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Lomography Experimental Lens Kit Review

Lomography Experimental Lens Kit Review - Three lenses plus filters for under 80? We test the Lomography Experimental Lens Kit to find out what these lenses are about.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Lomography Experimental Lens Kit
Price : £79
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Lomography M43 Experimental Lens Olympus Om D E M5 (2)

The Lomography experimental lens kit for Micro Four Thirds cameras, includes a 160 degree fisheye lens, standard zoom lens and a wide-angle 12mm lens, as well as colour gel filters. The kit allows you to take real optical multiple exposures on a digital camera, as well as shoot photos with effects like extreme colour saturation.

By using the built-in mechanic N/B shutter on each lens, you can take multiple exposures with ease (without having to merge photos together using post-production techniques). You can shoot as close as 5cm with the Fisheye lens, 20cm with the 12mm Wide-angle lens and 60cm with the 24mm lens. The three lens kit is available for £79.

Lomography Experimental Lens Kit Features

Lomography Experimental Micro Four Thirds Lenses PA240412
Lomography Experimental Micro Four Thirds Lenses - the lenses give the ability to take multiple exposure photos, experiment with colour filters and get "magical" optical effects.

The kit consists of a 160degree fisheye lens, 12mm wide-angle lens, 24mm standard lens, and included is a set of different colour filters, compatible with all micro four thirds cameras. Included in the box is also a front and rear lens cap for each lens, as well as an instruction manual. 

Each lens features a mechanical shutter and filter slot to allow you to take multiple exposures - this will be particularly useful for Panasonic Lumix G cameras and older Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras that don't feature built in multi-exposure shooting options. 

Lomography Experimental M43rds Lenses (3)

The switches on the lenses are marked:
  • N/B Switch: For selecting the in-lens shutter mode.
  • N:1/100 second, B: Bulb
  • T-Shutter lever: for holding the in-lens shutter open or closed
  • Shutter release lever: for firing the in-lens shutter
  • Filter slot: for inserting colour filter gels

Lens Features

Lomography M43 Experimental Lens Olympus Om D E M5 (1)

Lomography M4/3 Multiple Exposure Wide-Angle Lens 12mm
  • Focal Length: 12mm
  • Aperture: f/8
  • In-lens Shutter Speed: N (1/100) & B (bulb)
  • Lens Mount: Micro 4/3 Lens Mount
  • T-shutter: Yes
  • Filter Slot: Yes
Lomography M43 Experimental Lens Olympus Om D E M5 (4)

Lomography M4/3 Multiple Exposure Standard Lens 24mm
  • Focal Length: 24mm
  • Aperture: f/8
  • In-lens Shutter Speed: N (1/100) & B (bulb)
  • Lens Mount: Micro 4/3 Lens Mount
  • T-shutter: Yes
  • Filter Slot: Yes
Lomography M43 Experimental Lens Olympus Om D E M5 (3)

Lomography M4/3 Multiple Exposure Fisheye Lens 160°
  • Angle of view: 160 degrees
  • Aperture: f/8
  • In-lens Shutter Speed: N (1/100) & B (bulb)
  • Lens Mount: Micro 4/3 Lens Mount
  • T-shutter: Yes
  • Filter Slot: Yes

Lomography Experimental Lens Kit Handling

Lomography Experimental Lenses With Filters PA240107
The lenses are plastic in construction, as well as featuring plastic lenses, with just the shutter button featuring a shiny metal knob. Manual focus is performed using the focusing ring, and there is roughly 1 inch of movement from the closest focus and infinite focus making very fine adjustments quite difficult.

The switches on the lenses have varying degrees of tension, with the T switch giving the most resistance making it feel almost like you are going to break it in order to engage the switch. Pushing this all the way to the T position will fix the lens open, and then the camera can be left to set the shutter speed and ISO settings appropriately. 

The other way to shoot using the lenses is to manually set the camera to a long shutter speed such as 2-4 seconds (or alternatively use the bulb mode) then press the shutter button, shooting as many shots as possible in the time frame set - this will let you take 2, 3, or more exposures. You can also set the N/B (normal / bulb) switch to bulb and when set to bulb the shutter will stay open for as long as you hold the silver knob for. Although this does mean you are shooting blind, as nothing is displayed on screen apart from the black screen. 

Getting the timings, settings and composition correct for the multi-exposure can be difficult and often makes it quite hit and miss. In addition to this, using the shutter release button on the lens can result in camera shake, giving blurred photos. Two of the filters provided are ND filters, to help multi-exposure shots in bright sunlight.

