Notes on the Loreo Lens in a Cap.
Copyright © 2007 NK Guy
The Loreo Lens in a Cap for SLR cameras is a really really clever idea. And, uh, well... thats all I can say positively about it. I really hate to do that, as its such an ingenious concept, and its also the product of a small and innovative company in Hong Kong, China. But the fact is I found photos taken with the lens to be really boring. And Im fairly sure the dullness is a result of the inherent optical qualities of the lens, not of my skill as a photographer.
Whats a Loreo?
Basically, the Loreo Lens in a Cap is a plastic body cap which fits onto your SLR camera. (Canon EOS, Nikon F, Canon FD, Pentax K, Olympus OM, Minolta MD, Minolta AF and M42 universal screwmount versions are made - be sure to get the right type as they are system-specific) It has a small three-element plastic lens and a rotating disc containing holes of varying sizes. This rotating disc is the adjustable aperture for the lens. And thats pretty well it. You cant focus the lens, since its prefocused from about half a metre through to infinity like a cheap point and shoot camera. You can just alter the aperture setting from f/5.6 to f/64; the latter being a near pinhole aperture in size. The focal length is about 35mm or so on a full-frame camera and roughly 55mm on a 1.6x crop camera.
The cap is very small, so it allows you to take photos without a bulky lens attached to your SLR. On a small camera like the EOS 300D/Digital Rebel you get a pretty tiny and portable combination. It weighs virtually nothing - 30 grams.
But the whole thing is kind of pointless since the photos it takes look like crap. Theyre not interesting at all, like a Lensbaby can sometimes be. They dont have any personality, like a lot of toy cameras. They just make photos from your expensive SLR camera look like they were taken with the crummiest point and shoot piece of junk - washed out, low-contrast, colourless, out of focus, dull. And if thats the effect youre after youre best off using the crummiest point and shoot piece of junk and saving the money and hassle.
So. Sorry, guys, but I simply cant recommend this one. I really wish I could. If the lens was of higher quality or produced photos with interesting aberrations, then I think itd be a terrific, convenient and fun way to shoot. But that is not the case.
Loreo also sell tilt-shift and 3D (takes 2 photos via a prism) versions of this lens, but I didnt buy either of those.
Heres a series of the same basic scene, Londons Browning Pool during the annual Cavalcade canal boat meet, taken with three different lenses. The camera used was a digital Canon EOS 10D, which has a 1.6x cropping factor.
The first shot was taken with a professional Canon autofocus lens - the 28-80 2.8-4L. The focal length used was about 80mm. I probably should've used a shorter focal length to more closely match the manual focus lenses. Ah well.
The second shot was taken with an Original Lensbaby lens, which has a focal length of about 50mm. I think it was taken without an aperture disc in place, hence the heavy blurring. And its an effect that not everybody likes, but I think its fair to say that it does have a pretty characteristic look to it. This shot is a little overexposed and could benefit from a little Photoshop contrast adjustment.
The next shot was taken with a Loreo Lens in a Cap at f/64, the smallest or "pinhole" setting. The Loreos focal length is about 35mm. And I think youll agree it doesnt look particularly spectacular. It just looks blah and washed out, as if Id taken the photo through a sheet of dirty plastic. Not only that, but the small aperture setting makes every single speck of dust on the digital image sensor appear as a small black dot on the photo.
The next shot was also taken with a Loreo Lens in a Cap, this time at a medium aperture setting - probably f/8 or so. Still looks like it was shot through a sheet of plastic.
Finally, a Loreo shot at the widest setting - f/5.6.
Frankly I wish I hadnt bought this thing, since I know Ill never use it. Still. The only reason I bought it was for a review on this site, anyway, and it was pretty cheap.
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