DynaOptics, an optical engineering company that has previously looked at bringing zoom lenses to smartphones, has launched a Kickstarter campaign for its OOWA smartphone add-on lenses. 

The lenses, a 2.5x tele-lens with an equivalent focal length of 75mm and a 15mm equivalent super-wide-angle, use DynaOptics' patented free-form system design methodology which promises improved edge-to-edge sharpness, minimal distortion, no chromatic aberrations and no vignetting, compared to conventional optical designs. This is achieved through a rotationally asymmetric design that optimizes image quality in a rectangular shape (i.e, the shape of an imaging sensor). In contrast, conventional rotationally symmetric lenses optimize image quality in a circle.

Both lenses attach to iPhone 6-series models via an included protective case. The tele-lens has 5 elements, one made from glass and 4 made out of plastic. The wide-angle has three plastic elements and one glass element. 

You can currently secure either lens by pledging $65 on the OOWA Kickstarter page, or $120 for the kit. If you like the idea behind the lenses but don't currently own an iPhone you can also help OOWA select the next devices that it will make lenses available for. Samples and comparison shots can be be found on the DynaOptics website.

Press Release:

Palo Alto, CA and Singapore – June 8, 2016 – DynaOptics, an innovator in optics technology, entered the mobile photography market today with OOWA, a suite of iPhone lens attachments powered by free-form lenses. OOWA’s high-quality wide-angle and telephoto lenses, together with protective phone cases, are available for pre-order on Kickstarter now.

“The introduction of OOWA lenses marks a true innovation in the world of optics: for the first time, a free-form lens is incorporated into a camera lens,” said Li Han Chan, DynaOptics CEO and co-founder. “OOWA’s precision-crafted lens attachments are now available for the iPhone 6 series. Our technology empowers these users to see the world from a fresh perspective -- with unprecedented clarity -- zero chromatic aberration (no color bleeding) and zero vignetting (no dark corners).”

Photographs taken by OOWA can be found on Instagram at #madewithoowa.

OOWA’s suite of products includes:

  • a 2.5X zoom telephoto lens,
  • a 110 degree diagonal field-of-view wide-angle lens, and
  • a phone case that allows for lens attachment with ease and precision while protecting the phone

A Single Lens Kit (telephoto or wide-angle lens) comes with the selected lens and a phone case, a lens cap, and a carrying pouch. The Pro Kit comes with both lenses, two lens caps, two carrying pouches, and a phone case. OOWA’s Kickstarter supporters can purchase lens kits at early-bird prices (Single Lens Kit at $65; Pro Kit at $120) during the first three days of the campaign. After which, the kits will be offered at regular reward levels of $79 and $139 respectively.

As mobile phones capture an ever-increasing share of the world's photos, the pressure is on for cell phone technology to compete with the image quality of DSLR cameras. Market research firm InfoTrends estimates that more than one trillion photos will be taken by mobile phone users in 2017, up from 0.14 trillion in 20101.

OOWA’s products address this insatiable demand for ever-improving image quality and technology in today’s mobile camera world. Visit OOWA’s press page here for more information on OOWA’s free-form technology, product specifications, lab and field image quality results, and a prototype review by a professional photographer. 

OOWA products are available today for pre-order on KICKSTARTER. OOWA lenses are compatible with the iPhone 6, 6S, 6+ and 6S+ (other phone users -- watch this space!), and with screen protectors. The products are expected to ship in November 2016.