About this project
The Backers of the HiLO Lens are the hero(in)es of this story! Our Backers saw the potential for a new perspective in mobile photography, they are visionaries and we salute them all!!
A Last Stretch - We Did It!!
We reached our Stretch Goal of $37,500 with just 4 hours to go! So there will be a voice activated shutter option in our app. This is VERY cool, you can use HiLO Lens like a tripod and then tell the app when to take a photo!!
What They Said
"make better use of your camera" - Mashable
"the first right angle lens" - iPhoneography.com
"...allowing users to shoot up, down or to either side" - Gizmag
"HiLO lens for iPhone and iPad has all the right angles" - CNET - Crave
"an extremely useful accessory if you are big on photography" - Gadgetronica
"will definitely make your creativity run high and wide" - Bit Rebels
"Lets you take photos with interesting angles" - Ubergizmo
"Like a periscope for your iPhone" - CNET Australia
"...like a camera with a vari-angle, flip-out screen" - Imaging Resource
"...change the way that the iPad's camera works" - Padvance
"...new and creative ways to take photographs" - Geeky Gadgets
"...one of those features that we’ve been missing" - BerkeleySG
"..for anyone who has an iPad and loves photography" - Youthful Thinking
Around the world: Japan, France, Germany, Italy and Brazil!!
All About HiLO Lens
Modern digital cameras often have a swivel/flip screen, HiLO Lens extends your iPhone camera or iPad camera in a similar way. HiLO Lens is the first right angle lens for the iPhone4/4S/5 & iPad3. With this simple device you'll create more memorable photos.
- Low angle - great for photographing young children and pets
- High angle - like a periscope for photographing over a crowd
- Wide angle - choose wide or standard, for video and photos
- Any surface becomes a tripod - just lay the iPhone down
- Self portraits & group shots - with an adjustable shutter delay
We're sure Kickstarters will find many more creative ways to use HiLO Lens. Visit our website www.hilolens.com
The prototype is demonstrated in our video with the iPhone4. We have tested HiLO Lens with the iPhone5 and will make some minor improvements to get the best results on iPhone5, while still supporting iPhone4/4S.
Andrew B White is a pro iPhoneographer, here is what he had to say about the HiLO Lens "...once you get your hands on one and start using it the opportunities for some very cool shots become clear. It is the sort of thing that makes you want to get out and shoot, just to see what you are going to find!” More details here.
HiLO Lens is full of custom designed optics, made with three lenses and a prism. The optics keep HiLO Lens tiny and can capture the same field of view (FOV) as the iPhone camera.
There is also an app, which will be available for free. The app corrects for the mirroring of the image (caused by the prism) and improves image quality with some smart processing. The app provides an optional shutter delay, so you can get self/group portraits when using HiLO Lens as a tripod.
Why complex optics instead of a mirror ? Because to cover the iPhone camera's field of view a mirror would be large and ugly. HiLO Lens is small, elegant and maintains the camera's full field of view. Be aware that products using only a mirror may only be useful for video.
Image Quality With HiLO Lens
The optics in HiLO Lens are more sophisticated than any other lens available for the iPhone. Optics are always a compromise and we want to keep HiLO Lens affordable. To give you an idea, the aluminium container housing the optics is machined to tolerances of 0.01mm - that's 1/10th the thickness of a strand of hair!
The images below are taken with the HiLO Lens pre-production sample.
There are more details on our blog.
Who Created HiLO?
HiLO Lens is developed by an optical engineer (Alexander), mechanical designer (Onur), app developer (Nguyen) and led by Mark Hampton. The project began in mid 2011.
Mark invented HiLO Lens with Kickstarter in mind because crowdfunding is seriously cool. Mark's previous projects include a startup that created a new category of microelectronics design software (Certess Inc.) and an e-commerce for French expats.
Where Are We At?
