Lensbaby Lenses – Your Full Guide

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Lensbaby Lenses - Your Full Guide

Lensbaby lenses are a unique and popular choice for photographers looking to add a creative touch to their images. These lenses are designed to create a selective focus effect, which can give your photos a dreamy, ethereal quality.

In this article, we will discover the world of Lensbaby lenses, Learn about the different types and models, how to use them, and finally, we will explore some of their accessories.

What is the Lensbaby system of lenses?

Lensbaby is a company that specializes in creating lenses that allow photographers to achieve creative and unique effects in their photos. Their lenses are designed to give a selective focus effect, which means that only a small portion of the image is in focus while the rest is blurred. This effect can add a dreamy and artistic touch to your photos.

The Lensbaby system of lenses includes a variety of options to choose from. One of their most popular lenses is the Composer Pro II with Edge 50 Optic. This lens allows you to tilt the focus plane, giving you control over the area of focus in your image. In addition, The Edge 50 Optic also creates a sharp slice of focus surrounded by blur, adding a unique touch to your photos.

Another popular option is the Velvet 56 lens. This lens has a soft and dreamy effect, perfect for portraits and still-life photography. The Velvet 56 also has a macro feature, allowing you to get up close and personal with your subject.

If you’re looking for a more extreme effect, the Sweet 80 lens may be for you. This lens creates a circular area of focus surrounded by blur, giving your photos a surreal and otherworldly feel.

The Lensbaby system of lenses includes options for different camera mounts, so you can use their lenses with your preferred camera brand. They also offer accessories such as extension tubes and filters to further enhance your creative possibilities.

Lensbaby Lenses - Your Full Guide

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Why The Lensbaby Lenses are Unique and Popular

Lensbaby lenses are unique and popular among photographers for several reasons. Here are just a few:

  • They offer a creative and artistic approach to photography. With Lensbaby lenses, you can create images that have a dreamy, ethereal quality that’s hard to achieve with other lenses.
  • They allow for selective focus. With a Lensbaby lens, you can choose which part of your image is in focus and which part is blurred, creating a sense of depth and dimensionality.
  • They’re versatile. Lensbaby lenses can be used for a wide range of photography styles, from portraits to landscapes to still life.
  • They’re well-made. Lensbaby lenses are constructed with high-quality materials and are built to last.
  • They’re affordable. While some high-end lenses can cost thousands of dollars, Lensbaby lenses are priced affordably, making them accessible to a wide range of photographers.

Lensbaby Lenses - Your Full Guide

Photo by Grigory Gabrielian Jr.

Differences between Lensbaby lenses and Tilt-shift lenses

There are two popular options for achieving unique looks: tilt-shift lenses and Lensbaby lenses. While both types of lenses can create interesting effects, there are some key differences to consider.

While Tilt-shift lenses are designed to correct perspective distortion in architectural photography. They allow you to shift the lens up, down, left, or right, which can help straighten lines and prevent buildings from appearing to lean. They also allow you to tilt the lens, which can change the plane of focus and create a selective focus effect.

On the other hand, Lensbaby lenses are designed specifically for creative effects. They allow you to achieve selective focus, where only a small portion of the image is in focus while the rest is blurred. This effect can add a dreamy and artistic touch to your photos.

Here are some more specific differences between tilt-shift lenses and Lensbaby lenses:

  • Purpose: Tilt-shift lenses are primarily used for correcting perspective distortion in architectural photography, while Lensbaby lenses are used for creative effects.
  • Control: Tilt-shift lenses offer more precise control over the plane of focus, while Lensbaby lenses offer more organic and unpredictable effects.
  • Price: Tilt-shift lenses tend to be more expensive than Lensbaby lenses, as they are designed for professional use.
  • Compatibility: Tilt-shift lenses are available from camera manufacturers such as Canon and Nikon, while Lensbaby lenses are available for a variety of camera brands.
  • Learning curve: Tilt-shift lenses can be more difficult to use and require more practice to master, while Lensbaby lenses are generally easier to use and can produce interesting effects right away.

In conclusion, both tilt-shift lenses and Lensbaby lenses offer unique and interesting effects for your photography. While they have some similarities, such as the ability to create selective focus, they also have some key differences to consider.

