I first shared the ultra hip iPhone Rangefinder in my bi-monthly Snap Spot column, and now I have one of my very own so that I can tell you all about the pros and cons of the case and its accompanying lenses.

The iPhone Rangefinder is an iPhone case that looks like a real camera. In fact, it looks so much like a camera that it will fool nearly everyone who sees you use it, so if you want to be noticed, this is the case to own. While you can buy this case on its own, Photojojo sells it alongside a set of magnetic lenses – a must have addition, in my opinion.

The Good

Strangers, passersby, friends, co-workers, and family will all marvel over your camera-style case, and I am not exaggerating. I had a slew of compliments on the case wherever I went, and some people were amazed to see me pick up my “camera” and talk on it. Even in person, it looks like a genuine vintage camera from a short distance away.

In addition to looking impressive, the case is also functional. While the viewfinder could have used some improvement to be more useful, I was able to look through it to take photos, and I loved that the volume shutter button worked with the case. It made picture taking a breeze.

I liked the case, but I Ioved the lenses that came along with it. The lenses come in fisheye, macro, and zoom varieties, all of which worked well with my iPhone. Each one uses a removable magnetic ring to attach to the phone, which made switching them out a simple task. They also come with a strap attachments and covers, so you can keep them handy at all times.

The macro lens was my favorite, and it allowed me to take ultra close up photos, which is a lot of fun when combined with Instagram and other photo apps. As you can see in the photos below, I was able to take photos with the lens that I was not able to take without it.

With Macro Lens

Without Macro Lens

Photojojo’s fisheye lens was also a lot of fun, but it may not be to everyone’s taste. Personally, I love a good fisheye photo, because it can turn an ordinary picture into something much more visually interesting.

Fun with Fisheye

The Bad

If you like your cases slim, or prefer the feel of a naked phone, the iPhone Rangefinder is not the case for you. It is large, bulky, and does not fit comfortably in the average pocket. It’s a case that’s designed for looks above functionality.

While most buttons are useable while the case is on, the vibrate/silence button can’t be reached. If you need to turn your phone to vibrate, the case has to be removed.

Though the case looks good, it’s a bit flimsy. It’s made of plastic and doesn’t feel solid. When using it while talking on the phone it can be awkward to hold, but that’s cancelled out by the looks you get from people when you begin talking on your camera.

The telephoto lens, though an improvement over the iPhone’s normal camera, was the least impressive of the three. That 2X zoom just wasn’t enough to make switching out lenses worthwhile most of the time, but it definitely came in handy a few times. You can see the difference between that lens and no lens in the photos below.

Fence Squirrel, No Lens

Fence Squirrel with Telephoto Lens

Aside from the slightly unimpressive telephoto lens, I had no complaints about the lenses. They were simple to put on and take off, and worked perfectly with and without the iPhone Rangefinder case.

The lenses will definitely work with some cases, but not all. As long as a case has a wide enough camera opening, the lenses will be compatible.

Verdict

At $55 alone or $95 with the lenses, the iPhone Rangefinder case is an expensive purchase. It is, however, well worth it if you want a case that stands out from the crowd, and if you don’t mind the bulk. This is the perfect case for those of you who are serious iPhonographers – it will let the world know that you’re an Instagram superstar.

The iPhone Rangefinder is great for those of you who like to be different, but the lenses are far more universal. These are a great choice for everyone, and will spice up your photos, making portraits and landscapes alike more interesting to look at.

The best part? While the iPhone Rangefinder is limited to those of you who are sticking with the iPhone 4 and 4S, those lenses will work perfectly with the new iPhone 5.

You can get your own iPhone Rangefinder case on the Photojojo website for $55 (case alone) or $95 (case with lenses). You can also purchase all three lenses on their own. It’s $49 for the trio, but they can be bought individually for $20-$25 as well.