Love it or hate it, the Soratama Crystal Ball Lens is unlike any optic we’ve ever seen. Falling somewhere between a filter and a crystal ball, this bizarre invention allows the user to shoot scenes that appear to be floating inside a glass ball.
Taking pictures with a crystal sphere is nothing new; tools like Lensballs are popular among photographers who want to shoot something a little different from your average landscape or portrait. Lensbaby even makes a whole range of creative lenses, including the very affordable flip-up Lensbaby Spark 2.0 and the Lensbaby Velvet 28. However, this lens invented by Zenji Uehara is slightly different in that the crystal ball is attached to a filter you attach. to the front of your lens via an extension tube.
• Learn more: The best Lensbaby and Lomography lenses
While you could argue that this effect could be achieved in the best photo editing software, there’s something nice about using an in-camera tool instead. Just as some music producers prefer to use hardware when creating sounds, it’s nice to create something that feels more organic.
Chances are if you’re a professional photographer, you’re probably not going to buy this to keep in your kit bag. But if you’re looking for a fun way to shoot something a little different, this is an easy way to create images that won’t look like anyone else’s.
It looks like the lens can only be purchased from eBay at the moment and since it ships from Japan you cannot expect next day delivery. It will fit most lenses as long as you have the correct size raise or lower ring, and the included extension tube is a must, unless you are shooting with a macro lens which has a very small focusing distance on point. Prices range from $52-120 (around £40-90 / AU$70-160), which is still very cheap even for a creative purpose, and best of all – free shipping from some sellers.
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