LENS WordPress Theme Review

Product by:
Peter Zaborszky
Price:
45

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On October 31, 2013
Last modified:November 6, 2013

Summary:

lens_main_screen

LENS is a Themeforest premium WordPress theme designed mostly for the important things in photography, your images. The design is purposely minimal and flat, stunning in every way as the author PixelGrade intended. All features in the LENS theme were chosen specifically and designed to specifications by the PixelGrade so their interaction within the theme and each other is perfect. The LENS theme comes with the PixelGrade package of PixCodes plugins, as well as unlimited color options, responsive slider galleries, well over 600 Google fonts, many social networking options, SEO optimization control, and of course is Retina Ready for those high definition photos.


Designer’s Opinion

I would argue that the transitions and animations are what make the LENS theme.

 

I really enjoy the trend usage of black and dark greys with yellow. Granted that is merely the default color as the choices are unlimited. The initial layout is a nice change of pace when it comes to the UI. I like the fixed navigation body to the side of the content area. It is always nice to see authors explore other options when it comes to navigation rather than sticking to the top all the time.

 

The interactivity on the site is an excellent feature starting with the navigation’s ability to use transitions on drop-down menus while avoiding issues with vertical scrolling. At the same time the vertical responsiveness of the site activates a vertical scroll option specific to the navigation should your browser’s height be far too small.

Quirks as of October 29, 2013:

The browser scroll bar – A nice touch to the theme is the use of a custom scroll bar for the browser. However, intended or not the scroll bar disappears when changing to the mobile device width.

The lack of outline around certain flat black or white elements – There are several elements, particularly the Pix slider that have UI or user interface controls that are a flat white or black with the themes color of yellow. The problem with this is that the UI overlays onto the picture, so if you have a picture that is exceptionally dark or bright, you may visually lose UI control. This is also notable for the Full Screen gallery option.

Scrolls bars in the full Galleries – In either of the Full Width or Full Screen galleries, both vertical scroll bars are initially visible but cannot be used with these types of galleries. They do however disappear when you try to click or vertically scroll with them.

H1 tag in Right Sidebar portfolio – A minor issue, one I’m sure PixelGrade will fix sooner or later. When the LENS theme is viewed at mobile size, the first H1 tag on the content page of the Right Sidebar is floating off out of alignment and hitting the navigation container.

Warning:

The LENS theme requires a lot of JavaScript in order to bring it to its fully functioning potential. So, if you intend to host this theme with monetization it is best to avoid placing advertisement containing Flash as the combination can potentially drop the performance of browser and lower grade computers users.


Highlights

Gallery Types:

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Grid Gallery

The Grid Gallery is pretty much what you see on the front page the LENS theme. The only major difference is the information providing to you. For example, the Grid Gallery does not show how many likes. Although, it is most likely the elements on the rollover of the Grid Gallery are optional and could apply a Like Button if need be.

 

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Full Width

A Full Width gallery provides the user with a much larger image but with limited information. It is a minimalist approach to visual design for the sole purpose of showing off the photo and nothing else.

 

lens_full_screen

Full Screen

The Full Screen option of the galleries is exactly what is says and looks like on the tin. Similar to the Full Width option, it removed the navigations background allowing the picture to fully dominate the screen as the navigation overlays on it. And like the Full Width version, it too is a minimalist approach that simply shows the image and nothing more in terms of the photographer who took the picture or any website information.

As a designer, this is my personal favorite of the optional galleries available in LENS.

 

lens_gallery_archiveGalleries Archive

The Galleries Archive is essentially the Grid Gallery with one obvious difference being the filter or sort by button at the bottom of the page.

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Masonry Journal Section

In the LENS theme features Masonry in its Journal section. If you are concerned with dates, it can get a little scroll the further you scroll down at the date orders become more vertically misaligned as a result of the height of the element above them. Of course if you do not care about date order then is it of no concern.

 

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Flawless Page Transitions

As stated early, one the greater features of the LENS theme is its transitions between pages and any of the smaller animations that help to bring the theme to life.

 

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Shortcodes

Pixelgrade took the time and effort to create visual shortcodes that come as default with LENS have transitional animation.  All of which come complete with color customization.

Portfolio layout

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Right Sidebar

 lens_portfolio_full_width

Full Width

The LENS theme’s comes with 3 default portfolio settings: Full Width and Right Sidebar are above, the third option Classic is just the Right Sidebar without the sidebar. Any of the portfolio types are worth using and provide most of the visually essential social networking information. This includes social networking icons, clients name, genre, and probably the only thing more important than the social icons is the Like Button.


Features

•    Responsive Design
•    Retina Ready (provided you upload pictures at least 700px wide)
•    Ultra Smooth scrolling
•    Unlimited colors control of the site-wide accent colour
•    Over 600 Google Web Fonts to choose from
•    Standard & Video Portfolio Projects
•    Floating header with a cool search integrated into it
•    Site-wide area to display the Latest Tweets
•    The custom made and easy to use PixCodes plugin:
–    Grid shortcode with interactive sliders
–    Icons shortcode (302 FontAwesome and 250+ Entypo icons)
–    Progress Bars shortcode
–    Tabs shortcode
–    Divider shortcode
–    Button shortcode
–    Quote
•    Extensive theme options based on our awesome WpGrade Framework
•    Free from PHP notices and warnings (debug mode on was used during development)
•    Multilingual Translation ready and .po/.mo files for localisation included ( WPML )
•    W3C HTML5/ CSS3 Valid

•    Social and SEO optimized:
–    Facebook OpenGraph meta tags
–    Google Plus meta tags
–    Twitter meta tags (Twitter Cards)
–    Schema.org markup for Google Rich Snippets support
•    12 custom page layouts:
–    Gallery grid
–    Full Width Gallery Slider
–    Full Screen Gallery Slider
–    Portfolio Archive
–    Full Width Single Project
–    Single Project With Right Sidebar
–    Classic Single Project
–    Blog Archive
–    Single Blog Post
–    About Page – Studio
–    About Page – Personal
–    Contact page with Google Maps and Contact Form 7
•    See project images in a lightbox responsive and mobile ready modal window
•    Multiple Post Formats support for Blog Posts (video, audio, quote)
•    5 custom designed widgets:
–    Twitter Feed Widget
–    Flickr photostream widget (pull the latest images from a Flickr user or RSS feed)
–    Dribbble images widget that can display the latest images from a Dribbble user account
–    Social icons (with custom icons and drag and drop ordering)
–    Latest posts
–    Contact widget


Price
Regular License: $45
Extended License: $2250

The LENS theme is a steal for $45 dollars. Remember you are not just paying for the theme but also the plugins that come with it. Each one painstakingly built to custom specification for the LENS theme. This theme was built mainly for photographers and as such you could be making fifty times that much in a single month. But of course it is not limited to photography as it generally lies in the category of the portfolio genre. This allows it to be used by anyone who wishes to display their art with meaning as the theme provides plenty of display for your work.


Conclusion
If you are a photographer, general artist or even an architect who wants to focus on their craft without the hassle of building an online presence then this theme is for you. I personally feel that a theme like LENS is a great setup for those photographers who need to show off their work quickly and efficiently. However if you are looking for a theme with pricing and shopping options you may need to ask PixelGrade themselves as the LENS theme does not apparently provide such things. Regardless, it is recommended to take a look at this theme and see the LENS for with your own eyes.

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