Lensbaby, the leader in award-winning creative effect camera lenses, is launching its revolutionary Obscura lens. A camera obscura, the ancestor of the photographic camera, is a darkened room with a small hole or lens at one side through which an image is projected onto a wall or table opposite the hole. Dating back to the 4th century BCE, this experience is the earliest image projection technique known to the industry.

Lensbaby is hosting a virtual launch party on June 21st where the newest Obscura lens will be revealed. Free tickets are available on Lensbaby’s website.

The Lensbaby Obscura comes in two versions — a 50mm Pinhole/Zone Plate/Pinhole Sieve optic for their Optic Swap System, and a standalone 16mm Pinhole/Zone Plate/Pinhole Sieve pancake lens (though pinholes are not technically lenses) for mirrorless cameras.

“Pinhole photography taught me to see composition, contrast, leading lines, and the shape of things in ways that led me to make some of my most powerful images,” says Craig Strong, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer at Lensbaby, Inc. “We created the Obscura so that you could learn and grow while using a technologically advanced pinhole lens with options. It’s the Lensbaby twist to old-world imagery.”

Photographers and creators who connect most with using an Obscura are those who enjoy working with fewer choices and are willing to challenge themselves to redefine what it means to create photographic art.

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  1. Sounds like a lot of money for a small hole!
    Yes! A typical pinhole is roughly 0.3mm diameter, which works out at about $800/mm for their 16mm lens. Scaling that up to the 150mm diameter of a 600mm f/lens works out to $120,000.
  2. A pinhole lens should cost about the same as an extension tube, i.e. about $50.
    EF pinholes are backordered, so I guess the price has more to do with COVID-19 crisis and lack of competition than real manufacturing costs.
  3. Going into more detail, Lensbaby aren't just marketing a simple pinhole. They also have a zone plate, which is a primitive Fresnel lens like in the DO technology, and also a variant with a large pinhole surrounded by rings of smaller ones. These have much more effective aperture than a simple pinhole.
  4. You can make your own ‘pinhole’ lens for $5 max. Take a body cap, drill a hole in it in the center, cover the hole with foil tape then stick a pin in it. Done.

    If you want a different focal length then use extension tubes with it.

    if you want it to be sharper make one with a smaller hole but you are going to have to make your exposure longer.

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