3-in-1 lens brings sweet bokeh to mirrorless cameras


Just a twist will bring dreamy effects to pictures made with a mirrorless camera.
Just a twist will bring dreamy effects to pictures made with a mirrorless camera.
Photo: Lensbaby

Thanks to a software feature on the iPhone 7 camera, Apple fans are getting familiar with a term once heard in a language only spoken by photographers – bokeh.

It’s a Japanese word that means blur and the bokeh in a photograph refers to the areas that are not in focus. Creamy and dream are the effects when perfectly executed, especially with portraits, where a tack-sharp face pops against a background swirled in colors, light and distorted shapes

Before there was even an iPhone, the art optics company Lensbaby was producing lenses that gave photographers an affordable option to bring maximum bokeh to their work. On Wednesday, Lensbaby introduced a 3-in-1 lens for mirrorless cameras.

Your GoPro videos will do a 180 with this Lensbaby fisheye


How's that for perspective? Lensbaby gives your GoPro camera a new view.
How's that for perspective? Lensbaby gives your GoPro camera a new view.
Photo: Anthony Sims/Lensbaby

Lensbaby and GoPro. Pair the creator of artistic effects lenses with the king of the action cam and things could get interesting.

Lensbaby hopes so has it rolls out its Circular 180+ lens to fit the Hero series of GoPro point of view action cameras.

Lensbaby your way to dreamy iPhone photos


One of the lenses in the Creative Mobile Kit by Lensbaby.
One of the lenses in the Creative Mobile Kit by Lensbaby.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

We love our iPhone cameras because it takes away the need for technical know-how and leaves us with nothing but fun for our photography. But sometimes fun needs to be turned up a notch.

Enter the Creative Mobile Kit from Lensbaby, a two-lens package that turns any scene into a dreamy state of smeary colors and blurred shapes that surround the focus of a subject. Just clip on the kit’s magnetic mount bracket, select a lens and go play.

Lensbaby for iPhone is frustrating yet awesome


The lensbaby LM-10, shot through a fisheye lens and two mirrors.
The Lensbaby LM-10, shot through a fisheye lens and two mirrors. Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

I like the Lensbaby that I have for my regular camera, but I frikkin’ love the Lensbaby LM–10 for the iPhone. Like most things that make the trip from elsewhere to iOS, the little Lensbaby offers a subset of the original’s features, but they are – dare I say – a more focused set of features.

Let’s just say the iPhone Lensbaby is about the funnest iPhoneography accessory around.

Gadget Watch: Bags, bags and … bags. Plus, some cool new camera gear



Gadget Watch: Aug. 23, 2014

Bags, bags, bags. Literally – there are three hot bags in this week’s gadget roundup, and if you buy them all, you’ll be out by around a grand. Or you could buy the ultra-expensive Leica M-P, a new camera so minimal it doesn’t even have the trademark red dot on the front, yet still costs $8,000. Or you can go to the other end of the price range and pick up LensBaby’s new iPhone optic for just $70. And that’s just the beginning…

The Attaché leather bag

H.O.T. Those are the three letters that best describe Pad & Quill’s new Attaché bag, a beautiful leather satchel with unbreakable, high-copper-content hardware and parachute-grade stitching on the outside. Inside, you'll find padded MacBook and iPad pockets, plus orange suede pocket linings.

As a bonus, the marketing copy for the Attaché seems to have been written by Hannibal Lecter, containing this line: “Your taste buds and your liver deserve top shelf [and to be] savored in a glass.” (some words added for comedic effect). How much? $420

Dragon device holder

You can’t get much simpler than the Dragon device holder – it’s a pair of aluminum clips that snap onto the cylinder at the back of your Apple wireless keyboard and slide up and down, letting you space them to fit anything from an iPad to an iPod nano. The clips have a tail at the back to provide stability, and a little lip at the front to hook the bottom edge of your gadget. If you use a full-size keyboard with your iPad, this little gadget should be in your bag. $25

Brooks Hampstead holdall

This bag comes from Brooks, the English bike saddle maker. Weighing in at a hefty 1.6 kilos (well over 3 pounds), it has a roll-top enclosure and adjustable clips that can attach the bag to the rear rack of your bike. The body is “water resistant cotton” and the straps are leather. The price? Around $400.

