OMNI creative filter system
Lensbaby is a well-established creative effect lens producer, and every photographer who likes in-camera experiments has heard of the company. The newest product created by Lensbaby is not a lens, though, but a creative filter system. I was looking forward to testing the OMNI; for me, any product helping the process of shooting through various objects is worth checking out.
What's in the box?
OMNI system includes a filter ring with two magnetic mounts and a pair of attachment arms, three effect wands, step-up/down rings, filter wrench and a filth pouch. The system comes in two different sizes that fit different filter thread formats: 49-58mm or 62-82mm. I choose the latter option, which includes a native size of 77mm and step-up/down rings: 62mm, 67mm, 72mm, 82mm. It means you can mount OMNI on a variety of lenses. You can additionally get an expansion pack that includes three additional effect wands and a pouch.
How does the OMNI work?
You attach the filter ring directly to the lens or via a step-up/down ring and mount the effect wands to the ring by using its magnetic mounts. You can also use the magnetic attachment arms for more flexibility. Then you twist and move the wands until you get the desired effect and voila! The filters give you subtle light flare-like effects or even a reflection of motives not included in the frame. You can use one or up to four filters at the same time.
The build of all the elements of the OMNI system is sturdy. The magnetic mounts lock the wands into positions you want and ensure consistency both for photo and video. The product is straightforward to use, and its size makes it easy to fit into any photo bag.
The filters work best when the scene is well lit, the lens used is 50mm, or longer and aperture settings ensure that the filters are completely out of focus. All those parameters make sure that filters create desired distortion without being seen in the photograph. For me, OMNI is a great way to add some interest in the photos or hide disturbing elements. Additionally, they fit my high-key style with light and subtle distortions.
Why use OMNI and not Photoshop?
Photography is all about capturing light — there is no better way to do so than capturing it in-camera. You can create a lot of the effects of Lensbaby's latest product in post-production, but is that the point? I think it is essential to create organic effects in both photography and video, and OMNI innovatively helps with that.
For me, the filter system from Lensbaby is a very creative product that you can use in a variety of situations. If it fits your style of photography, then you won't be disappointed. Since I got it a week ago, I already used it to create some shots for a short documentary film. I am also planning two photography projects build around the filters, so stay tuned for more crystal effects.