Lensbaby has always had a very interesting lineup of optics; and the Lensbaby Trio is no exception. Lensbaby has never gone for the clinically perfect and sharp optics but instead sharp optics with a twist–pun not intended. Sometimes they’re super soft, sometimes they’re very sharp and you can throw the focus off in one way or another. But with the Trio, you’re getting an interesting combination. You get a set of 28mm f3.5 optics that switch out turret style. You’ve got the ability to focus but not to change the aperture setting at all.
What this results in are either your preference for one optic over the other or you wanting to have a lot of fun.
Pros and Cons
- Compact size
- Nice feel, though the exterior is a bit plasticky
- Good image quality
- Fun to use with a camera that has focus peaking
- No aperture changes
We tested the Lensbaby Trio with the Fujifilm X-T20.
Specs taken from our news post
- Focal Length: 28mm
- Aperture: fixed f/3.5
- 3 Optics for 3 effects – Twist, Velvet, Sweet
- Minimum focus distance: 8”
- Maximum focusing distance: Infinity
- Focus Type: Manual
- Size/Weight: 4.9oz, 2.75” x2.75” x2”
- Twist Optic: 4 multi-coated elements in 3 groups
- Velvet Optic: 3 multi-coated elements in 2 groups
- Sweet Optic: 3 multi-coated elements in 3 groups
- 46mm front threads
- When shooting on full frame cameras, Twist will produce a subtle vignette
When you look at the Lensbaby Trio, you see something charmingly vintage. Remember those bolex cameras with the turret style lenses? That’s what this resembles.
Each lens is different. Sweet is sharp. Velvet is dreamy. Twist is petzval in nature.
Each lens is labelled as such and when you look at the top of the lens you’ll find a working focusing scale.
In the hand, I’m pretty impressed with how the Lensbaby Trio feels. It’s not cheap feeling, although I’d genuinely prefer the feel of metal instead of plastic on the exterior silver barrel.
Ease of Use
So here’s where the use may be tougher for certain shooters. This is a manual focus lens and to get the most of it I really suggest you use focus peaking of some sort with your camera. Even with how focus peaking works, the velvet optic is so soft that sometimes it can’t tell what’s in focus and what isn’t. Generally speaking you’re also best off keeping your subject towards the center of the lens.
As stated above, focusing is done manually. When you combine this with focus peaking you won’t have as tough of a job.
Overall, I think the Lensbaby Trio is a pretty incredible optic not due to the crazy charts and lab tests, but more because the lens has some character to it. If you embrace this character then you’ll be really happy with the image quality it can deliver.
You see, the bokeh for each optic is different. Twist will render more twist towards the outward edges, velvet will always be soft, and sweet is going to be super sharp. But generally speaking, as long as you’re close to your subjects you’re going to digg the bokeh.
Technically speaking, there is chromatic aberration. But honestly, it’s a Lensbaby optic, who cares?
With the Fujifilm sensor and when using the right exposure methods, the image quality can not only look filmlike but also incredibly beautiful.
The Sweet optic is the sharpest. Nothing more to it here.
Extra Image Samples
- Small size
- Quality of the images
- Fun to use
- No changeable apertures
I am a MAJOR fan of the Lensbaby Trio. I think it’s fun, it allows you to see and create in a new way, and it’s just so much different than anything else on the market right now. Being able to change the aperture would be a big upgrade, but otherwise you can’t really go wrong here.
The Lensbaby Trio receives four out of five stars.