Lensbaby Lenses - Your Full Guide

Photo by Julissa Helmuth

Types of Lensbaby Lenses

Lensbaby offers a range of different lens models, each with its own unique features and benefits. Here’s an overview of some of the most popular Lensbaby lenses:

  1. Composer Pro II:

This lens type features a ball-and-socket design that allows you to tilt and shift the lens to create a range of different effects. There are two types of Lensbaby composer pro (Sweet and Edge), both lenses allow you to achieve selective focus, where only a small portion of the image is in focus while the rest is blurred.

  • The Sweet type has a curved field of focus, which means that the area of focus is curved and can create a circular area of sharp focus surrounded by blur. The Sweet 50 has a rotating aperture ring that allows you to change the size of the sweet spot of focus.
  • The Edge type has a flat field of focus, which means that the area of focus is flat and parallel to the camera sensor. The Edge 50 allows you to tilt the lens to control the plane of focus.

These lenses are available at different focal lengths and with different lens mounts to suit Canon, Nikon, and Sony cameras.  The following example is for the Canon EF camera.

The Composer Pro II with Sweet 50 Optic is a lens that allows you to selectively focus on specific details in your photos. It has a 50mm focal length and a 12-blade adjustable aperture that ranges from f/2.5 through f/22.

By tilting the lens, you can place the sweet spot of focus anywhere within the frame, creating a sense of wonder and feeling in your photos.

The aperture not only controls the depth of field but also the size of the sweet spot of focus. Brighter apertures produce a smaller sweet spot of focus with more dramatic blur, while darker apertures give you a larger area of focus with less blur.

The Sweet 50 Optic is part of the Lensbaby Optic SwapTM System, which allows you to switch between different lenses depending on your needs.

The Composer Pro II with Sweet 50 Optic has a curved field of focus optic that creates a spot of focus surrounded by blur. It has a minimum focusing distance of 15” and a maximum focusing distance of infinity.

The lens is manual focus and can tilt from zero to 15 degrees. It’s also compatible with the Lensbaby Optic SwapTM System and has 2 multi-coated glass elements in one group with 46mm front threads.

Pros:
  • Selective focus capabilities allow you to choose which part of your image is in focus and which part is blurred
  • Adjustable aperture allows you to control the amount of blur and bokeh in your images
  • Compatible with the Optic Swap System, allowing you to experiment with different optics to achieve different effects
Cons:
  • Can be difficult to achieve sharp focus, especially at wider apertures
  • The tilt mechanism can be stiff and difficult to adjust

Lensbaby Lenses - Your Full Guide

Photo by April milani

The Lensbaby Composer Pro II with Edge 50 Optic for Canon EF is a unique and creative lens that allows photographers to achieve selective focus and tilt control. This lens is designed to add a dreamy and artistic touch to your photos, making them stand out from the crowd.

The Edge 50 Optic creates a sharp slice of focus surrounded by blur, which can add depth and interest to your photos. By tilting the lens, you can control the area of focus and create a unique look that sets your photos apart.

This lens has a focal length of 50mm and an aperture range of f/3.2 to f/22. It is compatible with Canon EF mount cameras and has a manual focus system. The tilt range of the lens is up to 15 degrees, giving you precise control over the plane of focus.

The Lensbaby Composer Pro II with Edge 50 Optic is perfect for photographers who want to experiment and play with their photography. Whether you’re shooting portraits, landscapes, or still life, this lens can help you achieve a unique and creative look that expresses your artistic vision.

Pros:
  • Selective focus: The Edge 50 Optic creates a sharp slice of focus surrounded by blur, which can add depth and interest to your photos.
  • Tilt control: By tilting the lens, you can control the area of focus and create a unique look that sets your photos apart.
Cons:
  • Manual focus: This lens has a manual focus system, which can be challenging for some photographers who are used to autofocus lenses.
  • Limited aperture range: The aperture range of this lens is f/3.2 to f/22, which may not be sufficient for some photographers who need a wider range of apertures.

Lensbaby Lenses - Your Full Guide

  1. Velvet 56

This lens has a soft, dreamy look that’s perfect for portraits and still-life photography. It also has a macro feature that allows you to get up close and personal with your subjects.

The Lensbaby Velvet 56mm f/1.6 Lens for Canon EF mount is a unique lens that produces a soft, glowing image quality that’s perfect for expressive and ethereal portraits. The lens has a slightly longer-than-normal focal length and a fast f/1.6 maximum aperture, making it great for low-light situations and achieving a shallow depth of field with controllable sharpness.

