Stories of the creatives behind the camera, as well as the amazing work they produce.

Watch Lensbaby shooters in action as they work through their creative process.

Advice, tips & tricks and more to  help you get the most out of your Lensbaby.

Each week we share our five favorite photos from your submissions & social shares.

GET INSPIRED & LEARN FROM OTHER CREATIVES

Our classic creative effect - a round sweet spot of focus.

Find your edge - get a sharp slice of focus effect

Get your glow on - create an ethereal velvet effect.

Crazy curves ahead - striking swirly bokeh & vignette.

Explore the captivating effects that OMNI can create with this gallery of awe-inspiring imagery.

Sharp spot of focus + beautiful blur. 

Sharp slice of focus + smooth blur.

Radiant edge-to-edge glow. 

Swirly, twisty, striking bokeh.

EXPLORE EXTRAORDINARY LENSBABY IMAGERY

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Obscura 16

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. 


DETAILS

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. 

FEATURES

  • 16mm
  • Zone Plate: f/22; Pinhole Sieve: f/45; Pinhole: f/90 
  • Effects: Zone Plate, Pinhole Sieve, Pinhole

SPECS

Specs

Creative Effect

Optic Swap Compatible

Focal Length

Aperture

Minimum Focusing Distance

Format Compatibility

Focus Type

Angle of View

Angle of Tilt

Filter Threads

Coating

Elements/ Groups

Dimensions

Weight

Zone Plate, Pinhole Sieve, Pinhole

No

16mm

Zone Plate: f/22; Pinhole Sieve: f/45; Pinhole: f/90

N/A

Mirrorless Cameras

Fixed

35mm Full Frame; APS-C; and 4/3rds Sensors

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Chrome aperture on broadband multi coated anti-reflective glass

Zone Plate: 29 Zones / Pinhole Sieve: 203 pinholes / Pinhole: 1 pinhole

73.1 x 22.85mm (2.88x 0.90in) Micro 4/3rds; 73.1 x 25.6mm (2.88x 1.01in) Nikon Z

.333 lbs

COMPATIBILITY 

USER GUIDE 

FAQs

  • Why can't I see anything through my camera?
    • Pinholes pass very little light to your camera's sensor. Bump up your ISO and slow down your shutter speed until you get an image. Your camera will be more likely to show you an image over live view when you are on the Zone Plate and/or Pinhole Sieve settings because they transmit more light than the Pinhole setting.
  • Why are my images blurry?
    • The relative focus of a pinhole lens is significantly less sharp throughout the frame than a standard camera lens. To maximize the resolving power of your Obscura, eliminated camera shake by shooting at a hand holdable shutter speed or using a tripod. The Zone Plate and Pinhole Sieve options have an underlying image (surrounded by glow) that is significantly more detailed than the Pinhole setting.
  • Why are there spots on my images?
    • Spots on your images indicates a dirty sensor. A tiny aperture on any lens accentuates the dirt spots on your sensor. A pinhole is the best way to test to see if your sensor is clean or dirty. Pinhole photography, especially on digital cameras, is often characterized by a texture overlay created by tiny dust specks that are not visible when shooting with bright aperture lenses.
  • Why doesn't my meter work?
    • Especially on the darkest setting (Pinhole), Obscura blocks enough light that many camera's meters becomes unreliable. If you are shooting on an SLR, cover the eyepiece to keep stray light from entering the back of the camera's mirror box and throwing off your meter. Make test exposures to determine the correct shutter speed and ISO settings for your scene/subject matter.
  • What subject matter is best for pinhole photography?
    • Pinhole images give a nostalgic feel to a scene. Strong graphic elements and high contrast can be a great foundation for architectural or landscape images. Shooting with a very close subject, such as blades of grass right in front or even touching the front of your Obscura, framing distant subjects can create a surreal look and maximize the perception of focus that the Obscura is able to convey.
Mount

DISCOVER WHAT YOU CAN CREATE WITH THE OBSCURA 16

DISCOVER


The Obscura Experience

The Lensbaby Obscura is unlike those other pinhole 'lenses' you may have seen. Technically, it doesn't have a hole but many layers of chrome deposited on glass. This keeps your sensor clean and protected unlike a standard pinhole lets in.

Charlotte Johnsion

Pushing Creativity

Jen Strongin beta tested the newest Lensbaby creation— The Obscura. She was both creatively challenged and encouraged to step out of her creative comfort zone. How will the Obscura challenge you?!

