Chapter in this post:
I think I saw this thing for the first time in some Instagram ad ... paired with great examples of crystal ball photography, of course. Unfortunately, I am quite susceptible to such photo gadgets and the next day I got myself a glass ball. The selection of these glass balls is quite large when you are on Amazon. So I would like to briefly explain to you why I chose the Rollei lens ball and also give tips on what to look out for when buying and taking photos.
On the one hand, of course, the many 5 star ratings (which don't look like you've bought them!) Were a strong criterion for my choice. But even if you just look at the price and also take the size of the ball into account, you realize that the non-name offers are not that cheap and don't even have as good ratings as the Rollei ball. In addition, there is also a very practical, padded bag that "protects" the glass ball if it falls on a stone. The mandatory microfiber cloth for cleaning, on the other hand, is included with almost every offer and should not necessarily influence the purchase choice.
What should definitely be observed with glass spheres for photography: It should be free of air inclusions. One then speaks of "photographer quality", although I find the word relatively meaningless. I couldn't even see a tiny air bubble on the Rollei glass ball. That would also be very annoying, as these would be perceived as a disturbing element in the photos.
Ultimately, from my experience in the last few weeks, the bag is a really underestimated accessory, because this well-padded transport bag allows you to simply throw the lens ball into the backpack when packing for a hike without having to protect it. But also when you unpack the lens ball outside to take photos, the transport bag offers a good opportunity to "park" the ball in between. Especially when you are out and about in rocky areas, the padding is a nice security for the photography crystal ball.
If you look at the offers for such photography glass balls, you will find sizes from 60 to 150 mm in diameter - in some cases even up to 200 mm. With the Rollei glass ball you have to choose between the sizes 60 mm, 90 mm and 110 mm. I bought the "golden mean" and in retrospect I am very happy with it.
If the lens ball is too small, it looks too puny in some photos. If you take a lot of photos with the iPhone, as I do, you can't get infinitely close because the camera can no longer focus, so the sphere shouldn't be too small to fill an essential part of the image .
Buying the largest ball does not make sense, however, because you will often have enough situations where you are standing in nature and have to hold the ball as far away from you as possible with one hand while holding the iPhone with the other hand two fingers balanced to reach the release button with a third one. Then you are happy if you have not taken the 11 cm ball, because it is really heavy.
The 9 cm model alone already weighs 1 kg - which needs to be kept wobbly! And consider: The volume of a sphere (and thus its weight) increases eightfold when the radius is doubled, since the radius increases with r3 is included in the formula for volume calculation. That is, if the 9 cm ball weighs 1 kg (which it does in fact), then the 11 cm ball weighs just over 1,8 kg. A 20 cm ball already weighs over 10 kg. You don't want to carry that around!
The 9 cm glass ball is the practical center and big enough to look impressive in photos, but still handy enough to be able to hold it with one hand for a short time. And don't forget: when you go hiking, you have to carry the Klopper around all the time. So the weight is not to be underestimated.
I have another "accessory" Load of silicone rings also ordered, which are actually intended as egg cups or trivets. They are perfect for "fixing" the ball on smooth surfaces, otherwise there is always the risk that the ball will roll away. For the photographs I always take a black and a white one with me - depending on whether the background is light or dark. The two rings still fit in the transport bag and I have the remaining 4 rings as trivets in the kitchen cupboard. So everything is well taken care of ...
Now we have bought the glass ball, but what do you have to consider when taking pictures? You can also buy books (such as dieses hier or this one), but these are mostly thin reference works, the contents of which can also be searched quite easily on the Internet. Maybe I'll do a longer post on the topic myself, but a few short tips and hints should suffice at this point:
At first I wasn't sure whether you could only take a handful of photos with the lens ball and then the thing would be in the corner. But that is not the case. The photo glass ball is relatively versatile and always brings surprising results to light.
I am very satisfied with the lens ball and think it's also a great gift for amateur photographers who like to take pictures with the iPhone. You don't necessarily have to have an iPhone, but you can use it to significantly expand the possibilities of smartphones in the field of photography. The 90 mm Rollei lens ball is my recommendation, as the glass ball has no inclusions and the transport bag is extremely practical. And the children and our cats also find this thing very exciting. ;-)
Before I lose any more words, I would just like to leave you with a few photos that I took with my iPhone XS. They are all unedited so that you can see what beautiful effects can be achieved without post-processing. The photos are only cropped and scaled down so that they are suitable for the website. I hope there are a few that you like. If so, I would be happy if you shared them on Pinterest!
Jens has been running the blog since 2012. He appears as Sir Apfelot for his readers and helps them with problems of a technical nature. In his free time he drives electric unicycles, takes photos (preferably with his iPhone, of course), climbs around in the Hessian mountains or hikes with the family. His articles deal with Apple products, news from the world of drones or solutions for current bugs.
The page contains affiliate links / images: Amazon.de