The lens also offers a 1:2 maximum magnification and a minimum working distance of 5″ for macro shooting.

The lens is housed in a black metal barrel and features smooth, dampened manual focus control for increased creative flexibility. The overall softness of the image can be controlled by stopping down the lens while still retaining the smooth tonality of a soft focus lens.

The Lensbaby Velvet 56mm f/1.6 Lens is consistent with Lensbaby’s aim of providing selective focus capabilities and a unique velvety image quality. It’s a versatile tool that marries classical looks with contemporary control, making it a great choice for photographers who want to add a creative touch to their images.

Pros:
  • Controllable sharpness and center-locking feature allow you to achieve dead-center focus
  • Adjustable bokeh blades allow you to add texture to your bokeh
  • Close focusing distance allows you to get up close and personal with your subject
Cons:
  • Selective focus capabilities are not as pronounced as with other Lensbaby lenses
  • Can be difficult to achieve sharp focus, especially at wider apertures

Lensbaby Lenses - Your Full Guide

  1. Sol 45

This lens has a fixed focal length of 45mm and a fixed aperture of f/3.5. It’s a great choice for photographers who want to experiment with selective focus and shallow depth of field.

The Lensbaby SOL 45mm f/3.5 Lens for Canon EF-mount cameras is a great tool for photographers who want to create unique-looking photos. With 8.5° of tilt, this lens allows you to easily isolate a subject within the frame and surround it in a blur and smooth bokeh.

This selective focus capability is perfect for creating a sense of depth and dimensionality in your images.

One of the unique features of the SOL 45mm f/3.5 Lens is its center-locking feature, which allows you to lock the lens into place for dead-center focus. This can be especially useful for portraits or other types of photography where you want to ensure that your subject is in sharp focus.

The lens also features two adjustable bokeh blades that can add slight lines or textures to the bokeh, furthering its creative potential. This allows you to add a personal touch to your images and create a unique look that’s all your own.

The SOL 45mm f/3.5 Lens is a manual-focus lens with an all-metal construction, making it durable and built to last. It also accepts 46mm filters, giving you even more creative control over your images.

Overall, the Lensbaby SOL 45mm f/3.5 Lens is a great choice for photographers who want to add a creative touch to their images.

With its selective-focus capabilities, center-locking feature, and adjustable bokeh blades, it’s a versatile tool that can help you take your photography to the next level.

Pros:
  • Selective-focus capabilities and adjustable bokeh blades allow you to create unique and interesting compositions
  • All-metal construction makes it a durable and reliable lens
  • Close focusing distance allows you to get up close and personal with your subject
Cons:
  • Can be difficult to achieve sharp focus, especially at wider apertures
  • Bokeh can be harsh and distracting in some situations

Lensbaby Lenses - Your Full Guide

  1. Burnside 35

This lens has a unique effect that creates a swirl of bokeh around your subject. It also has a vignette control that allows you to adjust the amount of vignettes in your images.

The Lensbaby Burnside 35 for Canon EF is a unique lens that allows photographers to create stunning, creative images with ease. This lens features a 35mm focal length and a maximum aperture of f/2.8, making it a versatile tool for a wide range of photography styles.

One of the key features of the Burnside 35 is its dual aperture system, which allows you to control the amount of swirl and bokeh in your images.

The lens has a main aperture ring that controls the overall exposure, as well as a secondary ring that controls the amount of swirl and bokeh in the image. This gives you a lot of creative control over your images and allows you to create unique and interesting compositions.

The lens also features a unique optical design that includes a central sharp area surrounded by a soft, glowing effect. This creates a sense of depth and dimensionality in your images, making them stand out from the crowd.

The Burnside 35 is a manual-focus lens with a smooth, dampened focus ring that allows for precise adjustments. It also features a built-in petal-shaped lens hood to help reduce flare and ghosting.

Overall, the Lensbaby Burnside 35 for Canon EF is a great choice for photographers who want to add a creative touch to their images.

With its dual aperture system, unique optical design, and smooth focus ring, it’s a versatile tool that can help you take your photography to the next level.

