Lensbaby Burnside 35 - a uniquely beautiful experience

by Editor  Marius Cinteză

It is not my intent to make a technical review on the Burnside 35 (a plethora of them is already available), but rather to try to present some aspects of my experience with it, including the artistic perspective.


'A girl and her cat' 


First things first: I had the honor to be part of the “Travelling Burnside Project” initiated by the Lensbaby team with the purpose of trying out this superb lens and sharing everyone’s experience. I didn’t know much about the lens before and I didn’t read reviews to not create myself expectations or be influenced in any way. However, when you try out any Lensbaby lens you tend to expect something special and creative!

In short, Burnside 35 feels incredibly sturdy (made of metal, including the cap) and offers at least two defining features: a fantastic swirly bokeh (that I have experienced in some of the portraits and that reminds of other amazing Lensbaby lens - Twist 60) and the creative control through the vignetting slider (an unique mark of this lens which saves precious time at the processing stage). The swirly bokeh is more visible when used wide open (f/2.8 or f/4) and having a background with light spots (e.g. foliage) around the subject.

I enjoyed the versatility of Burnisde 35 covering basically all the photography areas of my interest (fine art portrait, street). It is a manual lens, which may cause a bit of a learning curve for photographers that count heavily on autofocus, but I felt comfortable shooting with the help of its (very fluid) manual focus. I prefer this wide focal of 35 mm because it emphasizes and values the space of the frame and the story around the subject (especially in portraits) - they are vital elements in creating the mood. Actually, the 35mm focal tempts the viewer to be part of the visual conversation with the subject, thus enabling a closer connection between them.

Although I have a preference for the BW photography, what I also love about this lens is the beautiful contrast of colors, which eventually translates into matching BW tones in BW photography.

When shooting portraits, the lens features made me re-think the frame composition to a centrally balanced one and the low light used to emphasize the mystery or melancholy moods was favored by the gradually delicate blur effect of the lens at the edge of the frame.

I invite you to enjoy this small gallery of portraiture works as a result of my unique experience with Burnside 35!




'Oare de ce'




'A ballad for Mickey'



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