When we set out to design our Core rig for Apple's current generation iPhones, we spent a lot of time thinking about how we could take advantage of the iPhone 7 Plus’s dual cameras and expanded focal range, while still remaining true to our core tenets of reliability, precision and utility. Initially, we played around with a design idea that would allow us to take advantage of the dual cameras (please see picture below), but it simply didn’t meet our standards for reliability, so we went back to the drawing board. We toyed around with other design directions, but each one compromised what we stand for.
(Early design direction for iPhone 7 Plus)
Ultimately, after running into a few dead ends, we came up with an exciting solution. The Helium Core for the iPhone 7 Plus has both the same beautiful, compact, durable chassis and the numerous accessory mounting points as the iPhone 6 designs, but this version now features a precision lens mount that will allow you to take advantage of both the wide and the tele cameras in the iPhone 7 Plus. The lens mount on the new Helium Core can be flipped so that it's centered over either of the two cameras, while still providing the ability to use both cameras when a lens isn't mounted.
(Helium Core for iPhone 7 Plus prototype, with "flippable" lens mount positioned over tele camera)
Regardless of which camera you center the lens mount over, you still automatically get concentric alignment between the camera and lens mount when you insert your iPhone 7 Plus into the Helium Core. No eyeballing and no having to make adjustments to center the lens mount when you insert your iPhone. That means you save time when setting your rig up, and never have to worry that the lens mount will drift during use. When you’re shooting with nice glass such as the Exolens Pro with Optics by Zeiss or Moondog Labs anamorphic adapter, you want that precise alignment in order to take full advantage of the optical capabilities those lenses allow you. For those of you who own the 37mm version of the Moondog Labs anamorphic, we've also developed a lens positioning tool for your rig, so that it's always correctly oriented in relation to the iPhone sensor.
As with the iPhone 6 versions of the product, we’ve designed this version of the Helium Core to support Moment lenses, using the Moment lens plate. And again, you don’t have to use the adhesive on the plate - simply place it in between your Helium Core and your iPhone 7 Plus for solid mechanical engagement.
(Picture shows prototype of Helium Core for iPhone 7 Plus with Moment lens plate)
Since you can position the lens mount over either one of the two cameras, you open yourself up to a number of new focal lengths. As an example, when using the Exolens Pro wide angle lens, which has a 0.6x multiplier, you now have focal lengths of 16.8mm, 28mm, 33.6mm and 56mm. When using the Exolens Pro telephoto, you can now double the length of the iPhone's tele and shoot at 112mm. The pictures below show the various focal lengths available to you when you’re shooting with these two lenses. Please don't mind the reflections in the images - they were shot through a window.
In addition to that, when mounting a macro lens on the Helium Core’s lens mount, you also get better macro capability. The pictures below show the maximum magnification of the Exolens Pro with Optics by Zeiss macro using the wide angle and the tele cameras of the iPhone 7 Plus. The slight softness seen in the telephoto version can be attributed to the fact that the image was shot hand-held.
Here is a side-by-side image showing shots using the Moondog Labs anamorphic adapter on both the wide and the tele cameras. The ability to mount it on either camera opens up a new world of possibilities for your cinematic and photographic projects.
We’re currently finishing testing and making last minute revisions to the product, and we plan to give the go ahead to the factory in the next 2-3 weeks. We spent a lot of time working to make sure that we have a rig that takes full advantage of the exciting camera technology in the iPhone 7 Plus, and can't wait to see how you take advantage of this capability!