Hands-On Review: The Lensbaby Trio 28


Are you a fan of Lensbaby lenses but not a fan of carrying a lot of different lenses with you when you head out to make photographs? The Lensbaby Trio 28 might be just what you did not know you have been dreaming of. The Trio 28 is a single optical housing that contains three different 28mm lenses for the Lensbaby aficionado—the Velvet, Sweet, and a new Petzval-like lens, the Twist. The Trio 28 is designed for Lensbaby fans who use a variety of mirrorless cameras and comes in Canon EF-M, Canon RFFUJIFILM XNikon ZSony E, and Micro Four Thirds mounts.

All photos © Todd Vorenkamp

The Trio 28 is all manual—a smooth, satin chrome-finished, metal manual focus ring with engraved markings covers the entire outside barrel of the lens. The three optics are mounted at the front and can be selected individually by twisting the inner ring. There are no aperture adjustments and each lens is fixed at f/3.5. The 28mm focal length of each lens gives an APS-C 35mm equivalent of 42mm, and a 35mm equivalent of 56mm on MFT cameras. Minimum focus distance for all three lenses is 8".

The lens system is lightweight at 4.9 ounces, but the large diameter of the lens housing really dominates the business end of a smaller mirrorless camera. I won’t claim that the Lensbaby Trio 28 is a super-stylish addition to your camera, but if you are a fan of Lensbaby, you probably think there are more important elements in your photography than how your gear looks to others—you might like the funky three-eyed look of the Trio 28.


Modeled after the Lensbaby Velvet 56mm f/1.6 Lens available for Canon EF, Pentax K, Nikon F, Sony A, Sony E, FUJIFILM X, Micro Four Thirds, and Samsung NX), the Trio 28’s “Velvet” option gives an overall etherealness to your images. The center is sharp(er), but the edges melt away with, as Lensbaby puts it, a “delicate glow.” The Velvet 56 lens proves to be much more versatile than its distant Trio 28 cousin. Because the Velvet 56 has an adjustable aperture, the photographer can dial back the dream-like personality of the lens toward the look of a more of a traditional optic. The Trio 28’s Velvet has three multi-coated glass elements in two groups.

See our two hands-on reviews of the Lensbaby Velvet 56mm here and here.


The Trio 28’s “Sweet” gives a central sweet spot for sharp focus with a progressively increasing blur as you work toward the edges. On a mirrorless camera, focus peaking will emphasize how the Sweet lens emphasizes a central focus region—bringing the central sweet spot into and out of focus with a twist of the Trio 28’s focus ring. The Sweet has three multi-coated glass elements in three groups.


Here we have Lensbaby’s take on the swirly bokeh fashion (or fad?). The Trio 28’s “Twist” is a miniature Petzval-like optical design that gives the photographer a large central sharp focus area surrounded by a circular bokeh pattern. The Petzval first appeared in 1840, designed by Professor Joseph Petzval of Vienna, Austria. Lensbaby’s take on the Petzval with the Trio 28 is another foray into the world of swirly bokeh, following the Twist 60 (also available for the Nikon F, Canon EF, and Sony E mount). The Trio 28’s Twist has four multi-coated glass elements in three groups.

Hands On

The Lensbaby Trio is certainly easy to use. The focus motion is clean and has a good feel to it. The engraved markings on the lens might benefit from being polished a bit to give a really smooth feel to the barrel, but that might happen over time, with use. The focus throw (dare I say?) is a perfect distance—a quarter turn takes you from the 8" close-focus distance to infinity.

If I had one complaint about the handling of the Trio 28, it is that switching between the three lenses is not as easy as I would like it to be. The feel is good, and the detents are solid and confident, but the amount of surface area you have to grip to turn the lens barrels is on the small side and it is not textured in any way.

In real life, the three lenses feel more similar than they feel different. They all have their special characteristics, but if you were shooting on the fly and did not have the time to dial up a particular lens, you’d likely be happy with whatever result you got from the lens you had selected. In fact, looking back through my images, it became clear I should have taken better notes about each image to help my mind recall which Trio optic I was using.

One interesting trick that I discovered was the ability to perform a simulated double exposure by snapping an image while I had the lens selection ring turned in between two of the lenses. I am sure that interesting photos are waiting to be captured when creative photographers try this experiment.



