Fun and whimsy with the new Lensbaby Trio

By |2016-11-12T14:49:33+00:00Oct 10th, 2016|

We can all agree that when you talk about a lens, you’re typically picturing cough a barrel with one rear element, one front element and a bunch of elements in between. So, when I heard that Lensbaby was taking this approach and tripling it, I was excited. On Wednesday, Lensbaby announced the new Trio 28, a 28mm f/3.5 prime lens with three distinct focusing optics: Twist, Velvet and Sweet (my personal favorite). Now, Lensbaby—a local Portland operation—is no stranger to building creative optics, but what is interesting is that this is the first lens that they’ve built exclusively with mirrorless cameras in mind. This means that the Sony E-mount, Fuji X-mount, and various Micro 4/3 camera users out there can add this lens to the arsenal. For filter lovers like me, you’ll be happy to know that there is a threading to accept them. However, it’s a svelte 46mm thread, so you’ll want to get a step up ring if you typically use 77mm filters (I’ll link to that at the end of this post).

I had the opportunity to put the Trio to use with one of their prototype models while visiting New York City. I walked around midtown, getting myself acclimated to the three creative focusing optics, trying to determine which one makes the most sense with the scene in front of me. The first thing that I noticed while using the lens (on my Sony a7R II) was how diminutive it was. It is as close to a pancake lens as any that I’ve scene but the build quality felt quite solid.

Sony a7R II with the Lensbaby Trio

Sony a7R II / Lensbaby Trio

As I continued my stroll, I began feeling more comfortable with the ideal ways of how to use this lens. More often than not, I intentionally put my primary subject in the center of the frame, which is what will typically remain sharp while the rest of the image falls away into a very cool bokeh pattern. Actually, one of my favorite photos happened by accident as I was lifting the camera up to my face. I had accidentally hit the shutter and caught this typical scene that you’d find in midtown during the late afternoon.

Sony a7R II / Lensbaby Trio

In addition to using the Trio with my Sony a7R II in Manhattan, I now had a reason to dust off my OG Sony a7 that was converted to Infrared. My hope would be that the creative focus optics would breathe new life into the mundane scenery that I walk by whenever I walk my dogs. Fortunately, it did just the trick. Combining two niche photography methods—IR and the Lensbaby Trio—opened up an entirely new way for me to have fun explore my own creativity.

Accidental hip shots aside, I am quite pleased with this lens for one key reason. Namely, it gives me an entirely new reason to revisit areas that I’ve photographed in the past. I’ve often written about the benefits of revisiting the “same old scene” with a completely different lens (and only one at a time). With the Trio, I can expand on that by playing around with three unique looks. It certainly made my walk around midtown Manhattan that much more fun and creative. I’m going to hold off on diving into image quality until I receive a mass production unit. Discussing the clinical performance of prototype gear doesn’t seem fair to me, so stay tuned! I’m also sure that Nicole will be sharing her take on the Lensbaby Trio with her Fuji XT-2, so keep your eyes

[x_accordion_item title=”Gear referenced” open=”true”]Lensbaby Trio (for Sony E-mount) – Amazon | B&H
Sony a7R II – Amazon | B&H
46mm – 77mm Step Up Ring – Amazon | B&H

The links above will direct you to and B&H Photo using my affiliate code. If you purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Thank you so much for your support![/x_accordion_item]


  1. Cal Mukumoto October 10, 2016 at 9:56 am - Reply

    That lens appears to be the perfect street monster. Nice photos! I especially like the briefcase photo and the way you caught the lineup in the crosswalk.

    • Brian Matiash October 10, 2016 at 11:30 am - Reply

      Thanks, Cal! That shot was sooooo by accident but I loved it as soon as I saw it. For the price, it’s a really easy choice to make, especially if you need some optics to kick your butt out of a creative funk. Same thing with Fisheye lenses.

      • Cal Mukumoto October 10, 2016 at 11:51 am - Reply

        Well sometimes you get them. It takes a good eye to see the value. I agree with you on the lens, under $300 is very appealing.

  2. Tracy Comer October 11, 2016 at 11:54 am - Reply

    Great shots! I noticed you processed the photos with VSCO, but was it with the mobile VSCO app or the presets within Lightroom?

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