Jen Strongin

Landscapes with Obscura

You might be asking why a macro flower photographer is writing about photographing landscapes? Yes, this topic is somewhat out of my wheelhouse but, as Lensbaby always does, it pushes me out of my comfort zone.

Anne Belmont

Create Drama with Obscura

Award-winning international photographer, Cristina Venedict, gives us a taste of the Obscura in action! Follow her as she takes you through creating dramatic scenes with the Lensbaby Obscura!

Cristina Venedict

The Obscura Experience

The Lensbaby Obscura is unlike those other pinhole 'lenses' you may have seen. Technically, it doesn't have a hole but many layers of chrome deposited on glass. This keeps your sensor clean and protected unlike a standard pinhole lets in.

Charlotte Johnson

Pushing Creativity

Jen Strongin beta tested the newest Lensbaby creation— The Obscura. She was both creatively challenged and encouraged to step out of her creative comfort zone. How will the Obscura challenge you?!

Jen Strongin

Landscapes with Obscura

You might be asking why a macro flower photographer is writing about photographing landscapes? Yes, this topic is somewhat out of my wheelhouse but, as Lensbaby always does, it pushes me out of my comfort zone.

Anne belmont

Create Drama with Obscura

Award-winning international photographer, Cristina Venedict, gives us a taste of the Obscura in action! Follow her as she takes you through creating dramatic scenes with the Lensbaby Obscura!

Cristina Venedict

The Obscura Experience

The Lensbaby Obscura is unlike those other pinhole 'lenses' you may have seen. Technically, it doesn't have a hole but many layers of chrome deposited on glass. This keeps your sensor clean and protected unlike a standard pinhole lets in.

Charlotte Johnson

Create Drama with Obscura

Award-winning international photographer, Cristina Venedict, gives us a taste of the Obscura in action! Follow her as she takes you through creating dramatic scenes with the Lensbaby Obscura!

Cristina Venedict

Pushing Creativity

Jen Strongin beta tested the newest Lensbaby creation— The Obscura. She was both creatively challenged and encouraged to step out of her creative comfort zone. How will the Obscura challenge you?!

Jen Strongin

Landscapes with Obscura

Anne Belmont

You might be asking why a macro flower photographer is writing about photographing landscapes? Yes, this topic is somewhat out of my wheelhouse but, as Lensbaby always does, it pushes me out of my comfort zone.

Customer Reviews
5.0 Based on 10 Reviews
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Filter Reviews:
    RK
    08/08/2021
    Rick K.
    United States United States
    I recommend this product
    Long Exposure Work

    This makes photography fun again. Out of the three LB lens, plus Composer Pro I w/Sweet& Edge 50 the Obscura sits a the number one spot. It was fun to put the lens point it and see what I could make. Long exposure w/3stop ND gave me the results seen below. Fuji X-T20

    Lensbaby Obscura 16 Review
    AH
    08/05/2021
    Alan H.
    United States United States
    I recommend this product
    Obscura pushes the boundaries

    After only two weeks, the Obscura16 has a slot of its own in my camera bag. I have found the f90 pinhole excellent in producing interesting and meaningful images; capturing moments in unusual, insightful ways. The other two settings, f45 and f22 are also nice to work with but I have little with them so far therefore nothing much to say.

    Lensbaby Obscura 16 ReviewLensbaby Obscura 16 Review
    HB
    07/15/2021
    Heidi B.
    United States United States
    Obscura 16 is a hit

    Thinking outside the box with the box concept. Still playing with this lens and loving every moment of it.

    KH
    07/12/2021
    Karen H.
    United States United States
    Super Little lens!!

    I have had a LB Pin Hole/Zone Plate Optic seemingly forever. I have always loved it and the dreamy images I can make with it. Once I moved to a mirrorless system, my Optic Swap items have been neglected. The light-weight, pancake style of this Obscura16 is just the answer to my needs. Very happy with the imagery so far. Much less cumbersome to switch and keep clean than the Optic System piece. That's a biggie!! The photos are just as stunningly soft and full of the gauzy feel that I love about the wholw ZP/PH ability. THANK YOU< Lensbaby.

    DS
    07/09/2021
    David S.
    United States United States
    Fun creative lens

    The Obscura 16 mm lens allows you to create unique abstract photo art. You need to look for the right subject with leading lines and contrast. I am having a lot of fun with this lens.

    Lensbaby Obscura 16 ReviewLensbaby Obscura 16 ReviewLensbaby Obscura 16 Review
    New

    Obscura 16

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