Photography Tool Review: Lensball by Refractique

Will and I obviously do a lot of travel photography but up until now, all we had in our toolbox was a tripod and clicker. During our recent road trip around Perth, we decided to test out the Lensball Vivid (Currently $49.95 AUD) and Brushed Gold Lensball Stand (Currently $24.95 AUD) from the Australian creative photography company, Refractique

If you happen to be based overseas you can also get one from Refractique through the following links: 

Left:Lensball Vivid on the Lensball Stand, Right: Everything with the packaging.

What is the Lensball Vivid?

The Lensball Vivid is an 80mm crystal ball used as a cool innovative, creative photography tool. This particular one from Refractique comes in a package with the following inclusions with the ultra-clear lensball:

  • Starter Guide: 7 Tips for Lensball Photography
  • 4 x Show Case Cards
  • UV Coated Gift Box with beautiful lensball photography surrounding it and lined with foam to protect the ball in transit
  • Microfiber Bag to protect and polish

While the Lensball can be used on its own, you can also purchase the Lensball Stand . The stand has a strong rubber suction cup to securely mount the ball to sit on flat surfaces or you can use ¼ screwing thread to mount on your tripod.

What can you use it for?

1. Landscape Photography

When holding the Lensball in front of a landscape, it gives you an upside down reflection of that landscape onto the ball. Here’s an example for you: 

Lensball Vivid infront of the limestone rocks at The Pinnacles, Perth.

The Lensball basically pulled the surrounding desert view into the sphere so we could focus on it in the foreground, meanwhile closer views of the limestone rocks sat in the background – it’s pretty much a 2 in 1 photo and we started to understand the fun in it! It also made for a great conversation starter with the curious people around us haha.

In addition to this, you can easily flip the image in the ball during post production so it matches the background completely like this:

Lensball Vivid infront of the limestone rocks at The Pinnacles, Perth.

2. Fisheye Photography

We’ve also seen quite a few people crop in real close to their Lensball and rotating their entire image to focus on the ‘fisheye’ effect, so we gave that a try too:

Close-up photos of the fisheye effect

The fisheye effect creates really interesting shapes and compositions after rotating the picture, the ball in your hand gives the illusion of defying gravity which is another artsy plus. 

3. Trick Photography

If you have a bit of Photoshop experience up your sleeve, here’s something cool to try:

  1. Hold the Lensball out infront of you and focus on the ball.
  2. Hold the Lensball in the same location but remove yourself from the picture and keep the focus on the ball. 
  3. Insert the Lensball from Photo #2 into Photo #1 and you’ll have the world in the palm of your hands
Trick Photography with the Lensball

For a cleaner shot of the ball, you can place it on the Lensball Stand to take the ball picture first:

Left: Lensball Stand photo, Right: Trick Photography

In the photo on the left we placed the Lensball on the jetty of Crawley Edge Boatshed using the Lensball Stand, on the right we’ve put the fisheye reflection of the ball into the palm of my hands. Just like that, I’m a sorcerer!

4. Mobile Photography

Although we’ve used an SLR camera for most of these images, you don’t have to own or know how to use professional cameras to use the Lensball. In fact, basically anybody with a camera phone could create cool artsy pictures too. Here’s an example:

Left: Huawei Phone Camera, Right: Canon SLR Camera

Of course an SLR camera is always going to give you higher quality images than a phone camera, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t get the same cool effect on your mobile camera too. 

Something to note

You can see that we preferred using the Lensball on its own in our hands, but there were definitely moments we had to switch to the Lensball Stand. The thing about glass in sunlight is that there is an intense magnifying effect that happens and it gets hot in your hands when in direct sunlight – so be careful when you hold it and don’t leave it around unattended because it could literally start a fire! 

In Conclusion

Overall, we really enjoyed testing out the Lensball and would gladly take around the ball with us during our travels. We’re keen to see what it’s like in different textures and lighting and have even started Googling examples for future inspo too. 

Special Offer

If you’re interested in purchasing your own Lensball and accessories from Refractique, our lovely readers can enjoy 10% off at checkout with the code ANNIE. That means combined with the current sale price you are paying $44.95 for the main 80mm Lensball Package. Enjoy it!

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