7 Unique Lenses That Will Get Your Creative Juices Flowing in 2020

unique lenses
These unique lenses will help you be more creative and set your work apart from the masses in 2020.

It seems as though most lenses hitting the streets these days are going for absolute perfection when it comes to sharpness, clarity, distortion control, and bokeh. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it can lead to a lot of lenses that produce the same type of results. So how can we make our work stand out from the rest? One easy way is to use unique lenses like the ones in this roundup. These unique lenses aren’t afraid to be different, and they will make your work stand out from the crowd. Join us after the break to see some of our favorite unique lenses.

Captured with the Lensbaby Twist 60

The unique lenses we have listed below are far from the lenses many photographers opt to use. What’s crazy is these lenses will allow you to apply effects to your images in-camera that many photographers try to replicate in post. If you’re looking for a new look in 2020, you should take a closer look at these unique lenses in the new year.

Mitakon 35mm F0.95 II

The Mitakon 35mm f0.95 gives photographers an insanely fast lens that can produce bokeh for days! If you want your subject to really stand out while the background melts away into nothing, this is the lens for you. Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Ultrafast f0.95 aperture
  • Balances well with Fujifilm cameras
  • Smooth accurate focusing ring

Cons

  • No Autofocus
  • The aperture ring is clickless, and easy to move by accident
  • No electronic communication with the cameras

Buy now Canon M: $479

Buy now Fujifilm X: $479

Buy now Sony E: $449

Rokinon Tilt-Shift 24mm F3.5 ED AS UMC

unique lenses

Tilt-Shift lenses are fantastic! You can give your images a unique quality and feel by altering the focal planes, and you can correct perspective distortion too. You can make cityscapes look like miniature models and can add exciting effects to landscapes. These lenses are usually expensive, but Rokinon hits it out of the park with this one, and it’s priced right. Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • The great price point for this type of lens
  • Image quality is solid from f5.6 onward
  • Great range of movements for correcting perspective distortion

Cons

  • Adjustment knobs are smaller than we would like
  • Extensive use of plastics makes us wonder about long-term reliability
  • Extreme shifts show noticeable degradation of image quality (though this really shouldn’t be a surprise)

Buy now Canon EF: $699

Buy now Nikon F: $699

Buy now Sony E: $799

Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO Fisheye

Now, if you want images that will grab the attention of your viewers, you need a Fisheye lens. Fisheye lenses are used by extreme sports photographers and those who want to show the world around them in an interesting way. This Olympus model for M4/3 cameras is well built, has weather sealing, and is well priced. Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • There is absolutely no point in stopping this lens down. So much is in focus. In that way, you almost don’t necessarily need to focus the lens, though I still would.
  • Weather sealing
  • Pretty great colors
  • You can still get bokeh from this lens
  • Small size
  • Fixed lens hood
  • F1.8 is an incredible aperture for a fisheye lens
  • Very, very good distortion control towards the center of the lens

Cons

  • Honestly wish it were wider

Buy now: $899

Olympus 8mm f1.8 Pro Fisheye

Pro Tip: If we’re not continually learning and moving forward, then we’re moving backward and losing ground. If you want to make a splash in the new year, invest in yourself, and learn some new skills or try out the unique lenses we have mentioned. If you want to step out of your comfort zone, arm yourself with the tools you’ll need. Creative Live offers tutorials and guides that cover many genres of photography. Check them out and get 2020 off to a flying start.

