The Lensbaby Obscura Pinhole Lens

March 11, 2022

 

If you are someone who likes the status quo, never wants to take a chance, and hates a challenge, this next part and this next lens are not for you. 

However, if you like new things, want something interesting and exciting, or have ever been interested in pinhole photography and you are going to love the Lensbaby Obscura.   

Pinhole photography or the Obscura camera effect has been around forever. There is information about the camera obscura effect dating back to 300 to 600 BCE.

As a child, I played with the effect by taking a cardboard box poking a pinhole in it, and then observing the inverted image on the opposite side of the box. 

The new Lensbaby Obscura is the furthest thing from that cardboard box. Lensbaby has taken a type of photography that’s always been crude at best and refined it.  Their finished product is a very impressive high tech-looking device. It is the most innovative design for a pinhole lens ever.   

Just for clarification, all the testing I did with the obscurest 16 was on a full spectrum converted Canon EOS-R and a natural Color, unconverted Canon EOS-R.  The lens has an RF mount. 

Here take a look. 

The lens is so small that you will never have trouble finding space for it in your bag.  On your camera, it almost looks like you forgot to put a lens on.

So, how does it work? 

You simply mount the lens on your camera and any adjustments that you want to make you do so on the front of the lens. There are three settings on the Obscura 16 f/90, f/45, and f/22. 

You change the f-stop by rotating the ring inside the front of the lens.  It’s very easy to do and only takes a second. 

 

Now the first thing that everyone always asked me about a lens for infrared is “does it have a hot spot?”  

The short answer is, no it has no hotspots.   If you think about it though it really shouldn’t. Hot spots are caused by the coating on the inside barrel of a lens reflecting infrared light into the center of the sensor. This lens doesn’t have a barrel and is so close to your sensor I don’t see how it could possibly have the ability to create a hotspot.

So that’s good news for us infrared photographers 

Now let’s discuss the most important thing about using the Lensbaby Obscura 16. 

 Your sensor needs to be completely clean.

I cannot stress this enough. 

This is embarrassing, but I’m going to show you how my first outing with the Obscura 16 went. 

I took a series of shots and then sat down and reviewed them.

I stopped counting at about 15 spots.  This is NOT the fault of the lens, but completely my fault. 

Luckily I had equipment with me to clean the sensor in my car and was able to correct the situation. 

Anything on your sensor will be seen. 

Once you realize that you will have no issues. 

The process of image capture was exciting to me.  The best way I can explain it is shooting with the Obscura 16 is more of an analog experience than digital.  I love digital photography and hope I never shoot film again.  Sticking a card in my camera and having thousands of frames to use still thrills me. 

With that said, there are many aspects of film photography that I did enjoy. Shooting with the Obscura 16 is similar to that.  Some aspects of digital photography have become so technical that sometimes I think the artistic aspects of image capture can be lost or diluted.  This lens was very different from everything else that I’ve shot with, and I was definitely out of my comfort zone which was great! I didn’t feel at all proficient with this lens when I started shooting with it and even after shooting with it for a while now I still realize I have more to learn. So, if you’re someone who’s getting a little bored with your photography I would recommend this lens. It’s probably the artsiest lens out there right now.  

So, what did I make with it? 

Glad you ask.

With regards to post-production, I was once again a bit out of my comfort zone a bit, but I enjoyed where the images took me.

This image

Became this, by using NIK Analog Efex and adding a sepia tone to it. 

I also found myself drawn to monochrome a lot.

But, color Infrared also works.

 

 

 

 

So, what do you think?  

Want to know about this lens?  Click Here

 

 


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