Freelensing is one of many creative techniques you can use to get unique, dreamy shots. There’s a gadget for that called the Lensbender, and it’s a weird-looking piece of gear that’s supposed to make freelensing and focus pulling easier. Mathieu Stern plays with it in his recent video and claims that it’s the most absurd gear he ever had the chance to review.
[Related reading: Rediscover your photographic self through these three creative techniques]
What is the Lensebender?
The Lensebender was designed in 2013 in Australia. It’s an $80 lightweight aluminum ring that suspends the lens in front of the camera body with suspension bands. The bands allow for a wide range of movement and flexibility for your lens, while ensuring it stays securely in place.
How is it used?
Since freelensing requires you to always have one hand busy holding the lens, the Lensebender essentially gives you an extra hand for aperture adjustment and focus-pulling. Still, just like freelensing without any gizmos, you need to move the lens with your hand once you set your aperture, shutter speed, and other settings.
This gadget will keep your lens suspended in front of the camera body instead of attached to the camera body. If the thought of freelensing gives you chills because it exposes your sensor to dust, the Lensbender team has a solution. It’s this $50 glass cover that will keep your sensor nice and clean. It has its drawbacks though, but we’re getting to it.
Pros and cons
The most obvious perk of the Lensbender is that it gives you an extra hand. You don’t have to put the lens down every time you want to change settings, it’s always there. The rubber suspension seems pretty secure, at least from Mathieu’s test and the promo videos. Still, I would feel really nervous leaving my lens hanging on just a few rubber bands, and Matheu says the same.
Regarding the glass cover, it helps to keep your sensor dust-free, and kudos to the creators for thinking about it. However, Mathieu says it creates lots of unwanted reflections in the shots. Still, maybe they can become a part of your creative photos or videos; it all depends on what you’re shooting.
Mathieu says the gadget is versatile and gives you lots of flexibility to create lens flares, hazy glow, and tilt-shift effect. However, its quality and the control over the effect are not as good as when you do it with a tilt-shift adapter. They’re cheaper, too.
According to Mathieu, the main issue with the Lensbender is that there are tons of light leaks, making the image washed out and with a lack of contrast. Still, he overcame it by adding a black neck warmer over the entire setup. It made it more difficult to work with the camera, but hey – the image quality was way better!
No matter how weird the Lensbender is, I actually find it kind of interesting. It’s probably not the best solution, but I like the idea of making something of a crossover between pure freelensing and a tilt-shift adapter. Who knows, perhaps someone will think of a more elegant solution, and until the, I’m definitely leaving my lens on while shooting.
[The Most Absurd Camera Gear I’ve Ever Reviewed | Mathieu Stern]