The Lensbaby Project
Lensbaby (lens) is called “selective focus” for your digital camera. The basic principle is to produce a sharp zone of focus or “sweet spot” anywhere in the image with ever-increasing blur outside it. You have full control over how large the sweet spot is and where it appears in the image. There is a flexible barrel that you can tilt the lens and the sweet spot can be moved around the frame and to focus on off-center subjects. The size of the sweet spot can be increased or decreased by using a various apertures rings. The lens can only be used in either manual or aperture preferred mode depending on your camera type. Your auto-focus will not work with the Lensbaby, so everything is done manually. Oh, in case you are wondering. You can not produce this same effect using Photoshop.
The images below are my Nikon D300 with Lensbaby Composer Pro Double Glass lens. There are all sorts of different optics and assessories. I’ve provided a link to the Lensbaby website at the end of this article.
The first image shows the Composer Pro pointed straight ahead. Next, the you see how you tilt or move the lens barrel to adjust the “sweet spot.” Lastly, the image shows the apeature disk that you drop inside the lens to vary the size of the sweet spot and blur the depth of field.
Selective Focus – What does it mean?
For those who haven’t come across Lensbaby’s before the idea of selective focus may be difficult to visualize at first. The example below illustrates the concept – when the lens is centered only an area in the middle of the frame is sharp, and the edges are blurred. By moving or tilting the lens it’s possible to move this sharpness ‘sweet spot’ freely around the frame, focusing selectively on your area of interest as seen in the other images. (Also, the top image shows how I moved the lens barrel to make the sweet spot appear only on the RPM gauge.)
Why the Lensbaby?
I’m always ready to add something new to my photography arsenal. A few years ago I considered adding it to my Christmas list, but I held back. I needed to do more research, look at more Lensbaby images, and determine if I wanted to put the energy into learning how to use this type of new lens.
You may be asking: “What is so difficult about getting and using a new lens?”
Learning to use the Lensbaby is a very humbling experience! If you think you can instantly be creative and get great shots you are wrong. Despite years and years of great image captures there is a long and steep learning curve. Believe me, I’ve taken about 1,000 shots since getting the Lensbaby for my birthday on the 27th of June. Just today, I’m getting the feel for how to get and control the “sweet spot.” You quickly find out that it takes only an ever so slightly move of the lens barrel to adjust and obtain the sweet spot. A little goes a long way toward changing the image.
What I Purchased
- Composer Pro with Double Glass Optic.
- Focal Length: 50mm lens that has a metal swivel ball design for ultra-smooth focus and tilt control.
- The selective focus optic with drop-in aperture discs, provides a tack-sharp Sweet Spot of focus with minimum diffusion at all aperture settings.
- Focus Type: Manual
- Tilts from zero to 17.5 degrees
- Double Glass Optic Aperture Type: Interchangeable, magnetic aperture disks Apertures: f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22 Selective focus optic (creates a sweet spot of focus surrounded by gradual blur)
- Focus distance when used with Composer Pro: 18″ to infinity
To learn more about the Lensbaby go here: Lensbaby Website
Just the beginning…
Thank you for visiting. Hope you have learned something new. Hey, you may even be inspired to consider purchasing the Lensbaby.
My promise is to keep you updated as my learning curve straightens out and my Lensbaby images improve.