Pros:
  • A dual aperture system allows you to control the amount of swirl and bokeh in your images
  • Unique optical design allows you to create images that are both dramatic and beautiful
  • Built-in petal-shaped lens hood helps to reduce flare and ghosting
Cons:
  • Can be difficult to achieve sharp focus, especially at wider apertures
  • Can be heavy and bulky compared to other Lensbaby lenses

Lensbaby Lenses - Your Full Guide

  1. Twist 60

This lens has a twist effect that creates a spiral of bokeh around your subject. It also has a removable aperture system, so you can adjust the amount of bokeh in your images.

The Lensbaby Twist 60 Optic with Straight Body for Canon EF mount is a great tool for photographers who want to draw attention to their subject and create a smooth, subtle swirl bokeh to their edges. This optic is compatible with the Optic Swap System and performs best when used with the included straight body.

The full-frame 60mm f/2.5 lens features an internal 12-blade diaphragm for smooth out-of-focus areas. You can manually change the aperture from f/2.5 to f/22 utilizing the dial on the front of the lens and you can manually focus on subjects as close as 18″.

When shooting at a wider aperture, the Twist 60’s swirled effect places more emphasis on your centered subject in full focus. As you stop down, the center area gets larger allowing you to bring more of your image into exact focus. The Twist 60 offers 46mm front threads for any filters you would like to use to further enhance your image.

It’s important to note that the Twist 60 works best and is recommended for use with full-frame cameras. Much of the swirled blur gets lost when using the optic with an APS-C sensor.

Overall, the Lensbaby Twist 60 Optic with Straight Body is a great choice for photographers who want to add a creative touch to their images. With its unique swirled effect, smooth out-of-focus areas, and manual focus and aperture control, it’s a versatile tool that can help you take your photography to the next level.

Pros:
  • A smooth, subtle swirl effect adds a unique touch to your images
  • Compatible with the Optic Swap System, allowing you to experiment with different optics to achieve different effects
  • All-metal construction makes it a durable and reliable lens
Cons:
  • Selective focus capabilities are not as pronounced as with other Lensbaby lenses
  • Can be difficult to achieve sharp focus, especially at wider apertures

Lensbaby Lenses - Your Full Guide

Comparison of features and benefits

Each Lensbaby lens has its own unique characteristics, so it’s important to choose the one that best fits your needs and style. The following table recap the main features of the five Lensbaby lenses mentioned above:

CharacteristicsComposer 50Velvet 56Sol 45 Burnside 35 Twist 60     
Selective focus capabilitiesYesNoYesNoNo
Adjustable apertureYesNoNoNoYes
Compatible with Optic Swap SystemYesNoNoYesYes
Soft, glowing image qualityNoYesNoYesNo
Controllable sharpnessNoYesYesNoNo
Center-locking feature for dead-center focusNoYesYesNoYes
Adjustable bokeh bladesNoYesYesYesNo
Manual focus controlNoYesYesYesYes
Dual aperture system for controlling swirl and bokehNoNoNoYesNo
Unique optical design for central sharp area surrounded by soft, glowing effectNoNoNoYesNo
Smooth, subtle swirl effect to edgesNoNoNoNoYes

Lensbaby Lenses - Your Full Guide

Photo by Tommes Frites

Tips for getting the best results

If you’re looking to add a creative touch to your photography, Lensbaby lenses are a great way to do it. With their unique optical designs and selective focus capabilities, Lensbaby lenses allow you to create images that stand out from the crowd. Here are some tips for getting the best results with your Lensbaby lenses:

  • Experiment with different aperture settings:

One of the key features of Lensbaby lenses is their adjustable aperture. Experiment with different settings to control the amount of blur and bokeh in your images.

  • Use the selective focus capabilities:

Lensbaby lenses allow you to choose which part of your image is in focus and which part is blurred. Use this to your advantage to create a sense of depth and dimensionality in your images.

  • Get up close and personal:

Many Lensbaby lenses have a close focusing distance, allowing you to get up close and personal with your subject. This can be especially useful for macro photography or for creating intimate portraits.

  • Embrace the imperfections:

Lensbaby lenses are known for their unique optical designs, which can create imperfections such as vignetting or distortion. Embrace these imperfections and use them to your advantage to create images that are truly one-of-a-kind.

  • Practice, practice, practice:

Like any new tool, it takes practice to get the hang of using Lensbaby lenses. Take the time to experiment with different settings and techniques, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. With practice, you’ll be able to create stunning images that showcase your unique style and vision.

  • Use a tripod:

Because Lensbaby lenses require manual focus and aperture adjustments, it can be helpful to use a tripod to keep your camera steady and ensure sharp focus.

