Do you want to take your iPhone 7 Plus photos to the next level, then consider the KAMERAR ZOOM Lens Kit made in partnership with ZTYLUS. We reviewed the ZTYLUS lens set for iPhone 6 last year and liked it. Now they’ve come out with this new system that includes a case for your iPhone 7 Plus and two lens attachments. Each attachment hastwo different lenses that make use of the dual lens system of the Apple iPhone 7 Plus camera. That’s four lenses and a case for one price.
How the KAMERAR ZOOM Lens Kit Works
Here’s how the KAMERAR ZOOM Lens Kit works. Put the included case on your iPhone 7 Plus and then slide one of the two attachments into the slot on the back of the phone. Each attachment comes with two lens overlays that change the optics of the built-in iPhone 7 Plus camera.
One attachment holds a fisheye lens and a telephoto lens. The fisheye lens covers the main iPhone 7 Plus camera lens and gives it an ultra-wide angle lens so things look round. You can see things in an extreme 165-degree field of view, which translates to a .35X zoom equivalency. Then tap on the 2X button in the iOS Camera app. This turns off the main lens and turns on the 2nd iPhone 7 Plus lens with a zoom of about 2 times that of the main lens. The 2nd lens on the attachment covers this 2nd iPhone Camera Lens. It has a 30-degree field of view with a 1.5X zoom factor. Add that on top of the 2X zoom from the built-in lens and you get a nice telephoto zoom experience.
The company’s video above shows the user zooming in further with the software-based zoom in the iPhone 7 Plus Camera app, but that’s not a good idea. It just makes the pixels bigger and degrades photo quality. It’s better to stick with the optical zoom of the lenses and later crop the photo to show a close-up view of the subject.
Design & Build Quality of the Case and Lenses
The case works well as a protective iPhone 7 Plus case. I’ve dropped my phone a few times while using the case and it’s still intact without scratches or a broken phone screen.
The back of the case looks nice – like hundreds of square pixels close up. I like the effect.
Problems with the KAMERAR ZOOM Lens Kit
The lenses fit on the back of the case. As you can see in the images above, the lens attachments slide into a channel on the back of the case. They “lock” into place with the attachment down below the phone’s lenses so the attachment’s lenses don’t cover the built-in camera lenses. Then they slide the attachment up and it will “snap” it into place. The quotes around those terms are there because over time the plastic on either the attachments or the slot seemed to wear out and the attachments started to get loose. Now, they easily pop out of the channel and I know I’m going to lose one of I keep it attached 24/7.
Don’t leave the lenses attached all the time. Instead, keep them in the included carrying boxes when not in use.
If you must keep the lens attachment fastened to the case all the time, it will get annoying. You can’t lay the phone flat on the back as seen above. Even with the lens removed, the channel that holds the lenses protrudes from the back of the phone slightly, so it’s still a little wobbly while laying on the back of the phone.
Quality of the Lenses and Photos
The real judgment comes from the photo quality. Here’s a set of sample images so you can judge for yourself. Click the photos to get a large version for better evaluation. This first set shows some fisheye lens samples.
They look pretty good, but the image of the front of my church shows that the lens can add some haze. It creates a neat effect. Compare them to the sample taken with the Olloclip, the most popular set of lens attachments (see below).
I can’t see a lot of difference, but the Olloclip shot does look clearer than the above KAMERAR ZOOM Lens Kit fisheye lens samples. Also, notice the shot below appears a little soft.
I took the above shot with the KAMERAR ZOOM Lens Kit telephoto lens. Below you’ll see the same scene without the lens. Notice how the color from the shot above with the zoom lens looks slightly warmer. If you prefer that effect, then the lens may offer a bonus. However, I prefer better color accuracy and the lower shot without the lens looks more faithful to the scene.
Here’s another pair of shots first with and without the zoom lens. First, here’s a portrait taken with the zoom lens.
Here’s a second sample taken without the zoom.
The lens filtered out some of the light. The lower shot’s color seem more accurate, but the first sample looks better. Portraits often look nicer with some warmth added.
Now, we’ll show some samples with the macro lens set on the iPhone 7 Plus. First, we get a sample of a macro lens shot using the 1X zoom setting in the iPhone 7 Plus Camera app.
It’s hard to get a good exposure with the phone this close to the subject since it blocks out the room’s natural light. Below, you’ll see a sample taken at the 2X setting in the Camera app on iPhone 7 Plus. This gives you an effective zoom ratio of 10X.
I tried to take one shot at normal 1X mode without the lenses attached. You’ll see below that the built-in iPhone 7 Plus camera can’t even focus at this close range.
Value and Recommendation
The KAMERAR ZOOM Lens Kit cost $49.99 for the iPhone 7 Plus case and two lens attachments. They come with a pair of carrying cases. That’s considerably cheaper than the Olloclip lens set we reviewed in late 2016. However, even $50 is too much if the lens system doesn’t work well, doesn’t produce quality images or comes with a case that won’t protect your phone.
The case protected my phone in three drops, but the attachment lenses no longer snap and lock into place like they should. I’m not sure if the lens attachments or the channel on the back of the case that holds the attachment deteriorated, but the plastic made the fit loose and lenses fall off too easily. That’s not a problem if you don’t plan to keep them attached all the time. I recommend taking them off while not in use. Put them in their small carrying boxes and keep those in your pocket or a computer bag. The Olloclip system has the same problem. I would never walk around with those lens attached 24/7 either.
The pictures taken with the KAMERAR ZOOM Lens Kit actually look decent. The zoom lens seems to filter some light and make images appear warmer than shots taken with the camera on the phone alone. I love the fisheye effect and the macro lens for detailed shots. The lenses create some interesting and fun photos.
The Olloclip system costs a lot more, but it does create slightly better quality photos. Here’s the price list for all you’d have to buy from Olloclip to get the comparable lenses in the KAMERAR ZOOM Lens Kit for the iPhone 7 Plus:
- Olloclip Core Lens Set (seen above) with fisheye, super wide and 15x macro lens – $99.99
- Olloclip Active Lens Set with 2x telephoto zoom, ultra wide lens – $119.99
- Ollo Case for iPhone 7 Plus – $29.99
If you bought all of those from Olloclip, you pay $249.97. You’d actually get a little more since the two sets above include five different lenses. Also Olloclip makes a third lens set for those really serious about macro photography. They sell the Olloclip Macro Pro set for $79.99. It includes a 7x, 14x and 21x zoom macro lens set.
The KAMERAR ZOOM Lens Kit costs a fifth the price and includes a more attractive case. It works well so long as you only attach the lenses when you need them. The shots taken with the set look good, but may not seem as accurate as the built-in iPhone 7 Plus camera’s lens. This system makes sense for people who like to take interesting photos with their camera and don’t want to spend too much money. If you’re a hardcore iPhone 7 Photographer, then you may want to spend the extra money and invest in the Olloclip system instead.