutar, Zeiss says, doubles the iPhone’s wide-angle lens to a 56mm full-frame equivalent field of view – roughly a Ȑnormalȑ lens – from 28mm full-frame equivalent.

The wide-angle 0.6x Mutar gives a roughly 18mm full-frame equivalent field of view.

The Vario-Proxar provides increased close-up capabilities by allowing the iPhone’s own lens to focus much closer than it normally would – between 40mm and 80mm from the subect. The Vario-Proxar has a small focusing ring, Zeiss notes. While the Vario-Proxar is attached, normal photography is not possible.

The Zeiss ExoLens lenses should be much better than most other accessory lenses that are available today. Each are coated with the Zeiss T* process, and all of the lens elements are glass. Both Mutars include an aspherical element to combat chromatic aberration.

  0.6x Mutar 2x Mutar Vario-Proxar
Focal length
full-frame equivalent)
18mm 56mm 40-80mm
focus distance
Elements/groups 4/4 5/3 3/2
Focus range 2 inches-inf.
14.2 inches-inf.
1.2-2.1 inches
Weight with lens shade 3.2 ounces
(90 grams)
3.5 ounces
(98 grams)
1.7 ounces
(48 grams)

Each comes with a detachable lens shade. The shade for the Vario-Proxar is transluscent to allow light to reach the subject.

The ExoLens bracket is made of aluminum and is intended to fit only iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models. Included with the bracket is a small plastic spacer that prevents the bracket from scratching the phone.

Apple’s introduction of the iPhone 7 certainly raises questions about the future of this product, because the upcoming smartphone has two rear-facing camera lenses.

Zeiss said it will look at the possibility of expanding this to non-Apple smartphones.

The price for the 2x Mutar is US$199.99, and the Vario-Proxar is US$149.99. Each lens comes with its lens shade, caps and a microfiber pouch. The aluminum brackt with soft liners and a microfiber pouch is US$59.99. The bracket can purchased with the 0.6x Mutar wide angle for US$199.99.

About the Author

Mike Elek is a longtime journalist and was one of the original editors for The Wall Street Journal Online. He also has worked as a reporter and editor in Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Vineland, N.J.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; New York City; and Hong Kong. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He shoots with film and digital cameras.