Lensbaby Trio 28 Review
Lensbaby Trio 28 - an amazing, fun and highly inspirational little lens that will inject some personality into your photos.
You can find the Trio 28 and all other Lensbaby products on their Amazon store right here...
A quick note on my reviewing style...
For those of you who haven’t been here before, let me start by saying that my reviewing style is not decidedly technical in nature. While I understand and can appreciate the need for that sort of detail at times, it’s not my thing. I just share what I like about something, and why, and talk about why it matters to me (or not, if I don't like it).
And I like to show pictures I have taken using said gear (click on any photo to enlarge). So if you want detailed bits and bytes about something, this isn't the place for you. If you want a "real world" review about using something, and why, and what it can do for you with plenty of sample photos...read on. Just wanted to clear that up first.
Ok, on to the Lensbaby Trio 28…
I can make this really simple for you - go buy this lens right now. It’s very affordable and in my opinion, the results speak for themselves. It will give you an excellent new creative outlet. It's fun and almost whimsical. Your images will have an interesting, beautiful and unique look to them. You will experience the pure, raw joy of taking photographs again. You can thank me later. :-)
But most importantly, it will make you think more creatively. Let me explain…
"The drive for perfection is a corrosive waste of time." - E. Gilbert
I have spent the better part of the last 10 years trying my hardest to capture and create my own version of “perfect” photos. Yes, I know perfection doesn’t exist - and I knew it over the better part of the last 10 years, too - but regardless that was generally my goal when I would travel somewhere and start shooting. I always wanted "amazing" images. Who doesn't? No one goes out with the goal of just capturing a "so-so" photo. What's the point?
So even when it would rain on me, or the sunset was blah, I would try and make lemonade out of the lemons that Nature had handed me. I was still going for a “perfect” photo, even when it was clearly not even remotely possible. Often, my view on the success of a trip depended heavily on the light that I got, and whether I had captured any real “winners”.
While I often came home with what I would consider some “great” shots, there were plenty of times that I did not. Some of my photos felt flat and lifeless, and generally lacked any real feeling or connection for the viewer (and even for me, sometimes). They just didn’t inspire me at all.
What I didn't fully realize was that this didn't always depend on the subject matter that I was shooting, or my shooting style, or even on the light that the heavens provided (or didn’t provide). Sometimes things just fell flat because they were just the same old thing that I always aimed the camera at, and shot in the exact same manner as I had done for many years. I was taking "so-so" photos and didn't even realize it half the time.
And do you know why? It's because I was on auto-pilot and not thinking actively about my photos. I wasn't thinking creatively and thus wasn’t getting creative shots out of my trips. I wasn't engaging creatively with my surroundings. I was going through the motions a lot of the time.
But thankfully, now I am getting some creative and fun photos each time I take this lens out for a spin...
Enter the Lensbaby Trio 28…
This little thing has completely changed me, in short order. Using this lens I feel free and thus craft images that feel lighter, more interesting and more fun. They aren’t “serious” in that they can be whimsical and artistic, but they are very serious in that they are nicely captured with this fine tool and I think speak volumes in terms of their beauty, mysteriousness and whimsy. They have a different look to them and I think add a bit of curiosity to a photograph.
No, they aren't technically "perfect" but if that is your goal, you are missing the entire point. This is a "right brain" lens. You are not out with it because you want a pixel-perfect photo. You are out with it because you want a beautiful, different and unique photo. You want to see a common scene in a new way. You want to look at something with fresh eyes.
When I am using this lens, I am not thinking about trying to capture “perfect” photos. I am thinking about capturing something creative and interesting and beautiful. It makes me think differently, and my previous ideas about perfection have gone out the window. They don’t even enter my thoughts.
This is about the simple joy of taking photographs, flaws and all.
My favorite subjects are street scenes and cityscapes, and this lens works incredibly well for shooting those. I generally like to photograph these scenes at blue hour or in the evening, and the fixed aperture of f/3.5 is ideal for firing some quick shots in low light. Not to mention that this is a prime lens with a 28mm focal length. So you get a sort of wide view of things, which for me is ideal in cities, and a focal length I would normally use quite a lot anyways.
There are 3 different optics on the lens, and you just rotate it to move from one to the other. The 3 options are Twist, Velvet and Sweet. Twist provides some swirly bokeh, Velvet is sort of a soft focus effect, and Sweet (my favorite - and that’s the setting you see on all of these photos) has a crisply focused center with bokeh emanating outwards in increasing amounts.
You can read about the lens in more detail on the Lensbaby website. Note that there are a few different mount options for various camera manufacturers, but there is not one for every camera. I shoot the Sony A7 series and there is a mount for that.
It’s fun, flexible, affordable - and something I am SO glad that I came across. It’s changed me for the better, and after being stuck in my ways for so many years, a change like this is refreshing to say the least.
Technical Summary (things you need to know)
Focal length: 28mm
Aperture: f/3.5 fixed
Format Compatibility: APS-C, Full Frame, Micro 4/3
Focus Type: Manual Focus
Filter Thread: 46mm
Dimensions: 2” high x 2.75” wide
Thank you and I hope you found this useful!
I hope you have found this review helpful, and don't hesitate to leave a comment with questions or feedback. You can also send me an email via my Contact Form. Have fun out there taking photos!