Lensbaby is a manufacturer of award-winning DSLR and mirrorless camera lenses, enabling creative effects for inventive photographers. The company was founded in 2004 by Craig Strong. Tired of the same old perspectives offered by stock camera lenses, Craig joined an old Speed Graphic lens with a shortened shop vacuum hose to create a unique photographic viewpoint completely different from anything available in a regular DSLR lens. Craig’s prototype inspired the original Lensbaby lens.
With the advent of small action cameras such as the GoPro, Craig looked at creating a lens that would capture immersive footage with a unique perspective. Thus, the Circular 180+ lens was born. The Circular 180+ lens creates fully circular fisheye video and images.
The Circular 180+ lens attaches to your GoPro’s housing (tested with a Hero 4) and allows you to capture far more than the human eye can see in every direction. Among the BikeRumor crew, I may have the most experience with GoPro cameras and producing cycling-related videos (link to my YouTube channel). Getting creative with point-of-view videos can be limiting, so I thought it would be neat to check out the different perspective of the Lensbaby Circular 180+ lens.
Installation of the Lensbaby Circular 180+ lens is very simple.
Loosen the attachment set screw and slip the Circular 180+ lens into place over the front of the GoPro’s waterproof case.
Once the lens is in place atop the GoPro’s lens, tighten the set screw to hold the Circular 180+ lens in place.
Just like the GoPro’s housing, the Lensbaby Circular 180+ is waterproof too, up to a depth of 10 meters (32 feet). The field of view with the lens is 185 degrees with a fully circular image in 16:9 wide recording mode. Underwater, the full circular view reduces to 120 degrees. The lens also increases the GoPro’s depth of field bringing nearly everything into focus.
A good way to demonstrate the Lensbaby Circular 180+ lens was to film a few sequences from a recent road bike ride with the lens installed – and without – and assemble into a short demonstration video.
The Lensbaby Circular 180+ fisheye lens certainly offers an interesting perspective on one’s local group ride, or however else you decide to utilize it.
However, in the image above, I find the vast expanse of black space either side of the image to be visually unappealing. I much prefer to see all of the screen real estate available; in this case, 1080P at 60 frames per second. With a fisheye lens, there is of course a trade-off.
With this said, the Lensbaby Circular 180+ lens may be of interest to other budding cycling videographers out there. It is simple to install, reasonably priced at $80 US and can bring a unique angle to your videos.