If there are common threads connecting the Lensbaby lens family, they are creativity and fun. As someone who spends his photographic life in the constant search for sharpness while attempting to recreate simply what the eye has seen, mounting the Lensbaby Trio 28 on my camera lets me see and capture the world in a very different way. Spending a weekend with the Trio 28 was fun, but I will admit that I did pack a “normal” lens in my kit just in case I saw something that really didn’t work with the Lensbaby aesthetic.

In the world of Instagram filters and special digitally manipulated camera modes, the Lensbaby Trio 28, and the rest of the Lensbaby lineup, for that matter, is still unique in the way that it delivers distinctive effects without the magic of digital help. Because we are so used to seeing “creative” images online these days, Lensbaby finds itself almost mainstream, in a sense.

Lensbaby has its share of devoted followers. I predict that the Trio 28 will definitely be a popular addition to the Lensbaby lineup due to its optics and the mere convenience of having three creative lenses in one lightweight package.

Are you a Lensbaby devotee? Please tell us about your favorite Lensbaby optics in the Comments section, below.



Nice review! Great photos. Have you used the Lensbaby macro filters on the Trio 28? Any thoughts? Just bought a Nikon z50 from B and H Photo.

Hi Bette,

Thanks for the question and I apologize for the reply...I was out of the office on leave for 3 weeks!

I do not think that the Lensbaby macro filters will work on the Trio 28, but I could be wrong. It might be worth an experiment and I would love to know if it works! In the meantime, I will email Lensbaby.

Lensbaby does make Trio28-specific filters: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1381347-REG/lensbaby_lbt28kx_trio_28_lens_with.html

Please let me know if you have more questions!


Hi again, Bette,

I just emailed my friends at Lensbaby and they do not recommend using the Lensbaby macro filters on the Trio 28. It can be done physically, but you'll get some optical strangeness.

I hope this helps!

Great write up, Todd! Really enjoyed the images too. I especially liked the photos with the "sort-of double exposure", look to them. A very niche lens, and crazy amount of creative potential. Can't wait to get my copy!


Hey @timallday,

Thanks for the kind words! I hope you make great stuff with yours!

Thanks for stopping by!



How does this lens do with. Micro 4/3 sensor- really? Doesnt it more fit a larger sensor which does not crop out the blurred edges and beauty of the ethereal lens in the first place? Isn't this really a retrofit for micro 4/3, but not a real fit to get the Lensbaby effect?

Lensbaby needs to design lenses specifically for micro 4/3 , many photographers are using them. 



Hey Jay,

I did not get to shoot the lens on a Micro Four Thirds camera, but my guess is that you will be losing the extreme effects at the far edges of the frame due to the tighter crop.

If I mentally crop my images from the article, I see that the super soft edges will probably be lost on Micro Four Thirds. However, you will get some of the effect.

If the Trio 28 was designed for full-frame, I would say that Micro Four Third users would be left out in the cold, but as this lens was designed for smaller sensors, you might be ok. Also, the fact that they built it with a dedicated Micro Four Thirds mount is a good sign.

And, regarding Lensbaby, I am sure they would be receptive to a bunch of Olympus and Panasonic photographers requesting a specialized Micro Four Thirds lens. You never know what happens if they get enough emails!

We do have a 30-day return policy here, so I would encourage you to take the lens for a spin and see if it works for your Micro Four Thirds camera(s).

Thanks for the email! Sorry I am not more help on this issue!

Thanks for the review! I'm still trying to decide if I need this lens. I'm a lensbaby fan and have lots of their gear already, including the Composer Focus Front for mirrorless cameras. But I don't have the Velvet 56 or the Twist, so this might be the simplest way to try out those optics. I just worry that the fixed aperture might be limiting... but on the other hand, limitations can be a creative booster...

Hey Karen,

Tough call. Having used the Velvet, I can tell you that the Trio is a completely different experience. The Velvet is much more of a traditional lens and can actually be quite "normal" when stopped down. The Trio is a convenient way to travel light and get several Lensbaby effects without all of the control of the more "traditional" lenses.

Put it on your holiday wish list and hope that someone gives it to you as a gift to spare you the debate? :)

Thanks for reading! I am glad you enjoyed the review!

