DynaOptics promises a better lens for smartphone photography

The startup says its freeform lens tech means a better overall picture

A Silicon Valley startup says it's developed a better lens for smartphone photography -- one that produces clearer images without the distortion often seen in photos from competing lenses.

The secret to DynaOptics' Oowa lens is a proprietary manufacturing process that produces what the company calls a freeform lens.

"What we are able to do with this freeform lens is essentially create a rectangular-like image so that it maps exactly onto the rectangular shape of the image sensor that's in the phone," DynaOptics CEO Li Han Chan said in an interview.

Typical lenses produce a circle, which in many cases can cause distortion around the edges of images. The rectangular shape of the image coming out of the back of the Oowa lens means much less or no distortion.

It all sounds a bit like snake oil, so I asked Chan to demonstrate it.

She took handheld photographs of a target with three competing lenses - from left: a cheap $20 clip-on lens, the more expensive OlloClip lens, and a lens from Moment.

161010 oowa test Li Han Chan

Images taken with three competing lenses.

It's immediately obvious that the $20 lens has some serious issues around the edge of the image, but zooming in reveals another problem.

161010 oowa test close Li Han Chan

Close ups of the top left circle from each of the test images.

These are zoomed-in images of the top-left dot from each of the full sheets.

In the right-hand dot, the one taken with the Moment lens, you can see a little color aberration on the top -- that's the blue fringe.

But overall, the Olloclip and Moment did much better than the cheap lens.

So, what about Oowa?

161010 oowa Li Han Chan

An image taken with the Oowa lens.

The picture from the Oowa lens was slightly better defined, at least to my eye, and it didn't suffer any color aberration.

This isn't a conclusive lab test, but I tried it several times with Chan and the results were the same each time.

Chan says that in everyday life the Oowa lens will mean cleaner, sharper pictures.

The company is planning two lenses: a 2.5X zoom lens and a 15mm wide-angle lens.

oowa set 1 no logo DynaOptics

The Oowa lens set, shown with smartphones.

Oowa is currently available on Kickstarter, where each lens with a phone case is promised for $79. The two lenses are promised in return for $120 or more.

The lens is initially being offered for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S. Because it clips on to a case, it won't be available for every phone, but DynaOptics has pledged Android versions are coming.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?