Lensbaby

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A couple years ago I bought a used Canon EOS D30 for an article I was doing for Shutterbug. To be sure it’s an EOS D30, not a more modern EOS 30D, and it’s “only” 3.1-megapixel—it produces images that are a modest 2160 x 1440 to be exact. I paid around $300 for it secondhand. It cost $3000 when it was new back in 2000.

I could point out a hundred flaws in this old clunker—if I compared it to a more current model like the EOS 40D. But instead I’ll say these good things. First, it still works as advertised and it accepts all of my Canon lenses. Second, it produces sharp, small RAW files. Last but not least, it has found new life thanks to Lensbaby.

In a nutshell, Lensbaby is a lens that colors outside the lines (literally) and uses optical aberration as a creative element. Images have slurred colors, blurred outlines and surrealistic unsharpness.

Think of it as Timothy Leary meets George Eastman. Or Mathew Brady with color film and no tripod.

There are three models. My favorite piece—The Composer—is basically a short flexible tube that stays in whatever position you bend it. It has a rotating focusing ring and, depending on which f/stop “washer” you have installed, it can produce images that range from pleasantly soft to pretty sharp.

You don’t need to use a 10-megapixel camera with Lensbaby. My EOS D30 is nearly a decade old and I still have fun with it—thanks to Lensbaby.

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