Video?  Why have micro 4/3s if you don't do a little video.  Lensbaby's ad/website included video.  In fact, it's the only video I've seen anywhere shot with this lens.  A missed opportunity here.   (And PS... your photos are fine! )

I'm thinking of paring this with a Panasonic GX85 and I'd love to see some video examples before I make the purchase. 


I actually shot this on APS-C with a Fujifilm X-T1...and, full disclosure, I have never shot video on anything but an iPhone. So, had I shot an HD video with the Fujifilm, it would have probably been horrible—not because of the camera or lens, but because it would have been the work of a rookie videographer!

If you like Lensbaby and the effects shown above, I have no reason to believe you wouldn't enjoy this lens for video. The long and smooth focus action would lend itself to video. But, without an adjustable aperture, I would assume video work would be a bit more challenging if light conditions change through a scene.


PS. Thanks for the PS! I am glad you liked the images.

I've been using Lensbabies since v1, and the Composer Pro/Sweet 35 combo is the current set-up for my old Pentax K10D and Panny GX1. I've got some history with the Lensbaby folks. I'm a big fan. They make good stuff.

I'm planning on adding the Trio 28 to my M43 kit. Looks like a nifty little lens.

Thanks for the review, Todd. 

Thanks for reading and sharing your images, Russ! I am glad you enjoyed the review and I hope you enjoy your Trio!

Need some better pictures in this article.  The examples shown made me think, "wow, what a piece of ____."  The photos are generic and could easily be created with an Instagram filter.  This article made me think 10/10 would not buy.  Imho

You have no clue about what a lesbaby is !! So  go ahead and use a filter and pretent that you are creative - good luck - maybe someday you WILL get it





I like the photos - I think it would be inspiring to use that lens -nice to have choices - without using  a TS lens



Whay is important in a picture is 1) subjetc 2) framins ang light. What happens in post prod is simple technique useful but just that : technique. Therefoe when someone says about a good photo : "what a piece of _____" he dismisses all creative artists from the 20th century who took fantastic pictures but didn't have photoshop to enhance their images : Bernice Abbott, Cartier Bresson, Stieglitz, Doisneau, Marc Riboud, Frank Capra, and all others … this is ridiculous. 





Thank you, vincent7520!

I agree!

Hello Human,

I am sorry you did not like the photographs. I personally believe that they are very representative of the effects one gets by using the Lensbaby Trio 28 lens.

If you are looking for more image sharpness or some other "traditional" photographic look, the Trio 28 is not the lens for you.

I mention in the article that the Lensbaby allows you to produce images optically that many photographers achieve only with the use of digital/social media filters. It is a matter of opinion, of course, but the magic of this lens is that you don't need to drag your images into Instagram to get a digital filter to get these effects.

Please feel free to articulate what you did not like about the images be it the subject, lighting, composition, or something else.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Interesting lens, interesting photos.  Yes, the Lens baby could be called a hokey effect, but one thing I am (re)learining after doing photography seriously in the darkroom environment many decades ago is twofold: 1.  Photoshop, at its best, offers the same tools that photographers have been using for decades, including Stieglitz, Adams, Cunnignham to name a few: burning, dodging, altering contrast and depth, bringing out things we want to emphasize and minimizing tings we don't.  "Performing"an image in photoshop is similar to "performing" an image in a darkroom setting even though the tools are different.  2. Above all else photography should be moving, interesting, and perhaps challenging -- but above all it should also be fun, for photographer and viewer alike.  Lensbaby fits that category to a "T".  And as a micro 4/3 photographer, by choice, I am delighted the lens is available for my cameras.  Nice article, nice photos, and the lens looks like . . . fun!  Thanks for the review. 

Hey John,

Thank you for reading, your comments, and the kind words!

You are correct, Photoshop is basically the digital darkroom, but there are still some "tricks" that can be better performed optically at capture than digitally after capture.

Photographing with the Lensbaby is definitely fun, especially because it produces images very different than I usually capture. Sometimes it is challenging and enjoyable to step into a different photographic world, even if only for a weekend!

Thanks again!

I have to agree. When I saw the lens, I was very intrigued. After I saw the photos, I was no longer interested in the lens.

Hi Tom,

I am sorry you didn't like the images. Was it the subject matter or the effects of the lens that did not meet your muster?

Thanks for reading!