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Oola Lens - Fisheye and Macro for Smartphones
Tuesday, September 11, 2018  

Wouldn't it be great if your smartphone had interchangeable lenses? Well, with Oola Lens, it can. Sort of. Oola Lens offers a set of clip-on lens extenders that can add wide-angle and macro capabilities to your existing smartphone lens. We tested the Oola Lens using our Samsung Galaxy S6.

As you can see from the photo above, I have a protective case on my phone, so getting the Oola Lens' flexible plastic clip to slip over the case took a bit of tweaking, but I was able to get the Oola Lens centered over the phone's camera lens. The clip does impede the view on the screen, but just slightly (see below).

One consideration when using the Oola Lens was how well it remains in position when you are not using the phone but simply carrying it. I would not recommend putting the phone in your back pocket with the lens attached as it could easily pop off, or get damaged when you sit down. I carried my phone in my front pocket with the lens cover attached.

Before shooting photos, it is always a good idea to make sure the Oola Lens is centered correctly over the camera's lens. The wide-angle lens claims to be a 160º degree wide-angle. This was the lens that I used most for testing. Below are some of my results.

This photo was taken with the stock Samsung Galaxy S6 lens

The same photo with the Oola Lens fish-eye attached

You may notice some blurring around the edges of the photo. I assume this was just a characteristic of the lens not being able to focus at the extremes of the fish-eye. However, it could be the result of how the Oola reacts on a Samsung lens. I consistently had this focus issue with the fish-eye lens.

That said, I typically would crop my fish-eye photos to remove much of the fish-eye effect to be more like a standard wide-angle lens. In the photo below, you will notice how the vertical structures bend due to the fish-eye nature of the lens. I wanted a wide-angle shot, but not that wide.

Uncropped original

Cropped photo

In the second photo, you can see that I have cropped out much of the fish-eye effect, resulting in a decent wide-angle shot that is much wider than my standard lens would shoot.

I attempted to test the macro and super-macro lenses that came in the kit, but I don't really ever need that level of macro capability. With the super macro, you basically have to have the lens resting on whatever you are shooting! Then lighting becomes an issue. Again, this may only be the case with the Galaxy S6 lens. When using the macro function, you focus by changing the distance between the lens and the object you are shooting and it is very sensitive, so any motion can easily put the object out of focus.

As a test, I wanted to shoot a photo of the fish-eye lens close up. I put my phone on a small tabletop tripod and placed the fish-eye lens on an upside down coffee mug so I could get the macro lens close enough to the object.

The macro lens was about an inch away from the fish-eye lens to gain focus and take the shot below:

I personally don't see any way you could use the macro lens without a tripod.

The Verdict

For the low price of $38, the Oola Lens kit is well worth the investment. I would pay that just for the fish-eye, even if I have to crop my images. I wish they had a wide-angle lens that was not quite as wide as the fish-eye, but perhaps that will be coming in the future. The quality of construction appears to be very good and the product is simple to use. The little carrying bag is quite handy as well. I plan on using my Oola Lens in the future and recommend that everyone get one.

For more information, go to their website at

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