What actually is it? Well, it’s not technically a lens. The Lensbaby Obscura doesn’t have lens elements or an aperture like a standard lens but offers a Pinhole, Zone Plate and Pinhole Sieve for you to easily switch between depending on your scene. These types of pinholes pose a truly creative and technical photographic challenge as it is not as simple snapping a photo as you usually would - There are fewer choices and those choices involve a delicate balancing act between light and dark and can produce unique flare and distortions that aren’t possible to capture in-camera with standard lenses. Unlike most pinholes, Lensbaby’s Obscura is made up of three layers of chrome with a 0.00014mm thickness deposited on 1.5mm thick glass, and then an anti-reflective coating. Set up your tripod, your long exposure and let the light pour in.
Lensbaby Obscura 50 Lens Key Features:
This isn’t technically what we would call a lens
Easily switch between Pinhole, Zone Plate & Pinhole Sieve
A clear, round hole in the middle of a metal plate
Create ethereal and dream-like creative images
A creative and technical photographic challenge
The pinhole has an effective 50mm focal length
A high-quality construction, unlike most pinhole setups
Three layers of chrome with a 0.00014mm thickness
1.5mm thick glass with an anti-reflective coating
The pinhole feature zero aperture diaphragm blades
Able to clean the pinhole lens as you usually would
Offers a high-quality 128K dpi resolution
Available in a range of camera mount fittings
What’s in the box?
1 x Lensbaby Obscura 50mm Lens
1 x Front Lens Cap
1 x Rear Lens Cap
What do the three types of pinhole offer?
So, the lens offers a Pinhole, Zone Plate & Pinhole Sieve. The pinhole is not technically a lens that offers a clear, round hole to let light in. The pinhole sieve is a field of pinholes with the centre pinhole being the largest and increasingly smaller pinholes radiating away from the centre. Finally, there’s the zone plate that offers a series of clear circular rings surrounding a centre hole with each of the clear zones equaling the area of the pinhole in the centre resulting in increasingly thinner zones as you move away from the centre of the zone plate. All three options offer different levels of image detail and different looks to the photos you can take.
What is the maximum aperture?
Well, seeing as there are no aperture blades there’s just the single pinhole. The Zone Plate offers an f32; the Pinhole Sieve f64 and the Pinhole offers a maximum aperture of f161. Because of this, you have to set up your camera for long exposures.
What is the minimum focusing distance?
Your minimum focusing distance differs between all three shooting options: The Zone Plate: 0.27m, Pinhole Sieve: 0.24m and the Pinhole: 0.001m.
Can I clean the lens like my standard lenses?
Unlike most pinholes that are literally just a hole in a sheet of metal, the Lensbaby Obscura’s pinhole is protected by a 1.5mm thick glass plate that can be cleaned as you usually would your lenses.