We've minimized the technical risks, getting HiLO Lens from idea to final prototype. We're just about ready to hit the production button. Currently we have:
- validated the optics design with pre-production samples
- a fully functional app
- working prototypes being used by iPhoneographers
- production partners on board and ready to build
To make HiLO Lens affordable we need to make at least 1000 units and this is where Kickstarter comes in. The setup costs for manufacturing can be funded with the first 1000 units.
We are also making some minor improvements to the design so HiLO Lens will work perfectly with the iPhone5. The current design does work with the iPhone5 but we can improve it so we will improve it!
When Will We Be Shipping ?
HiLO Lens uses custom designed optical components, not off the shelf parts. Therefore it will take a couple of months to grind, polish and treat the lenses with anti-reflective coatings. In parallel another production partner will be machining the precision aluminium containers. Yet another partner will be tooling for producing the plastic cap.
While the initial production run is being completed our app developer, Nguyen, will be finalizing the app, making it faster, more beautiful and even more fun.
We expect to have the first product ready approximately 12 weeks after successful funding.
We set our funding goal as low as possible given our resources. We would love to see HiLO Lens become a product. With Kickstarter it is all or nothing - no funding if we don't reach our target.
If we exceed our funding goal there is a long list of features we would love to include. Starting with more of your suggestions in the app.
Every product has compromises. Our priority is to provide good quality images and a practical device. We use digital image processing in the app to correct for geometrical distortion in the optics. This innovation allows us to minimize the size of HiLO Lens. If you use HiLO Lens with another camera app then you will see severe vignetting in the corners of the raw photo. You can either consider this a feature or post-process the image in the HiLO Lens app. During post-processing the image will be "unfolded" to correct for geometric distortion and the vignetting is far less noticeable.
Any lens added to the iPhone camera will reduce the optical quality of the final image. This is because the lens is always added to the existing stack of lenses in the iPhone itself. This is most noticeable in low light conditions.
Grease and dirt should be removed from the tacky pad using a lint free, damp cloth, with a little bit of soap to help get rid of oil or grease. Let the pad air dry and it will return to it's tacky state. You should not submerse the lens in water!
We believe HiLO Lens offers great value by allowing you to get creative camera angles more easily. But you can always add a straight-on wide angle lens or simply use the native camera and lie on the ground, buy a tripod and carry a ladder :)
Why You'll Love HiLO Lens
- $60 is a bargain for high quality optics.
- Carrying a HiLO Lens everywhere is easier than carrying a step ladder.
- You'll save a fortune in dry cleaning bills because you'll no longer need to lie on the ground in your dress or tuxedo to get the most memorable shot of everyone jumping in celebration at your best friend's wedding.
- No more embarrassing moments with a tripod in your pocket.
- The best photos of your pet = priceless
- Amazing shots of your child = priceless
Your support makes a huge difference!
Risks and challenges
We've been working on this project for 18 months and were hoping to launch the Kickstarter campaign for HiLO Lens 6 months ago. But we wanted to minimize the risk for backers and be confident that we could deliver a great product. The challenges we overcome were mainly related to manufacturing issues with the optics system. It can take months to get lenses custom made.
We have accurate pricing information from all key suppliers. Because the initial production run will be low volume our costs are relatively high. The production price would nearly halve if we could make 10,000 instead of 1,000 units. So the biggest risk is making sure that the components meet our quality criteria because we do not have a lot of margin to pay for parts to be remade.
OK, if you are still drinking our kool-aid, please go back up to the top of the page and pledge :) Thanks!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
If the case has a thin flat back and a small opening for the camera/flash then it will work with HiLO Lens. But for most cases you will need to remove the iPhone from the case to use HiLO Lens.
Yes. The iPad3 reward comes with a tiny adaptor that can be fixed to the iPad3 to provide a flat surface around the camera for HiLO Lens. You can then use the same HiLO Lens with your iPhone too.
We have not tried it with an iPad mini yet. But the images on Apples website show that there is a nice flat, smooth surface around the camera window so we expect it to fit. The rear camera is 5MP and similar to other iSight cameras (the same F stop) so we expect HilO Lens to work just fine.
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