  • Consider the lighting:

Because Lensbaby lenses can create unique and dramatic effects, it’s important to consider the lighting in your scene. Experiment with different lighting conditions to see how they affect the look of your images.

  • Don’t be afraid to break the rules:

Lensbaby lenses are all about creativity and experimentation. Don’t be afraid to break the rules and try something new. You never know what kind of magic you might create.

Lensbaby lenses are a great way to add a creative touch to your photography. With their unique optical designs and selective focus capabilities, Lensbaby lenses allow you to create images that stand out from the crowd. So why not give one a try and see what kind of magic you can create with your camera?

Lensbaby Lens Accessories

In addition to their unique lenses, Lensbaby also offers a range of accessories to help you get the most out of your photography. Here’s an overview of some of the available accessories:

  1. Macro Converters:

    Lensbaby offers a range of macro converters that allow you to get even closer to your subject. These converters are available in different strengths, allowing you to choose the one that’s right for your needs.

  1. Creative Aperture Kit:

    The Creative Aperture Kit allows you to add unique shapes to your bokeh. The kit includes a range of aperture disks with different shapes, including hearts, stars, and more.

  1. Lensbaby Omni Creative Filter System:

    The Lensbaby Omni Creative Filter System allows you to add unique and creative effects to your images. The system includes a range of filters, including prisms, diffusion, and color filters.

 Conclusion

In conclusion, Lensbaby lenses are a great addition to any photographer’s toolkit. With their unique optical designs and selective focus capabilities, Lensbaby lenses allow you to create images that stand out from the crowd. Here are some final thoughts and recommendations:

  • Consider your budget:

While Lensbaby lenses can be a bit pricey, there are options available at different price points. Consider your budget and choose a lens that fits within it.

  • Choose the right lens for your needs:

Different Lensbaby lenses are better suited for different types of photography. Consider what kind of images you want to create and choose a lens that will help you achieve that.

  • Practice, practice, practice:

Like any new tool, it takes practice to get the hang of using Lensbaby lenses. Take the time to experiment and practice, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

  • Don’t be afraid to get creative:

Lensbaby lenses are all about creativity and experimentation. Don’t be afraid to try new things and push the boundaries of what’s possible.

  • Have fun:

At the end of the day, photography should be fun. Lensbaby lenses allow you to add a unique and creative touch to your images, so enjoy the process and have fun with it.

Overall, Lensbaby lenses are a great investment for any photographer looking to add a creative touch to their images. With a little experimentation and practice, you’ll be able to create stunning images that showcase your unique style and vision. So why not give one a try and see what kind of magic you can create with your camera?

 

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed the article, in case you have any questions just drop them below & I will be happy to answer you.

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4 Comments

  • As a photography enthusiast, I have to say that Lensbaby lenses are truly unique in their ability to create distinctive and creative images. My experience with Lensbaby lenses has been quite positive as they allow me to experiment with different types of photography such as macro, portrait, and landscape. However, I do have a question regarding the compatibility of these lenses with my camera body. Are all the Lensbaby lenses compatible with all camera brands or do I need to check for specific compatibility before making a purchase?

    • Lensbaby lenses are indeed exceptional tools for creating artistic and unique images. They offer photographers the freedom to explore various genres like macro, portrait, and landscape. When it comes to compatibility, it’s essential to check specific lens compatibility with your camera brand before purchasing. Lensbaby offers lenses for multiple camera systems, including Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm, and others. 

      Each lens model may have specific requirements, so verifying compatibility ensures seamless integration between lens and camera. By doing so, you can enjoy the creative possibilities of Lensbaby lenses with your camera system of choice. 

      Happy shooting!

  • My colleague has a Lensbaby lens on her camera and the beautiful pictures she takes are astounding. I love this effect and I always ask her to do photography for our concerts so that we can create stunning images for our programs.

    I never realized however that it can still be quite technical to capture that perfect moment with so many different adjustments to think about. No wonder my colleague said she had to go on a course to learn how to use her camera to its fullest potential.

    • Lensbaby lenses are definitely capable of creating stunning images. It’s great that you have a colleague who is able to capture such beautiful photos. I can imagine that it can be quite technical to use, but it’s definitely worth the effort to learn how to use it to its fullest potential.

      I’m glad that you enjoy the photos that your colleague takes. I’m sure that your concerts will look amazing with her photos.

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