Lensbaby Trio

And now for something completely different! Embrace the Lensbaby Trio with its three different optics and its constant f3.5 aperture, and you’ll be amazed by this little gem. The Sweet lens is sharp, the Velvet lens is dreamy, and the Twist lens is Petzval in nature. This lens will really make your work stand out. Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Compact size
  • Nice feel, though the exterior is a bit plasticky
  • Good image quality
  • Fun to use with a camera that has focus peaking

Cons

  • No aperture changes

Buy now Canon M: $249.95

Buy now Canon RF: $249.95

Buy now Fujifilm X: $223.95

Buy now M4/3: $249.95

Buy now Nikon Z: $249.95

Buy now Sony E: $299.95

Rokinon 8mm F2.8 Fisheye

unique lenses

Another Fisheye lens. Yes, but this one is for more than one platform. This little beauty from Rokinon is very easy on the wallet, and it produces images that will be easy on the eyes. You can get super creative with this Fisheye, and at its price point, you’d be crazy not to give it a try. Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Small, lightweight, and balances well on the camera
  • The gorgeous aperture ring
  • The large, well built, smooth focusing ring
  • This lens is a steal for the price

Cons

  • The bulbous front element means you cannot use any filters with this lens

Buy now Canon M: $249

Buy now Fujifilm X: $249

Buy now Sony E: $229

Lensbaby Burnside 35mm F2.8

unique lenses

The Lensbaby Burnside may look just like any 35mm lens, but this one has a trick up its sleeve. The Burnside 35mm f2.8 features a unique dual-aperture design, with one of the apertures dedicated to “Vignette Control,” which allows you to dial-in the quality of bokeh and amount of vignette in your image. This well deserves its place on our list of unique lenses. Here are the pros and cons from our full review.

Pros

  • Solid aluminum construction means the lens can withstand considerable abuse during field use
  • The buttery smooth focus ring
  • Dreamy bokeh quality
  • Vignette Control is an interesting way to dial in your vignette and bokeh quality in the camera

Cons

  • Lack of weather sealing
  • The front lens cap is of the pressure-fit design, so forgetful or accident prone photographers should take care to put it in a secure location while shooting with this lens
  • Clicked aperture ring means this lens may not be suitable for video shooters

Buy now Canon EF: $499.95

Buy now Fujifilm X: $499.95

Buy now M4/3: $499.95

Buy now Nikon F: $499.95

Buy now Pentax K: $499.95

Buy now Sony E: $499.95

Rokinon lenses 24mm f3.5 Tilt Shift
Captured with the Rokinon 24mm f3.5 Tilt-Shift

Pro Tip: Gear maintenance is essential if you want to create stunning images, and have your gear last a long time. Dirt and moisture can wreak havoc on lenses and cameras, so we encourage you to clean your equipment often and well. You don’t need to spend a ton of money on a cleaning kit, but you owe it to yourself to keep your lenses and cameras in top order.

Lensbaby Twist 60 F2.5

unique lenses

One of the more unique lenses on the list, the Lensbaby Twist 60mm f2.5 will help you create gorgeous, swirly bokeh with ease. If you have wanted a Petzval type lens and don’t want to break the bank, this is the one for you. If you want to add a unique twist (pun intended) to your portraits, you should check it out. Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • The Twist 60 lens is super lightweight and small; easy to throw in your bag to have on hand whenever you want to add a different look to any type of shoot
  • The edge swirl blurs the background so well that its possible to get a great portrait in front of a terrible, busy background
  • Would be a great additional lens for shooting wedding details – it creates a dreamy, novelty look that can be quite beautiful
  • The widest aperture of f2.5 produces the most extreme swirl and blur, but stopped down to f22 it’s actually quite sharp and reduces the blurring effect with results similar to a normal 60mm lens
  • A fun portrait lens in daylight
  • Beautiful colors

Cons

  • Only the center can be in focus, forcing you to frame every subject dead center, which limits your composition
  • Hard to focus in low light or any subject that moves at all (like children, animals, etc.)
  • For street or candid photography it is very hard to focus (an already manual focus lens) fast enough to catch quick decisive moments because its focus it is too narrow to estimate
  • The gold aperture ring is kind of pretty, but not helpful if you need to be low-key, unless you like to hear people say, ”Wow that’s a fancy gold lens!”

Buy now Canon EF: $246.12

Buy now Nikon F: $279.95

Buy now Sony E: $234.62