Leica M-P

In: 2GB RAM (double that of the Leica M). Sapphire glass cover for the camera's rear LCD.

Out: The Leica red dot

Price? $8,000

KERO Power Annex

There’s little to say about KERO’s micro-suction portable battery other than, “What a frikkin’ great idea.” It’s a regular, modest-capacity backup battery (1800mAh, which will get your iPhone back to 75 percent) with a USB port and status-indicator LEDs, but on one side it has a micro-suction layer so you can stick it to the back of your iPhone, over and over. This is so much smarter than having to use a special case to clip the battery on, or just using a case with a built-in battery pack. Or you could do what I do, which is use a regular backup battery and a rubber band. $19

Pyle Smart Bicycling Computer (with Google Maps)

The Pyle PSBCG90 Smart Bicycling Computer tracks your rides with GPS and displays them on Google Maps back at your computer. You can also hook up any ANT+ accessories wirelessly (heart rate and cadence sensors, power meters and so on), and even challenge yourself, Mario Kart-style, using the ghost-route feature. It looks like a decent alternative to something like the Garmin EDGE 500, and it costs only $130.


Lensbaby for iPhone

Lensbaby now makes a sweet-spot lens for the iPhone. It sticks on with magnets (you need to stick the included ring over the iPhone’s lens) and blurs everything in your photos except a sharp sweet spot in the center. It's just like the regular Lensbabys, only less adjustable and made for the iPhone. There’s another neat feature – the front has a metal ring on it, too, so you can attach any other iPhone lenses you have onto the Lensbaby for some really freaky FX. $70

TenOne Magnus Air

The Magnus Air updates the minimalistical Magnus that originally shipped for the iPad 2, way back in the mists of 2012. Typical of TenOne’s design, it is so simple it almost doesn’t exist, sticking to the Air with magnets and adding an almost invisible stand that holds your iPad at 22 degrees from the vertical, and at 22 degrees from the horizontal if you lay it down to type. And that’s it – an aluminum bracket that looks kinda like a taco shell, for $40.

Cobra Brief

Fact: Cobra Brief is the name I gave to my favorite pair of underwear. And now, it is also the name of a “business laptop” bag from Booq. It has all the compartments and pockets you’d expect, with a space for almost literally everything, plus an outer quick-access pocket for your iPhone and iPad. You can even hook it onto the top of your carry-on trolley, allowing you to be one of those morons who sneaks too many bags into the plane and takes up all the overhead bin space. $295

Lensbaby For iPhone Hits The Sweet Spot


Lensbaby’s new iPhone lens looks awesome. Or it would, if it didn’t attach with magnets. Yes, it’s a super-strong magnet and might therefore avoid the problem suffered by all other magnetically-attached iPhone lenses: they are hell to keep aligned.

But you still have to glue a metal ring onto the back of your iPhone.

Lensbaby Spark Distorts Your Photos For Just $80


Buy this. Now. You will not regret it.
Buy this. Now. You will not regret it.

Like any good father, I love my Lensbabys. Screwed onto the front of my camera they distort the world just enough to make looking at it more interesting, and therefore make me take better photos. But for some, these lenses — which let the photographer move a "sweet-spot" of sharp focus around an otherwise blurred frame — are expensive novelties.

Well, they might still be novelties, but the new Lensbaby Spark are anything but expensive.

Lensbaby Pro Effects Kit Is A Great Way To Save $55


Struggling to get rid of that last $750? Lensbaby has just the thing for you

If you have been thinking about dipping a photographic toe into the contrasty, blurred waters of Lensbaby’s lenses, and you happen to have $750 (but not $805) lying around the house with nothing to spend it on, then perhaps you might consider the Pro Effects Kit, a bundle of some of Lensbaby’s funnest gear, all in its own special bag.