To get faster (or fast enough) shutter speeds you will need to raise the ISO setting, and in use we found we were often using ISO3200, which on the Olympus OM-D E-M5 is a reasonable ISO setting to use, but on older Micro Four Thirds cameras you may not want to use such a fast ISO speed, which may result in you wishing for a tripod, particularly in low light. 

Build quality of the lenses is reasonable, although the modified lens mount needed to accept the filters does make it slightly more awkward to attach the lenses to the camera, however as long as you line up the dots correctly then you shouldn't have any problems. It would be nice if the dot was on the side, rather than underneath the lens, instead the dot lines up with the letter 'N'.

Lomography Experimental M43rds Lenses (5)
Each lens is provided with its own rear cap, which is labelled so that you can identify which lens to choose, assuming you put them on the correct lens in the first place. Alternatively if you familiarise yourself with the colour of the lens ring on the front, you can quickly get used to the fisheye being green, the 12mm blue, and the 24mm lens being beige/gold coloured. 
Lomography Experimental M43rds Lenses (4)

Lomography Experimental Lens Kit Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Lomography Experimental Lens Kit 12mm Wide-angle Lens Sample Photos


Lomography Experimental Lens Kit 24mm Standard Lens Sample Photos


Lomography Experimental Lens Kit Fish-eye Lens Sample Photos



Sample Photos - Colour and saturation can be very good with good lighting, and the shots in the park show some pleasing colours, although there is strong purple fringing and other lens distortion affecting the images, as well as varying degrees of softness in the corners. Each lens has different characteristics, and varying responses to shooting with bright light sources in the frame, producing strong, unique, and sometimes interesting lens flare. The 12mm lens produced an interesting rainbow effect with the sun in the frame, and using the fish-eye lens it was possible to get some interesting patterns and flare in the dark circle of the image, with both of these lenses able to focus quite close to the camera. The 24mm lens can only focus as close as 60cm, which is a little disappointing, although was reasonable at capturing detail in the middle of the image.

Due to the toy nature of these lenses, they are not designed for high image quality, and they certainly don't deliver, with images best shared on the web after resizing. The effects possible with these lenses can be used for some creative shots, and the compact and lightweight nature of these lenses would be hard to replicate with old vintage lenses, as even small 35mm pancake lenses will require an adapter, and in addition finding a suitable fish-eye or ultra-wide angle lens could be difficult.

Video - The lo-fi look of the lenses may be interesting for video, however the f/8 aperture may limit their usefulness in low light, unless additional lighting is added.

Value For Money

The lens kit including filters is available for £79 direct from Lomography which makes it good value for money, with the lenses costing roughly £26 each. In addition, the filters make it better value for money than just buying just a cheap "toy" lens on its own.

Alternative toy lenses you could consider include the Olympus Pancake / Cookie 15mm f/8 body cap lens (around £50), the SLR-Magic 25mm f/1.4 Toy Lens (£65), the Wanderlust PinWide Pinhole Lens ($40 US), and the Holga Lens (£20) to name a few.

Lomography Experimental Lens Kit Verdict

To get the best out of these lenses, you would benefit from shooting with a fairly recent Micro Four Thirds camera, as noise performance at higher ISO settings is better, or alternatively use an Olympus or Panasonic camera with built in image stabilisation. However, you can also shoot with these lenses on older cameras too, and the lenses add the ability to shoot multiple exposure shots when your camera may not support it. 

As you can see from the images posted here, these lenses are not about image quality, and sharing these images at anything over 2 megapixels simply highlights the very low image quality these lenses produce. However, if you want to experiment with different lenses on your Micro Four Thirds camera, would like to try some filters and multi-exposure shooting, without having to spend a lot of money, then these are a great way to do it on a budget. The fact that you would need to spend a lot more for a fish-eye lens and a 12mm lens makes it quite an appealing package. The lenses are compact, lightweight, and easy to slip into a bag along with your other kit without adding much weight or bulk. 

Lomography Experimental Lens Kit Pros

Three lens kit
Filters provided
Multi-exposure possible
Compact and lightweight

Lomography Experimental Lens Kit Cons

f/8 aperture will limit usefulness in low-light 
Difficult to focus
Poor image quality
Not the best build quality

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  


Lomography Experimental Lens Kit 24mm Standard Lens Specifications

ManufacturerLomography
General
Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
Lens
Focal Length24mm
Angle of ViewNo Data
Max Aperturef/8
Min ApertureNo Data
Filter SizeNo Data
35mm equivalent48mm
Internal focusingNo
Focusing
Min Focus60cm
StabilisedNo
Construction
Blades0
ElementsNo Data
GroupsNo Data
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data
Dimensions
WeightNo Data
HeightNo Data

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