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22/09/2013

Why do I shot using Lensbaby lenses

I bought my Lensbaby Composer (not Pro) around 3 years ago. I had been watching shots with weird focusing effects, and nice bokeh. After a little investigation and googling, I found out that the shots were done with lenses with a weird name: Lensbaby.

Some trials trying to emulate the effect with the GIMP were a complete fiasco. I needed the real thing.

So I bought the Composer with the Double Glass. With it, you can bend the lens, and put the focus whereever you want in the shot. The surrounding zone is blurred, more or less depending on the aperture you set. At f/2, the focused zone is pretty small. At f/8, the focused zone takes all the frame.

Once you have the Double Glass, you keep an eye at Lensbaby’s site, and the shots I previously mentioned. This led me to purchase the 3 lenses kit. So, now, along with the Double Glass I had: the Single Glass, the Plastic Optic and the Pinhole/Zone plate.

Now I was able to emulate “ancient” shots, done with non-top-quality lenses. Cool.

What I’m trying to say, is that this is a path. You start with the Composer, and then, as time goes by, you can add more and more different tools to your photography arsenal.
Also, the Lensbaby is a completely manual lens: no autofocus, no auto-aperture, etc… While this was a problem at the beginning, I’ve found out that this actually helps me avoiding “gun-machine-shooting”. I see the shot, I compose it, I focus, etc… The aperture is set according the effect I want to get. Usually, I shot at f/4 or f/5.6, a good balance for my cropped-sensor Nikon. YMMV.

Ah, the Lensbaby effect cannot be easily reproduced in software. Even if it could, I’d keep shooting with it. It’s not only the effect, but the feeling, the “manuality”, etc…


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