If you like the bokeh effect or images that have a painterly look, then perhaps you might want to give the Lensbaby lenses and optics a try.
A Lensbaby tilts, compresses and expands, giving a new meaning to "manual photography."
With a Lensbaby, you move the lens barrel around to select a point of focus. The results have a sharply focused "sweet spot" surrounded by blurred, colourful backgrounds.
Lensbaby lenses are pretty cheap compared to other lenses. Ranged in street price from 75€ to 240€, they have captured the imagination of photographers since their introduction in 2004.
Lensbaby is a system that allows you to insert, and use, different optics to a base lens. The most common one is the Composer Prowhich has a rotating ball so you can use different angles when taking photos. You can get interesting effects with them by using selective focus, great bokeh, and you can achieve very painterly style images.
With the different optics you can get a lot of different effects. You can create images that have a tilt-shift look, so the subject in the image looks miniature. You can isolate certain areas, or the subject. For example, if you want to photograph a flower that is in amongst many others, you could isolate it so only that one flower is in focus.
One thing it is great for its bokeh. That same flower can have a fantastic blurred background by using a large aperture. The out of focus areas often look like they were painted as well, which, again, depends on the optic and the aperture that you use.
You don’t really get what you expect with normal photography or lenses, meaning really sharp images. You have to take a different approach to using a Lensbaby. If you are the type of photographer who is very technical, where the light and sharp focus is very important, you may not like these. However, if you like to experiment, see what you can achieve, and like dreamy painterly images, then you will love the Lensbaby.
The focusing system seems to be the hardest to get used to. Having to manually focus the lens is a task in itself. The effects are different every time, especially when you use different angles.
Through the lens, you see a whole new world. As you find yourself succeeding at taking photos with them, you will become addicted. The softness of the blur is very different, and being able to concentrate attention exactly where you want in the scene is wonderful.
You can achieve amazing results and transforms everything surrounding you.
I found many splendid and dreamlike Lensbaby shots taken by skilled 1x members.
Look by yourself in this wonderful gallery.
You may want to give it a try if you don't own a Lensbaby lens.
I personally would love to have one. It's definitely on top of my list ;-)
Nice collection of images, yes you can have a lot of fun using lensbaby , nice article !
Charlaine Gerber PRO
Oh wow, I always love these effects but didn’t know how it is done, I think this will definitely be on my wishlist, thank you for sharing...:-)
Ina Tänzer PRO
A great article about this lens, with so many fantastic photos. I am very honored that one of mine is mentioned here. The Lensbaby is always a challenge, and it makes a lot of fun. Congratulations to all featured photographers!! And thank you so much, dear Yvette !!
My pleasure dear Ina!
Marius Cinteza CREW
Congratulations Yvette for this great article!! Indeed: lensbaby opens a new world, governed by special moods, poetry and creativity! Congratulations to all the selected photographers!
Thanks a lot, Marius! Glad you also like this article...
Wayne Pearson PRO
Thank you very much Yvette for your information and sharing the beautiful effects of other excellent photographers, now I really want a Lensbaby!
We are two now to want a Lensbaby, Wayne ;-) The results are so beautiful full of poetry and mood. The authors here are skillful and inspiring. But I guess that there is quite a learning process (doesn't frighten me!!!). Glad you like this article and hope a lot of readers do. Thanks a lot, my friend!
Mel Brackstone PRO
Yvette thank you for sharing mine and the other artist's work. I must admit I do love lensbaby images, and think I always will.
Thank you, dear Mel! Lensbaby images are so moody, so full of poety, whatever the subject is. On top of my wish list ;-))) Cheers, Yvette
Great article and wonderful photos, Yvette! Congrats to all the featured photographers.
Thanks for your appreciation, Cecy! It was so fun to compose this gallery! Also hard to make choices. So many good Lensbaby shots on 1x. Cheers, Yvette
Jørgen Feldstedt PRO
A great honor for me to have pictures chosen for the great article. I enjoy using Lensbaby. Thank you very much, dear Yvette. Best regards, Jørgen.
Looking forward to publish your interview Friday, Jorgen. You are a master in using the Lensbaby lenses, my friend! Cheers, Yvette
Paulo Abrantes PRO
Honored to be featured with my pictures in such a great article. Awesome lens, indeed. Many thanks, Yvette, Paulo
All pleasure is mine, Paulo ;-) Cheers, Yvette
I enjoyed digging into the Lensbaby world discovering the magical images taken by the authors in the gallery. Congratulations to all! Cheers, Yvette
Good article. Thank you Yvette. If you want to give this style a try for even cheaper, it is possible to use a tilt-shift adaptor with a vintage lens. I personally got an old soviet Industar 50mm (2 EUR + 5 EUR shipping from Ukraine) and a M42 to micro4/3 tilt adaptor (12 USD free shipping from China). Admitedly not as convenient or versatile as the lensbaby, but still a lot of fun for less than 20 EUR including shipping.
Wow, thank you for your usefull information, Thomas. May be more info by mail! Would these lenses fit on my Canon 5D Mark II ? Thanks for your appreciation... Cheers, Yvette