Lensbaby Obscura isn’t a lens, Obscura is an extraordinary experience crafted in the origins of photography. Photographers and creators who connect most with using an Obscura are those who embrace working with fewer choices and are willing to challenge themselves to redefine what it means to create photographic art. Lensbaby Obscura envelopes photographer and lens in an elegant dance between light and dark while bringing unique flare and image artifacts that aren’t possible to achieve in-camera with any standard camera lens.
The Lensbaby Obscura comes in three versions. A 50mm Pinhole/Zone Plate/Pinhole Sieve optic - for our Optic Swap System, a standalone 50mm Pinhole/Zone Plate/ Pinhole Sieve, and a standalone 16mm Pinhole/Zone Plate/Pinhole Sieve pancake lens for mirrorless cameras.
A pinhole is not, technically, a lens but is a clear, round hole in a thin piece of material, usually metal.
A pinhole sieve is a field of pinholes with the center pinhole being the largest and increasingly smaller pinholes radiating away from the center.
A zone plate is a series of clear circular rings surrounding a center hole with each of the clear zones equaling the area of the pinhole in the center resulting in increasingly thinner zones as you move away from the center of the zone plate.
Most pinholes, unlike the Obscura’s imaging elements, are very delicate and easily damaged, typically being produced as small holes in thin sheets of metal with knife sharp edges at the edge of the holes required to efficiently focus light. The Obscura’s pinhole, zone plate and pinhole sieve are made up of three layers of chrome with a total thickness of 0.00014mm deposited on 1.5mm thick glass before anti-reflective coating is applied. With a resolution of 128K dpi, this photolithography process not only makes true zone plates with excellent light transmission, it produces perfectly round pinholes and precision zone plate zones. Photographers can clean the Obscura’s glass as they would any camera lens, without fear of destroying and of the three imaging options.
The zone plate and pinhole sieve options produce more detail than the pinhole option. This underlying detail is surrounded by glow. Raising contrast and bumping up vibrance and/or saturation can bring a zone plate or pinhole sieve image to life.
The zone plate has a curved field of focus, creating a sweet spot while the pinhole and pinhole sieve have much similar resolving power at the corner of the image as they do in the center.