As if I needed anymore camera gear! I now use my iPod, iPhone, Canon Powershot (point & shoot), GoPro Hero 3, DJI Spark Drone, all the necessary mounts and travel tripods and now I’ve added an 80mm Crystal Ball (or Spherical Lens) to the collection and I love it…even though it does weigh the same as a baby elephant…Here are some of my tips for Crystal Ball photography!
There are several different sizes of spherical lenses, I had read that 80mm is a good size when it comes to photography as it has a slightly bigger surface area to capture a clearer picture. I would say I have to agree. I definitely wouldn’t want it any bigger due to the weight but it’s big enough for me to be really happy with the clarity of the image.
All the images in this post were taken with my point and shoot camera, yes on auto, but I find it works just as well when using my iPod or iPhone. I didn’t specifically set it on macro, my camera managed to pick up the image within the lens and ‘do its thing’ with the background all by itself.
It’s a little fiddly setting up the shot, I’m not sure if using a DSLR or a bigger camera would give the flexibility without needing to have somebody else hold the lens. Some lenses come with a base, or I’ve started carrying a golf tee to balance it on for the hands free shots but this obviously wouldn’t work for above shots such as looking up at treetops!
You can just pick it up and shoot through it, but the magic happens in post production…it’s worth considering this when taking the picture! For example, the picture below has been cropped and rotated upside down. The lens flips everything upside down, which in some cases is fine. But having a flag upside down would look a little silly. I wanted the final image to look natural and not smack you in the face obvious that I’d flipped it.
This meant when I took the photo, I was holding the lens from the top, so when I rotated it, I’d be holding it from the bottom. I then cropped the background to remove anything that looked blatantly upside down.
It works best with contrasting colours or an obvious focal point. When just pointing at a landscape, it struggles to pick anything up. Bright leaves against a solid coloured background…cloudy white sky or blue sky, both work!…really bright flowers against the green ground etc. It then works putting it into black and white too! I’d love to try it out on something like a sunset!
Strangely enough, I’ve found the best way to store it/carry it around, is….in a sock! I use a fuzzy winter type slipper sock. I like the way it fits in tight. I twist the sock just above the lens and then fold it back over itself as a double layer and I feel that each time I slide it out, it’s kinda cleaning it off and giving it a polish before I use it!
Where to buy a Crystal Ball Lens
Disclosure: The following link is an affiliate for your ease!
Amazon currently have the following for $14.99…
Disclosure: Please note some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking. It comes at no extra cost to you but it helps me with the running of this site! As always, opinions are my own.