Most lenses released these days are clinical and technically perfect. There’s nothing wrong with this, however what if there were some lenses that threw safe and technically perfect out of the window and still performed miracles? If you like to think outside of the box and get creative, these unique lenses will make your work stand out.
The weird lenses listed here will help you get in touch with, and challenge your creative side. Most of the weird lenses listed below won’t break the bank either. More plus points include great build quality, great optics, and for those that feature autofocus motors, they focus quickly. If you’re tired of clinical lenses and want something in your kit that can really add character to your work, check out the five weird lenses we’ve rounded up below.
Unique lenses — Meyer Optik Gorlitz 100mm Trioplan f/2.8 II (multiple mounts)
OK, the Meyer Optik Gorlitz 100mm Trioplan f/2.8 II might be the most normal of the weird lenses we have listed here. Still, it’s here for good reason. Meyer Optik Gorlitz lenses are famous for creating sensational soap-bubble bokeh. This modernized version of a classic lens does not disappoint.
This re-imagined classic features 15 aperture blades that help create the famous soap-bubble bokeh, and a better optical design to improve contrast and resolution. The lens uses a revised triplet optical design that will help you create sharp images across the board. All of this comes packaged in a lens that looks every bit as good as the old vintage classic itself.
Weird lenses — Lensbaby Trio 28mm f/3.5 (multiple mounts)
If you didn’t know, Lensbaby specializes in making weird and unique lenses. They have it down and they consistently make optics that will wow you. The Lensbaby Trio is a pancake-style lens that has three different optics (Sweet, Velvet, and Twist) installed in a rotating dial. If you like to get creative, this lens might be the right one for you.
The Twist lens gives users the look of a Petzval lens. You’ll get a sharp center that’s surrounded by twisty, twirly bokeh. The Sweet optic will create images with a sharp center but with a gradual bokeh-filled fall-off. Lastly, the Velvet lens will give photographers a soft dreamy look. If you want to create images that will really stand out, check out the Lensbaby Trio.
Unique lenses — Venus Optics Laowa 24mm f/14 probe lens (EF mount)
The award for the weirdest consumer camera lens ever made would surely go to the Laowa 24mm f/14 probe lens. Don’t discount this lens based on looks, though. I have seen some very creative photographers make some stunning images and videos with this lens.
The Laowa 24mm f/14 is an incredibly unique macro lens. It provides 2:1 magnification, it has a minimum focusing distance of 1.5 feet and a working distance of 0.8 inches. This lens allows you to get up close and personal with small objects while putting you at a safe working distance. The front element is waterproof, it has a built-in LED light, and it weighs just 1.04lbs. This is one weird unique lens, but it’s genius!
Weird lenses — Lensbaby 35mm Burnside f/2.8 (multiple mounts)
The Lensbaby 35mm f/2.8 Burnside is one of my favorite unique lenses. The Lensbaby 35mm Burnside features two separate diaphragms and a bokeh control dial that allows you to dial in how much swirly bokeh you want in your images.
Not only can you control how much bokeh your images have, but you can also control the quality of the bokeh and how much vignetting appears in your images. You can opt to work on small focus areas or large focus areas. The glass is multi-coated to reduce flares and ghosting, which leads to better colors and contrast. If you want swirly bokeh that you can control, this is the unique lens for you.
Unique lenses — Lensbaby Obscura 16mm (multiple mounts)
The Lensbaby Obscura 16mm is the weirdest lens I have ever used. However, it’s also one of the most fun lenses I have used, too. The Lensbaby Obscura 16mm is a pinhole lens. There’s no way to focus it, you simply have three very different pinhole experiences to choose from — f/22, f/45 and f/90. All three pinholes create very different images. In our review, we said:
“You’ll have to completely rethink your approach to photography and this is what makes it brilliant. In no time, you’ll be having fun with your photography. You’ll be creating instead of just capturing. Put the time in with the Lensbaby Obscura 16mm and you’ll be rewarded.”Gear Editor – Brett Day
If you’re interested in buying unique lenses, honestly, they don’t get much weirder, or more rewarding than the Lensbaby Obscura 16mm. It’s available for just about every camera mount imaginable and it’s incredibly affordable at under $250!