Low-cost Lensbaby sparks selective focus


Now you can shoot tilt-shift-style photos without first paying a high price: Lensbaby is offering a low-cost plastic version of its selective focus lenses.

It’s just the body that’s plastic: The $80 Spark has a glass 50mm f/5.6 lens, compatible with Canon and Nikon SLRs. The body’s front element can be squeezed toward the camera to focus, and tilted to customize the location of the in-focus area within the frame. This creates a sweet spot of focus surrounded by gradually increasing blur.

More information is here.

Lensbaby adds lens cleaning accessories

Lensbaby cleaning accessories

Lensbaby, Portland, Ore., released two accessories: Lensbaby Lens Cloth and the Lensbaby Lenspen Pro. The new products join existing accessories including the Lensbaby System Bag, Creative Aperture Kit 2, Macro Converters and others.

The $15 Lensbaby Lens Cloth is a sizable 14-by-14-inch bag, in a Lensbaby-orange hue, made of a deluxe silky-style microfiber material. The company said cloth’s size will allow photographers to protect their Lensbaby lens by swaddling and stowing it away in a camera bag compartment.

The $10 Lensbaby Lenspen Pro is sized at 5-inches long with two different types of cleaning ends that gives photographers two ways to safely remove dust, particles or other contaminants found on their optics.  One end is a chamois tip containing a non-liquid cleaning compound covered with a cap that replenishes the cleaning compound and keeps the tip protected between usages. The other end features a slider on the top of the pen extends and retracts a soft cleaning brush.

Lensbaby selective focus provides tilt shift imaging

Lensbaby claims its new Edge 80 Optic “allows photographers to create images with quality that is on-par with some of the best lenses…” The lens can work “like a great lens mounted on a view camera bellows,” to make ‘straight’ photos, or, for “a different look altogether, fluidly tilt the lens to create a razor sharp slice of selective focus through your image.”

Tilting the Edge 80 allows photographers to create vertical, horizontal and diagonal slices of focus through the image. Objects in both the foreground and the background can be in focus within that slice. Photographers can control the size of the slice of focus by changing the 12-blade aperture.

The $300 optic is the latest addition to the company’s Optic Swap system and is compatible with its Composer Pro, Composer, Muse, Scout and Control Freak bodies. It will “transform any of these bending lens bodies into a tilt lens that delivers a selective slice of sharp focus through an image.” Photographers can change the aperture from f2.8 through f22 by rotating the dial on the front of the optic.

The company has a cool simulation of the effects here.

The Imaging Resource has a review here.


Lensbaby macro converters open close-focus options

The two separate lenses also work in conjunction.

New macro photography accessories create close-up, dreamy and artistic photos while blurring out distracting elements, Lensbaby says.

The Macro Converters for the company’s lenses bodies and optics “offer great close-up range, and when mixed and matched with our existing Macro Kit, provide even more options for creative Lensbaby macro photography.”

The Macro Converters are available as a set containing one 8mm converter and one 16mm converter, which can also be stacked together to make a 24mm converter.  The existing Lensbaby macro kit feature a +4 and +10 macro filter, and can also be used in conjunction with the macro converters with the double glass, single glass, plastic and soft focus optics for an even closer capture, the Portland, Oregon-based manufacturer says.

The converters are $50.
More information is here.


Lensbaby goes to the movies

“The more creative tools filmmakers have at their disposal, the more creative their footage,” says optics specialist Lensbaby, and their new kit “comes loaded with the freedom and versatility… to put a huge range of creative options at the fingertips of filmmakers.”

Lensbaby's kit for moviemakers comes with plenty of accessories.

The Lensbaby Movie Maker’s Kit  has two lenses for use on PL mount cameras: the Muse PL with Double Glass, and the Composer Pro PL with Sweet 35, as well as one Composer Pro with a Canon mount for use on Canon’s line of DSLRs that shoot video, the company says. The Sweet 35 Optic can create different quality selective focus effects, where one area of the image at a given depth of field is in focus, and other areas at the same depth of field fall away into a beautiful blur.  The Fisheye, Soft Focus, and Pinhole/Zone plate Optics allow further in-camera creativity.

The kit also includes a wide range of interchangeable optics and accessories.

The Portland, Oregon based manufacturer’s $2900 kit is packed into a rugged Pelican case.

More information is here.

Lensbaby announces portrait kits, photo contest

New potrait kits from Lensbaby

Lensbaby, Portland, Ore., announces two portrait kits, the Portrait Kit and the Ultimate Portrait Kit, which include Lensbaby Creative Effects SLR lenses plus key optics and accessories to provide a wide range of creative, dramatic, and fun in-camera photo effects.

