Give Your Images Some Flare With The Lensbaby OMNI Flare Expansion

If you love the way lens flares lend a cinematic look to images, then you’ll want to check out the Lensbaby OMNI Creative System’s Flare Expansion Pack.

The folks over at Lensbaby are releasing yet another expansion pack to their awesome OMNI Creative Filter System today. The Flare Expansion Pack is the third expansion that Lensbaby has released for its unique OMNI Creative Filter System so far. Consisting of four brand new glass Effect Wands, the Flare Expansion Pack is designed to give photographers the ability to easily introduce unique flare effects to their images in-camera. We got to spend some time with the Flare Expansion Pack prior to the public release. Head on after the jump for details on the OMNI Flare Expansion Pack along with a sample gallery of images we created using the new Flare Effect Wands.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The same pros for the Lensbaby OMNI Creative Filter System apply to what’s included with the Flare Expansion Pack
  • The innovative magnetic attachment system
  • Lightweight construction
  • Tons of additional creative options
  • Included felt pouch is nicely padded and helps keep the crystals and gels in the Flare Expansion Pack neatly organized

Cons

  • Results can be unpredictable and hard to replicate

Gear Used

We tested the Lensbaby OMNI Creative Filter System Flare Expansion Pack with the Lensbaby OMNI Creative Filter System (naturally), the Sony A7RIV, the Sigma 35mm f1.2 DG DN (Sony E Mount), and the Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master.

Tech Specs

Tech specs for the Lensbaby OMNI Creative Filter System Flare Expansion Pack taken from Lensbaby’s official press release

  • For use with the OMNI Creative Filter System
  • The Flare Expansion Pack includes the following Effect Wands and Filters in a custom-designed pouch:
  • Anamorphic Raindrop: Hand crafted with a “Raindrop” at the end to give you selective distortion with the body of the wand making cinematic flare out of your highlights.
  • Prism Flare: Apply a prism effect to your stretched points of light, splitting them into tiny bits of rainbows that come and go when rotated.
  • Zig-Zag: Make explosions of light while creating effects ranging from subtle to over-the-top based on the rotation and placement of its hand-crafted curves.
  • Saber: Brush the highlights in impressionistic reflections while varying the length of streaky flare that shortens and lengthens when rotated

Ergonomics

Like with the original Lensbaby OMNI Creative Filter System and the other expansion packs, the Flare Expansion Pack comes with a padded, felt storage pouch. It does a good job of keeping the four Flare Effect Wands organized and stored safely when not in use. The Flare Expansion Pack includes four additional Effect Wands that works in conjunction with the core components of the OMNI Creative Filter System. As pictured above, they include (from left to right) the Saber, Zig-Zag, Anamorphic Raindrop, and Prism Flare. Each of the Flare Effects Wand distorts light in unique ways and create different flaring effects in-camera.

Build Quality

The Flare Expansion Pack’s four new Effect Wands features the same solid build quality we’ve seen in other Effect Wands in the OMNI Creative Filter System. As all four of the Flare Effect Wands are made of glass, you’ll want to be careful when handling them. Once you’ve attached them via the magnetic mounts though, they’re not going anywhere. You can maneuver the Effect Wands easily once they’ve been attached magnetically to adjust the intensity of the various in-camera flare effects. The Flare Expansion Pack includes the same padded felt carrying pouch that comes with the OMNI Creative Filter System and the other expansion packs. It does a good job of storing the Flare Effect Wands safely when not in use.

Ease of Use

Like the other Effect Wands that make up the Lensbaby OMNI Creative Filter System, the Effect Wands included with the Flare Expansion Pack are easy to use but the results can be quite unpredictable. Using the Flare Expansion Pack, and the OMNI Creative Filter System, in general, is an exercise in constant trial and error. You’ll definitely want to make use of an EVF or Live View when shooting with the Flare Effect Wands. This allows you to see and adjust how the various flare effects appear within your frame in real-time. To get the most out of the Flare Expansion Pack, you’ll want to make sure there is plenty of ambient light available. Alternatively, you can also shine a flashlight or LED lights at the Effect Wands for some interesting effects as well.

Image Quality

Here are some sample images we created using the Lensbaby OMNI Creative Filter System and the Flare Expansion Pack. As you can see, the effects range from subtle to rather dramatic. You can spend lots of time playing with the different Effect Wands, Films, and Gels to create unique effects in-camera. As a matter of ethics, none of the sample images seen here have been retouched so that you can judge the quality of the images produced using the Flare Expansion Pack for yourself.

Conclusion

Likes

  • Allows you to introduce unique cinematic lens flare effects to your images in-camera (Perfect for all the J. J. Abrams fans out there)
  • The random flare effects are unpredictable and challenge you to create rather than just capture
  • Small footprint

Dislikes

  • Honestly none

For existing users of the Lensbaby OMNI Creative Filter System, the Flare Expansion Pack introduces even more creative effects that you can use to add visual impact to your images. Like the other Effect Wands in the OMNI Creative Filter System, each of the Flare Effect Wands distorts light in unique ways. Although the wands are easy to use, the results are quite unpredictable. As a result, shooting with the Flare Expansion Pack forces you to become an active participant in the creative process rather than simply capturing what’s happening around you. It’s honestly super fun to use, and you can lose track of time easily just from experimenting with the way that the different Flare Effect Wands introduce flares into your images. The best part: rather than applying the same flare overlays to fake it in Photoshop, your results will be unique every time you shoot with the Flare Expansion Pack.

The Flare Expansion Pack for the Lensbaby OMNI Creative Filter System earns Five out of Five stars. You can purchase it directly from Lensbaby starting today for US $69.96.