This is one of the weirdest, but at the same time coolest, lens filters I’ve ever seen. There have been a lot of filters purely for one-off effects over the years, and some of them are still commonly available today. Most of them are kind of gimmicky and, well, this one is, too, really.
It’s the Soratama from Zenjix, a 72mm filter that actually has a glass sphere right in the centre of it. It’s designed for use with macro lenses or extension tubes to let you focus in on the close glass ball to see the world while throwing the actual shot outside of the sphere out of focus. And, it’s kind of interesting.
Yes, it’s definitely a gimmick that isn’t going to see a lot of daily use from just about anybody who chooses to buy one. It’s also not a new concept. People have been photographing and filming the world through glass spheres for years. But this is the first time I’ve seen one attached to a filter that allows you to do it so cleanly.
With the sphere slap bang in the centre of a plain sheet of filter glass, it essentially looks like the sphere is floating in mid-air in front of the camera, which offers a unique twist to this classic, if not commonly used, technique.
The filter itself is available to buy for around $90-95 on Amazon, although you do need to purchase the Zenjix extension tubes to go along with it (which are another $85). These screw onto the filter thread of your lens, and then provide a 72mm thread for the filter to go onto. You need to get it further away from the lens than your typical filters (hence the need for the tubes) because the glass ball actually lives on the side of the filter that faces your camera. So, without the tubes, the glass ball would hit the front of your lens before the filter threads even get close.
That is a little pricey for a gimmicky filter you might use twice to test it when you initially get it and then never touch it again, butou can get both items for a little less according to the manufacturer, with the filter itself at $59 and the tubes at $49. This is a little more reasonable, but at the moment there don’t appear to be any outlets selling at the manufacturer’s recommended prices.
It is an interesting filter and one I might pick up for myself at some point. It’s definitely not something I’d use regularly, but I can also definitely see it coming in extremely useful from time to time. For now, though, I’ll wait until they’re more readily available and the prices drop to match those of the manufacturer.
[via Photo Rumors]