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DxO One review: A better camera for your iPhone

William Porter | Oct. 22, 2015
Camera add-on brings DSLR quality to the iPhone.

I do have a few complaints about the app. You can tap on the screen to indicate where you want to target exposure and focus; but after 15 seconds, the app will move the target back to the center. I really wish I could tap to do everything: autofocus, adjust exposure, and snap the picture. Finally, at the time of this writing, the app doesn’t do burst shooting, take sweep panoramas, or have a time-lapse option.

Balancing act

Holding both phone and camera takes a little getting used to. The DxO One balances somewhat better with a normal-sized iPhone 5 or 6 than it does with my oversized iPhone 6 Plus. I didn't try connecting DxO One to an iPad, but I suspect this might be awkward.

holding the DxO One 
How I hold the camera at eye-level. I do this mainly when I want to use the flash. The goals here are: don’t drop camera or iPhone; don’t cover up the DxO One’s lens; and don’t cover up the iPhone’s flash. Credit: William Porter

shooting technique with the DxO One 
My normal shooting technique with the DxO One: camera held at chest level or below, lens pointed forward, the iPhone display tilted up. This is how I learned to use a camera eons ago with Rollei and Yashica twin-lens reflex cameras and I get a retro kick out of it. But it’s also the easiest way to hold everything securely without accidentally sliding a finger over the lens of the camera. Credit: William Porter

It took a day or two for me to learn how to keep my right index finger from obstructing the DxO One’s lens. You can hold the iPhone and DxO One in the same plane flat in front of your face, but the fact that the DxO One’s Lightning connector tilts 60 degrees in either direction provides options. You can even plug the DxO One in backward, point it at yourself and take a pro-level selfie.

Battery life is okay for occasional use but lousy if you want to shoot a lot. Since the DxO doesn’t have a removable/replaceable battery, when I knew I’d be shooting all day, I stuck a small supplemental charging unit in another pocket.

DxO One advantages

DxO built a better camera for the iPhone by keeping what’s already great (the iPhone’s display) and providing an alternative to what’s not so great about the iPhone camera (the lens and the sensor). This is where DxO draws upon its internationally-recognized expertise in lens and sensor testing.

10  1000909 dxo 
Olympus E-M1 (left) and iPhone and DxO One (right). The iPhone’s display, which is used by the DxO One app, is roughly the same resolution as the wonderful display on my Olympus OM-D E-M1, but the iPhone’s display is much larger. (The iPhone shown here is a 6 Plus. A normal iPhone 6’s display would be smaller but still physically larger than the E-M1’s display.) Credit: William Porter

 

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