To celebrate forward-looking Senior Portrait photography, Lensbaby also announces their Senior Style senior portrait contest. The contest will open for submissions on Sept. 1, 2011. Photographers will be encouraged to submit their best senior portraits shot with one of the seven creative optics in the Lensbaby Optic Swap System. Lensbaby will promote the contest throughout the summer, releasing new how-to videos and tips along the way to help portrait photographers improve their Lensbaby skills and be ready to submit their best work by the end of the summer. The latest portrait tips video is available here.

Significant prizes will go to the top three winners, allowing them to outfit or upgrade their senior portrait tools and studio. Lensbaby has also partnered with SmugMug, who will host the submissions gallery. The current prize list includes products or services from these top-notch photographic brands: Animoto Pro, Canon, Hoodman USA, Kubota Imaging Tools, Manfrotto, Miller’s Professional Imaging, Nasty Clamps, RadioPopper, SYNC, SmugMug, SYNC, Think Tank Photo, Westcott, and White House Custom Colour (with more to come).

Lensbaby adds Composer Pro

Lensbaby Composer Pro

The Composer Pro has been announced by Lensbaby, Portland, Ore. The Composer Pro is said to refine and enhance the popular Composer by upgrading the swivel ball and focus mechanism to provide professional performance. The Composer Pro’s metal swivel ball design and refined focus mechanism deliver ultra-smooth focus and tilt control, says the company. The updated focus mechanism features a fluid and accurate dampened focus ring comparable to the focus mechanisms of the highest quality professional manual focus lenses.

The Composer Pro is compatible with the Lensbaby Optic Swap System and ships with either the Double Glass Optic or the new Sweet 35 Optic installed. Each optic creates a Sweet Spot of sharp focus that photographers can move around the photo by tilting the Composer Pro’s swiveling lens body.

The entry-level Lensbaby Composer will remain in Lensbaby’s product line.

Sweet, says Lensbaby of new 35mm optic

Lensbaby Sweet 35

The Sweet 35 Optic is a new member of the Lensbaby Optic Swap System. The company, headquartered in Portland, Ore., says it’s a 35mm selective focus optic with an internal 12-blade adjustable aperture, creating a “sweet spot” of sharp focus photographers can move around the photo by tilting their Lensbaby lens. The Sweet 35 Optic boasts the widest focal length of any selective focus Lensbaby optic, features close-focus capabilities, and is available for use with the Lensbaby Composer, Muse, Control Freak and Scout lenses.

Departing from its interchangeable magnetic aperture system, Lensbaby has created its first optic with an adjustable aperture. With the Sweet 35, photographers can change the aperture from f/2.5 through f/22, simply by rotating the dial on the front of the optic. The aperture opening is what controls the size of the sweet spot of sharp focus, giving photographers the ability to see the sweet spot change through the lens.

The Sweet 35 focuses down to 7.5 inches from the front of the lens when used with the Lensbaby Composer and as close as 3inches when used with the Muse.

The lens is made of four multi-coated glass elements, in three groups and has 46mm front threads.

The Sweet 35 Optic is not compatible with the Composer with Tilt Transformer for Micro 4/3rds and Sony NEX Cameras, and is not compatible with current 37mm Lensbaby accessories.

Lensbaby’s got 50 winners

First place in the Lensbaby "See in a New Way" show was won by Elisaveta Stoilova.

Fifty images have been chosen for exhibit at the Washington School of Photography (WSP), Rockville , Md., for the “See in a New Way” show by Lensbaby, Portland , Or. The show, which opens in March, will display Lensbaby images from around the world, selected from a talented pool of photographers through an online call for submissions.

All 50 photographs were chosen by three judges: Missy Loewe, Kate Fraser, and Parker Pfister. Missy Loewe is the Executive Director of WSP as well as an instructor. Kate Fraser is an award-winning photographer and owner and director of the Fraser Gallery in Bethesda , Md. Parker Pfister is a Canon Explorer of Light and an award-winning photographer.

To see the images, go here.

It’s in the bag, (Lens)baby

Lensbaby's bag

The first storage and organizational carrying case made specifically by Lensbaby, Portland, Or., for the Lensbaby system, measures 10.25-by- 4-by-3.5 inches and can accommodate any Lensbaby lens (Muse, Control Freak, Composer, Scout and Composer with Tilt Transformer), optic or accessory. The sides of the bag feature an easy-access corner flap.

The removable elastic straps inside the bag allow customization. The bag includes several convenient compartments including an outside zipper and an inside mesh sleeve, which Lensbaby says is perfect for stowing an Aperture Kit, Macro kit or even extra media cards. Velcro straps on the bag’s bottom allow the attachment of one System Bag to another. The top of the bag features a carrying handle and it also includes an optional shoulder strap.