Lensball Review : Something Completely Different

Chris Burns - Aug 3, 2018
1
Lensball Review : Something Completely Different
Editors' Rating: 8/10
Pros
  • It's a flawless sphere of crystal
  • It provides unique photo opportunities
  • It comes with a nice little pouch
  • It's beautiful with or without use as a photo lens
  • It can start a fire
Cons
  • It's expensive for something I don't really need
  • Now that I have it, I need to own it ASAP
  • I constantly feel like I'm going to break it
  • It can get smudgy if not cleaned
  • It can start a fire

There are two versions of the Lensball. One’s called the Lensball Pocket – that’s 60mm and weighs 250gr (0.55 pounds). The Lensball Pro is 80mm and weighs 650gr (1.45 pounds). Both versions come in a simple padded box and both come with a soft material pouch. I would not recommend dropping either one of these pieces of glass, with or without the pouch, as we’re not dealing with the least fragile piece of equipment here, regardless of guarantees of ruggedness.

The examples of photos taken with the Lensball and of the Lensball here are only a few examples of what’s possible with this object. You can find a WHOLE BUNCH more over on Instagram or anywhere hashtags work – look for #lensball and you shall see. Most examples have the ball held directly in the center of the frame – but don’t let that hold you back.

Most of the time here on SlashGear I’m reviewing electronic devices, but every once in a while I get to check out an item that’s all about simplicity and usefulness. With the Lensball, I’m also judging craftsmanship – since any little flaw would really ruin the whole experience.

Lucky us, this ball’s whole value proposition is in perfection of execution. This is a perfect spherical piece of crystal. Of that you can be sure.

NOTE: The device I took photos with for this review is the Google Pixel 2 XL. Keep that in mind when analyzing the photos, top to bottom.

Unlike most of the things I review here on SlashGear, you really don’t need to have any sort of specialized skill to enjoy it or use it. Even if you don’t want to use it for photographs, Lensball is the sort of object where the medium is the message. It has an inherent beauty. Just don’t leave it near a window on your nightstand.*

ABOVE: See if you can spot the bunny rabbit! BELOW: This is what happens when you have smudgy fingerprints and take photos without cleaning the surface of the Lensball.

Each one of these balls is guaranteed scratch-free hardened K9 crystal. There’s a big impressive process each ball is said to go through before being boxed up – have a peek at that here in a few shots in this gallery:

The Lensball company is located in Enschede, the Netherlands. Right this minute they make crystal balls for photography specifically, and that’s ALL THEY DO. They’ve got a section on their online store called “Secret Add-ons”, but it remains empty as of the publishing of this review.

Wrap-up

The larger Lensball costs approximately $40 and the smaller is $30 over on Amazon right now with Prime. You can absolutely find cheaper crystal balls for sale online, but you’ll not likely find one more flawless, nor one with the guarantees with which this one’s delivered. I’ve had this 80mm (original Lensball Pro) review unit for a week and a half and I’ve barely begun snapping up the photos I’d like to take with it.

ABOVE: Out of focus, reflection in the ball instead of view through the Lensball. BELOW: Upside-down photo gives you a right side up subject through the Lensball.

*BONUS: It CAN start fires

*Here’s the thing. This crystal has a magnifying effect that is so very strong, it can start a fire. You should NOT leave this crystal ball out in the sun. This is why fancy crystal ball-toting psychics keep a cover on their hardware – they don’t want to burn down their tents!

I found out about this situation whilst walking around downtown taking the odd shot here and there. I kept feeling a pinch-like feeling on my hand whenever I was holding the ball aloft. Almost like a bug bite, or a bee sting. Lensball was burning my flesh as I took fancy photos, yes indeed.

Do not worry, I did not destroy my skin with this Lensball, I just became a tiny bit uncomfortable. Also I did not go full Bart Simpson and kill any ants or anything such as that, for I am not cruel.

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