by Editor Yvette Depaepe
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 ;-)