The best camera is the one you have with you, so why not bump it up with great glass.
One of the most popular accessories for iPhones is the mobile phone case. I’ve probably reviewed hundreds of them at this point and somehow I still find interesting things about most cases that I like to point out to people. Another accessory that is starting to gain popularity is the lens systems for the iPhone. These lenses can be attached to the exterior of the iPhone and enhance your iPhoneography toolbox by adding a Macro and/or Wide Angle lens. One thing that is a little rarer is the case/lens system combo. There are a few companies that make them, but not many. So, when I was introduced to Hitcase, I was intrigued not only because they provide a very nice lens/case system, but also because the cases are designed for adventure lifestyles.
Hitcase is an adventurous company based out of Vancouver BC, Canada. Their team is passionate about the outdoors and likes to take walks off the beaten path. With that in mind, they have expanded their range of products to include cases and lenses that help you get the most out of the camera you always have with you, your iPhone. Hitcase is dedicated to designing and building precision engineered products that feel good and are functional to use.
At its core, Hitcase is made for adventure. Their products are designed to perform and feature enhanced protection from the elements as well as a focus on photography. They use premium materials such as metal buttons, transparent backs, Apple-matched colors, and unique mounting systems to enhance the user’s experience while using Hitcase products.
Hitcase is the planet’s only protective case to feature a precision-grade optic lens system (magnetic and threaded). The lens system has class-leading TrueLUX Optics, which makes it perfect for photography and videography. The adventure series of Hitcase products includes the Pro, Shield, and Crio cases along with the Macro, Wide, Superwide TrueLUX lenses.
This case is a top-of-the-line case that features a tough, metal protective case. It’s shockproof up to 5m (16ft) and waterproof up to 10m (33ft). The case is compatible with the Railside mounting system and as well as all 8 Hitcase mounts and GoPro mounts. The Pro case is compatible with 2 screen options the Aqua Shield (included) and the Air Shield (included with the iPhone X). Extra port covers are included for deep dives. The case is available in black or silver and it weighs approximately 88 grams. The Pro is ideal for activities like winter sports, water sports, traveling, cycling, mountain biking, hiking, and camping. This case is designed out of anodized aluminum and features the threaded lens system, which keeps the Optics locked in place at all times. The Pro case is available for the iPhone 6, 7/7 Plus, 8/8 Plus, and X.
The Shield is also made from aluminum and is rated IP68, but it’s a much lighter, slimmer case than the Pro. The Shield boasts the fact that it’s the world’s thinnest waterproof iPhone case at only 10.9mm thick. This case has the built-in magnetic Link mounting system and is compatible with wireless charging (removable Link plate). The Shield case is also compatible with the TrueLux lenses and connects with them magnetically. The Shield case is available in silver, black, and rose gold and is compatible with the iPhone 7/7 Plus, 8/8 Plus, and X. The case is ideal for adventurer, traveler, parent, and sports-lovers.
The Crio is made from impact resistant Thermoplastic Polyurethane. There is a soft microfiber liner inside and it’s drop proof up to 2m (6ft). The case is compatible with the magnetic Link Mount System and the TrueLUX lenses as well. It’s available in black and black/grey. This case is designed to be able to fit easily into a pocket and travel anywhere.
The interchangeable lenses from Hitcase are waterproof with precision-grade optical glass. There are three lenses available to work with the Hitcase cases — SuperWide, Macro, and Wide. All three can be used with any of the cases mentioned above as they are designed to work as threaded or magnetic attachments.
SPECS FOR LENS KIT
- Superwide: Size – 29mm x 17.8mm, Weight – 22g
- Wide: Size – 24mm x 11.3mm, Weight – 8g
- Macro: Size – 29mm x 11.9mm, Weight – 10g
- Triple element glass lens (Superwide)/2-element glass lens (Wide & Macro)
- 3 x magnification, 12-22mm working distance (Macro)
- Diagonal FOV in photo mode: 148º (Superwide)/ 111º (Wide)
- Diagonal FOV in video mode: 121º (Superwide)/ 83.6º (Wide)
- Edge-to-edge clarity with no vignetting
- Waterproof, dustproof, snowproof
- Two start thread and magnetic LINK mounting for ease of use with all Hitcase products
- Anodized aluminum construction
- Anti-reflective/anti-scratch coating on all lens elements
I’m not much of a case guy when it comes to my phone. I prefer to leave it ‘naked’ as I feel that it was designed to be durable and I hate covering up the natural design of the iPhone. Therefore, I really haven’t kept my phone in a case for any real length of time in many, many years. With that in mind, I’ve tended to shy away from the iPhone lens that requires a case be placed on the phone in order to work. I was happy to try out the Hitcase cases when I found how wonderful the lenses were. Each of the cases I had the chance to try out was of premium quality. The Pro case was the most extreme of the three and I actually had to use tools to install the case on my phone. The phone was very well-protected and the lenses fit on quite easily. The Shield case was a good ‘in-between’ case and the design featured a very slim profile. I liked it as an alternative option for a waterproof case but wasn’t a big fan of how the cover attached to the front of the case. I ended up liking the Crio case the best out of the three because it is a good all-around case and works for everyday situations the best.
I’ve used a bunch of different styles of cameras lenses for iPhones. Most of them have been nice but none of them held a candle to my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and its lenses. With that said I have my iPhone with me almost 24 hours per day and I don’t have my DSLR with me everywhere I go. I would love to keep it with me but unfortunately, that is sometimes not possible. Because of this, a system like the Hitcase iPhone case and lenses is a must for me. I like the Hitcase system over other iPhoneography cases or lenses because of how the cases not only work for the lenses but also look great on their own. The first lens I tried out was the Macro lens. I’m always amazed at what you can capture with the magnification capabilities of a good Macro lens and the Macro lens from Hitcase is simply outstanding as evidenced by the photo below.
Given the superior quality of the Macro lens, I expected nothing less from the Wide and Superwide lenses. I took a few shots of a local soccer field with a game in progress. The images below show the same image with no lens, the Wide lens, and the Superwide lens for comparison.
The lenses attach by magnets and stay in place pretty well. I would not recommend carrying the phone on a roller coaster with the lenses attached (unless they are on the Pro case) as the magnetic grip is not so strong to withstand some shaking. Overall, I would like to see the case and lenses have a stronger magnetic connection. Something else I would like to see a change in a future release would be seeing the case work with wireless chargers because with the exception of the Shield, they currently do not. Even with these two small caveats, the system works really well. The glass used for the lenses is so crisp that I have been using them to take photos of some of the products we have been reviewing instead of my DSLR. I mention this because I want you to understand that I really think the images look great.
In my opinion, the TruLUX lens system is hard to pass up if you are using your iPhone for any type of photography or videography. I’ve been so impressed by the quality of the photos and the simple design of the case/lens system, that I have a hard time not recommending the Hitcase to others. Even though the pricetag of a complete set might cause some to back away, I think that it’s well-worth the investment. I’ve never seen glass for iPhone’s as nice as the Hitcase TruLUX lenses are.