In the test: Rollei lens ball for creative crystal ball photography

In the test: the Rollei lens ball with 90 mm

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.

The transport bag and a microfiber cloth are included with the Rollei lens ball. I ordered the two silicone rings extra.

The transport bag and a microfiber cloth are included with the Rollei lens ball. I ordered the two silicone rings extra.

The right choice - why the Rollei glass ball?

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.

Glass ball in the snow - somehow looks like these balls that you have to shake to make it snow in them (photos: Sir Apfelot).

Glass ball in the snow - somehow looks like these balls that you have to shake to make it snow in them (photos: Sir Apfelot).

Why the transport bag is important

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.

What size ball should you take?

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.

Even the 90 mm model weighs one kilogram - that's all you want to balance freely in your hand.

Even the 90 mm model weighs one kilogram - that's all you want to balance freely in your hand.

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.

Silicone egg cups as a useful accessory

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 ...

Contento 655100 Loop trivet made of silicone
  • Silicone
  • versatile application possibilities
  • heat-resistant
Here the glass ball stands on one of the Contento egg cups or trivets. So you can concentrate on taking photos even when things are shaky.

Here the glass ball stands on one of the Contento egg cups or trivets. So you can concentrate on taking photos even when things are shaky.

Glass ball photography - what an adventurous photographer

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:

  • The image "in" the lens ball is always upside down. If you don't want to, either take abstract photos where there is no above or below or later have to make the effort to turn the ball upside down in Lightroom, Photoshop or Luminar.
  • When holding the ball in the sun, watch out for your fingers. The sphere acts like a lens and focuses the light. That can be painful quickly - I noticed! It can also be dangerous on flammable surfaces. So always get into the habit of packing the ball directly into the transport bag when you are not using it. The thing has no place on a desk or living room shelf. Is too dangerous because of the risk of fire.
  • If you are on On the beach or in a meadow is, you can take the risk that Photographing sphere in the air. This may also give exciting photos.
  • water is also always a good subject for glass ball photography. Put the lens ball in a puddle, a stream or on the beach.
  • Glass balls in the snow and on frozen bodies of water are also a nice thing. Winter is coming - try it out!
  • You can also take a whole photo (not just the ball!) in post-production. Sometimes it is exciting when the picture in the sphere is correct and not around the outside.
  • There are often good photos, too, when you on a tower or other elevated position stands. Then you take a further distant subject into focus and press the trigger.
  • The Fokus should be when taking photos on the motif in the ball lie. If the camera can't do that, you go a little further away and crop the photo later.
  • Um Inspiration You can get it very well on Instagram after the hashtag #lensballphotography search. There you will find numerous recordings that show great ideas!
  • Since the glass ball likes to collect fingerprints and lint, it should be used before each use clean a little. Often you only see the disturbing things later on the computer.
  • The sphere acts like a fisheye and also shows things that are outside the shooting range of the lens. You have to be careful here no annoying things are in the picture.
  • Last tip: Tried a lot. Often it is the recordings in which you have not planned anything and simply tried it out that are particularly successful.
Here you can see two points that you have to pay attention to when taking photos with a lens ball: On the one hand, that you don't burn a hole in the palm of your hand and, on the other hand, that you always clean the glass ball nicely before taking photos.

Here you can see two points that you have to pay attention to when taking photos with a lens ball: On the one hand, that you don't burn a hole in the palm of your hand and, on the other hand, that you always clean the glass ball nicely before taking photos.

My conclusion on the Rollei Lensball

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. ;-)

13,00 EUR
Rollei Lensball 90mm I glass ball I crystal ball I photo ball with storage bag & microfiber ...
  • ✅ LENSBALL PHOTOGRAPHY - Turn the world upside down! With our full glass ball made of high quality K9 crystal glass ...
  • ✅ Flawless QUALITY - A strict quality control process ensures that no lensballs with scratches, ...
  • ✅ LET YOUR CREATIVITY RUN - Whether street photography, reflections, landscape shots, bokeh, ...
The set with the Rollei lens ball and the silicone rings is wonderful to take with you on hikes. You can also take a few photos while resting.

The set with the Rollei lens ball and the silicone rings is wonderful to take with you on hikes. You can also take a few photos while resting.

Glass ball photography: sample photos with my iPhone XS

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!

Fragile-looking glass ball on frosted stone - sometimes everything fits ...

Fragile-looking glass ball on frosted stone - sometimes everything fits ...

 

Here you can only see an autumn bouquet through the ball - but it also looks nice.

Here you can only see an autumn bouquet through the ball - but it also looks nice.

 

Lensball photography in front of the fireplace - it's kind of like Mordor, right ?!

Lensball photography in front of the fireplace - it's kind of like Mordor, right ?!

 

Made on a hike: blue skies almost always look good.

Made on a hike: blue skies almost always look good.

 

Here I took the photo with the iPhone's portrait mode. But you need a long arm so that the ball is far enough away.

Here I took the photo with the iPhone's portrait mode. But you need a long arm so that the ball is far enough away.

 

That was just a quick test, but it also looks kind of interesting: lens ball on a tree.

That was just a quick test, but it also looks kind of interesting: lens ball on a tree.

 

Also a nice composition - snow, cat, glass ball and an iPhone XS for taking photos.

Also a nice composition - snow, cat, glass ball and an iPhone XS for taking photos.

 

Difficult to plan: Unfortunately cats always do what they want, but sometimes they do the right thing by mistake!

Difficult to plan: Unfortunately cats always do what they want, but sometimes they do the right thing by mistake!

 

Lensball on a frozen pond - not only looks beautiful, but is also fun: when you turn the ball, it doesn't stop turning because the friction between the ice and the glass is so low.

Lensball on a frozen pond - not only looks beautiful, but is also fun: when you turn the ball, it doesn't stop turning because the friction between the ice and the glass is so low.

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The page contains affiliate links / images: Amazon.de

3 comments

  1. Mausi says:

    Oh that thing is so beautiful! I've always wanted something like that, but I thought the bullets would be much more expensive. Thanks for the great tips. In particular, I wasn't aware of the weight. I will definitely take the smaller one, otherwise it will always be at home because I don't want to lug around a heavy glass ball.

  2. Horst Hader says:

    Hi Jens,
    Another tip from you that I couldn't resist. I ordered the 90 mm ball + the coasters. Mausi has already said "Oh, this thing is so beautiful! I've always wanted something like this, but I thought the balls are much more expensive."
    I also have a tip that I discovered at Arktis.de: FocusGrip monopod. It is a smartphone holder. Ideal for me to take pictures with my Xs. Since I can only use my left arm to a very limited extent, I don't always have to worry about my Xs slipping out of my hand. I will report on my experiences with glass ball photography (I've never done it before, but I'm fascinated by your report) and the FocusGrip.

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Hello Horst! Thanks to you for the tip with the Focus Monogrip! I just ordered that. : D It not seldom happens to me that the iPhone "lives" dangerously when I have to hold it with one hand in landscape mode and pull the trigger. With the monogrip it should be much more comfortable! And since I only take pictures with my iPhone anyway, I buy the accessory. I will then maybe treat him to an extra report, if I could gain a little experience. ;-)

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