Optrix Review – iPhone Photography For The Active Lifestyle

August 20th, 2013 by Clay Cook

GoPro cameras with their underwater housing units have really revolutionized the world of film making and consumer video. Never before has there been a more fun waterproof and rugged system, although a little pricey. Now a company called Optrix has created waterproof and heavy duty housings for your iPhone, letting you shoot like the GoPro, using a camera you already have! Taking it a step further, Optix features mounts and even interchangeable lenses for incredible footage. As you may know, the Apple iPhone 5 has nearly the same capabilities as the GoPro camera, including recording in full high definition 1080p.

We’ve been really excited to break out the Optrix gear ever since we stumbled onto the product. Once everything arrived, I put the Optrix XD5 Case to the test, a quick underwater test.


I locked my iPhone 5 into the plastic sleeve (which can be used on its own as an iPhone case), then slipped it into the XD5 housing and immediately noticed the aesthetic of the build. The back latch locks securely, and nothing seems cheap or brittle. The housing is well designed and not a victim of overkill, or enormous compared to many cases like the Otter Box. You can still fit theXD5 in your pocket but, sorry Hipsters, this probably won’t fit in the front pocket of your skinny jeans. The interchangeable lenses screw in and out with ease, and you can even use your iPhone like normal withing the case! However, the clear plastic skin covering the display doesn’t form flush with the glass, so don’t expect to write out a long business email or a long text to your mother in under 30 seconds while the phone is still in the housing. Type functions are a tad more difficult due to the tension of the front membrane. (Optrix has a quick solution: simply limit the amount of air that travels into the housing as you lock the back latch creating a suction between the membrane and display glass). The speakers, charging port and headphone jack are all accessible while the iPhone is in the housing, but it’s not fully waterproof when access those ports have been opened (Duh!). Overall, the design is sleek, but sturrdy enough to withstand extreme conditions.

Optrix XD5


I noticed on the XD5′s front packaging a label that touted “Drop-proof up to 30 feet”. Without throwing my iPhone clear across the parking lot or standing on the roof of Outdoor Photo Gear and tossing my $800 life line off into yonder, I simply took their word for it. After perusing a bunch of awesome Optrix videos I landed on this one, that says it all.


I recently purchased a brand new iPhone 5 after my iPhone 4s took a dive into a creek on a canoe trip. I test these products for a living, and yet, I thought a plastic bag was the best waterproof solution. I was very nervous to take the dive underwater, but after pulling out a bone dry iPhone, my faith in “waterproof” labels was restored. Bottom line, this thing worked, and worked well. The only catch I foresee is remembering lens mount. A small yellow o-ring must be installed before screwing in any of lens to guarantee a 100% dry iPhone. Fortunately, Optrix provides extras in case that small o-ring is misplaced or torn, which I could easily see happening, especially in extreme situations. 


Optrix has really upped the ante with their lineup of interchangeable lenses, as most action cameras have a fixed lens. After I took the phone for a dip, I switched out all the lenses and gave each one a quick capture. I’m a super fan of the wide angle fisheye lens and the macro came in a close second for complete coolness. The 0° and telephoto definitely do as they say, but aren’t as definable as the other two. Nevertheless, plenty worth the investment!  As a professional photographer, I can tell you options for composition and framing is a great thing to have on hand!



ChestMount-Optrix-XD5-bundle-2One of the coolest parts about the Optrix XD5 is all the mounts and accessories that can be attached. From the chest mount to the swivel suction mount, the options for sweet composition and crazy shooting are endless. We took a test drive with a few of the mounts and they are solidly built for whatever interesting activities you may put them through. Check out the list of accessories and mounts below:


What a case.  Even if you’re not going to strap this thing to a kayak and run rapids, the Optrix is a complete protection system for your phone.  If you’re heading to the beach, going boating, headed to the desert, loaning your iPhone to your kid, or any other extreme environment, the Optrix does the trick.

Watch out, Go Pro!  All that crazy footage is now within the reach of anyone with an iPhone.  Expect to see more wild stuff on YouTube from now on!

Learn more about Optrix in the OPG Store.



I’m Clay from Outdoor Photo Gear, and today we are testing the Optrix XD5. Here’s my iPhone in this little case, here. We’re going to do the ultimate underwater test by simply putting it in the sink. We’re going to dip it down here. The entire phone is underwater. It’s completely waterproof. It’s still recording. Everything’s good. There you have it, the Optrix XD5.



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