In a surprise announcement at CES 2016, Zeiss revealed that it is moving into an entirely new field—smartphone accessory lenses. In a market that has long been underserved, Zeiss is vowing to set ‘a new quality standard’ in the space.
Partnering with Fellowes Brands, Zeiss has created a series of three ExoLens-brand lenses, a wide-angle, a telephoto, and a macro. All three will feature Zeiss’s T* antireflective coating, helping mobile photographers cut down on glare and minimise reflections.
Zeiss is producing a special mount for the lenses, which will clip to the back of the phone and hold the lens in a steady position, bracketing three sides of the device. The mount will also include a screw thread for the lens, a standard tripod mount, and a cold shoe for accessories.
Although these lenses do produce excellent quality photos based on the sample images released by Zeiss, they are quite large and will reportedly cost around $300 for the macro and wide angle lenses (the telephoto will be sold separately for around $199).
Clearly targeting the high end of the market, Zeiss is expected to bring the lenses to market sometime in the second quarter of 2016.
Unfortunately for many smartphone users, the lenses will be compatible with only the latest iPhones (6, 6 Plus, 6S, and 6S Plus) upon launch.
If you have an older iPhone model or, God forbid, an Android, comfort yourself in the knowledge that anyone that buys one of these is unlikely to actually be carrying it with them when the perfect photographic moment presents itself.
And if they are, well, I’m sure there was space for their actual camera too…