Introducing the Lensbaby Spark: Manual photo manipulation on a budget

lensbaby sparkBefore there was the iPhone and Instagram, there were these things called lenses and digital cameras, and the two combined could create photos and, depending on the lens type, effects. While the smartphone and world of photo-sharing apps have revolutionized how we interact and share images, there’s still plenty to be said for the good old-fashioned way.

Creative lens maker Lensbaby has made a name for itself manufacturing (relatively) affordable pieces that manipulate your photos the manual way. Lensbaby have put fisheye and tilt-shift effects into nearly anyone’s hands. Now, things are getting even more affordable with the Spark, an $80, plastic lens piece that gives you a blurred background, and manipulatable focus result. Spark is a 50mm lens with a fixed aperture of F5.6

lensbaby spark on camera

The idea beyond Spark is to make it even easier for anyone with an interchangeable lens camera to create amazing effects — you don’t need to spend hundreds and you don’t need to resort to software. High prices and complicated devices have been two big things standing between digital cameras and many consumers, and Lensbaby’s attempts at breaking these barriers is commendable.

In some brief hands-on time with the Spark, it’s obvious how important simplicity is here: It’s bendable, flexible, unbreakable, and free of any controls or functions that users have to wrap their heads around. Suffice it to say the learning curve is anything but steep.

lensbaby spark side viewIt will be available for Canon and Nikon today, and retails for a mere $80. Check out some sample shots below. 

Spark sample 1
Spark sample 2
Spark sample 3