By Gregg Ellman
I’ve always maintained a smartphone does great as a camera but still can’t replace the features and quality of a DSLR system. The bitplay system starts with a nice case, which would be great even without the lens system. But if you get the case, you have to get the lenses to make this system rock.
The case ($49.99) features a great add-on grip for a better ergonomic camera fell. It allows you to hold with one hand in a way so your fingers won’t block the lens. The cases gives you an actual shutter button that works through the volume button, giving the feel of a natural position like you have in point-and-shoot cameras.
It’s built with a dual-layer construction combining soft TPU shock-absorbing inside the case and a hard polycarbonate outer shell.
There’s also a thread to attach a tripod and a wrist strap, which can be upgraded or you can attach your own. You can still use it as a phone with the case and grip attached.
The lens are interchangeable and screw into the case for a secure hold and are built with pro-level optics for enhanced clarity. The lens system includes a full frame fisheye/macro ($34.99), circular fisheye/macro ($34.99), standard wide angle/macro ($24.99), 3X telephoto ($39.99) and a variety of accessories. There’s also an HD wide angle EF 18 mm lens with cinema optics for $99.99.
If you’re not familiar with the different fisheye lenses, the circular fisheye is exactly that. It gives you a round image, with black filling the edges of the image. The full frame fisheye produces a standard rectangle image, with a curved fisheye effect.
I tested the system at a simple family outing, which I thought would a common setting for people to use the system. I spent the day using the full frame fisheye, telephoto and the 18 mm.
After using the lenses for a while and then switching back to just the phone’s bare lenses, I felt like I was missing something. So I went back to using the lenses, mostly the fisheye, since it’s about 3X wider than the existing lens. The 18 mm was impressive with its higher quality optics, enabling you to see very little distortion on the edges.
The 18 mm has a much higher construction quality than the other bitplay lenses. They describe the durable lenses construction: “the lens hood, body and cap are made from reinforced metal with a high-strength dust-proof seal, and our rigorous production process ensures that each lens is optical perfection.”
The system definitely gives you more of a photography feel and enhances the images with the wide and telephoto optics.
The standard fisheye/macro and the wide angle/macro are two-piece lenses. You snap the top optic off to remove the fisheye and the lens becomes a macro.
All of these lenses are constructed with high quality aluminum and include a storage pouch.
The Snap!7 case is available for $49.99,
www.bitplayinc.com available in white or black for the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 6, 6S, 6 Plus and 6S