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Review update:
my Vtec lenses and iOS 8

Vtec lenses and iOS 8

In early 2013 I bought a set of Vtec lenses for my iPhone 4. I posted a review that showed the impressive difference they were making in my photography. I’ve continued to use these lenses almost weekly, and I really appreciate the range they give me.

But last week I upgraded my iPhone 5s  to iOS 8.0. I had read that the update included some enhancements to the Camera App, and I was excited about that. (My iPhone is the only camera I have anymore.)

The update, however, seems to be having weird effects on the photos I can capture using my Vtec lenses.

Outdoor conditions

I first noticed the weirdness a few days after I published a blog about the heron outside my office window. That blog featured a few photos I had snapped of Herr Heron using my Vtec lenses. No problem.

But a few days later I took some similar photos after updating my iOS. I could tell right away the photos taken with the Vtec lens were blurry and bland. Compare:

Vtec lenses and iOS8

Egret, taken with Vtec 9x telephoto lens, iOS 8

Vtec lenses and iOS 8

Egret, taken from same distance, with no lens and iOS 8

Sure, I love how close I can get to wildlife with these lenses, but I’ve lost all the detail and color!

Indoor conditions

I noticed the same problem that Sunday when I took some photos at my church:

Vtec lenses and iOS 8

Pastor Jason, taken with the Vtec 9x telephoto lens and iOS 8

Vtec lenses and iOS 8

Pastor Jason, taken from the same distance, with no lens, and the camera at full zoom, iOS 8

The difference is pretty obvious, so I decided to do some further testing in a more controlled setting. You can see the results below.

Further testing

Vtec lenses and iOS 8

Mexican weaving, no lens, no zoom

Vtec lenses and iOS 8

Mexican weaving, no lens, full zoom

Vtec lenses and iOS 8

Mexican weaving, Vtec 2x telephoto lens, no zoom

Vtec lenses and iOS 8

Mexican weaving, Vtec 2x telephoto lens, full zoom

Vtec lenses and iOS 8

Mexican weaving, Vtec 9x telephoto lens, no zoom

Vtec lenses and iOS 8

Mexican weaving, Vtec 9x telephoto lens, full zoom

Vtec lenses and iOS 8

Mexican weaving, Vtec 12x telephoto lens, no zoom

Vtec lenses and iOS 8

Mexican weaving, Vtec 12x telephoto lens, full zoom

To my untrained eye, these results look significantly different from the test shots I originally took when I first got my Vtec lenses in January of 2013. (I don’t remember what iOS was on my iPhone at the time.) The clarity is not as good, particularly around the edges. And some of the photos look warped and bowed. Only the 12x telephoto lens seems to be taking photos of the same quality under iOS 8 as it did under previous systems.


The good news is, the Camera App in iOS 8 does seem to be better. My photos are much clearer, even at full zoom. I’ll do more testing, but it’s looking like I may be retiring my suite of Vtec lenses after less than 2 years of use!


Have you upgraded your iPhone to iOS 8? Have you noticed any differences in the Camera App, specifically in the quality of the photos you can take? Please tell us about them in the comments below!

And if you have not upgraded, and you’re interested in a nice set of Vtec lenses, email me and we can discuss the possibilities!


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