Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How to Use A Lensbaby

Defined by a combination of focal range, aperture and composition, the "sweet spot" of an image is the area in a photo that's the most sharp and clear.
By David Willis Published in Shooting
How to Use A Lensbaby

Rounding out the other available Lensbaby lenses are the original Composer, the fast and loose Muse without a locking mechanism, the Control Freak for precise macro and tabletop work, and the bare-bones Scout model, best for use with the Fisheye. Accessories are available as well for simulating macro, wide-angle, telephoto and shaped bokeh effects like stars and hearts.

The Composer Pro is available with the sharp, high-quality Double Glass Optic or the Sweet 35 Optic, Lensbaby's other new entry to the system. The Sweet 35 provides a 35mm focal length when working with a full-frame camera (approximately a 56mm equivalent on APS-C-sensor cameras). It's the widest focal length available from the company, and it's also available as a stand-alone product for photographers who have already invested in the Composer or other base lenses. The Sweet 35 includes a 12-blade aperture system with a focal range from ƒ/2.5 to ƒ/22. The internal aperture system is another first for Lensbaby—previous optics employed drop-in aperture discs. Just as with a normal lens aperture, the aperture allows the user to designate the size of the sweet-spot focus.

Lensbaby products are available for Canon EF, Nikon F, Olympus Four Thirds, Pentax K and Sony Alpha/Minolta Maxxum mounts. A Tilt Transformer is available for using the Composer with Micro Four Thirds and Sony NEX mirrorless cameras. List Price: $400 (Composer Pro with Sweet 35 Optic); $300 (Composer Pro with Double Glass Optic); $180 (Sweet 35 Optic).


The Lensbaby Optic Swap System begins with a Lensbaby SLR lens base unit that mounts to the camera like any other lens would. Adding the Composer Pro to your camera is as simple as lining up the red dot on the lens body with a corresponding red dot on the camera mount. Plug it in, twist it, turn on the camera and you're ready to shoot, once you've added a Lensbaby optic like the Sweet 35.

To install the Sweet 35 Optic in the Composer Pro, line up the white dot on the aperture ring with the white line on the body of the lens and then insert the Sweet 35 into the Composer Pro. The white dot and white line on the Sweet 35 should both be aligned with the hollow white circle on the front of the Composer Pro. Plug it in and rotate it so that both solid white dots are then aligned, which locks it in place. To remove the Sweet 35, line up the hollow white circle of the Sweet 35 with the solid white circle of the Composer Pro, push in and rotate slightly until both hollow circles are aligned, then remove.

The design of the Composer Pro includes a focusing ring on the tiltable section of the barrel. I found it far easier to control both the focus and the direction of the lens by holding it with my hand from above rather than from below.
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