What makes the Lensbaby a complete tool is the availability of two auxiliary
lenses, without which it might very well remain a toy. The lenses come in a
0.6x wide angle and a 1.6x telephoto. As far as I can tell the focal length
of the Lensbaby when mounted on a full-frame 35mm format film camera is approximately
50mm. That means the wide angle is equivalent to 21mm and the telephoto is equivalent
to 80mm. For my food photography I made extensive use of the wide angle. An
80mm lens is an ideal focal length for portraiture. (If you are using a digital
camera with an extension factor, say 1.5x, first multiply 50mm by 1.5x = 75mm,
then by the appropriate extension factor of the wide or telephoto lens [e.g.,
using the Lensbaby telephoto multiply 75mm x 1.6 = 120mm].)
Rhododendron close-up using the +4 diopter.
The Lensbaby also accepts 37mm filters. An accessory kit containing +4 and
+10 close-up diopters is available. The +4 allows focus to be as close as 10"
(#4), as measured from the film/sensor plane, and the +10 can be focused as
Rhododendron close-up using the +10 diopter.
To install the filters or the auxiliary lenses, tip the lens skyward and turn
the focus ring as far as it will go counterclockwise. This will bring the lens
to the end of the focusing barrel where it is a simple matter to screw the accessory
The Lensbaby is definitely just the kind of tool you would want to have in your
kit if you were a wedding photographer. It would allow you to offer your clients
an easy to produce, on location special dream effect that would appeal to many
Vicky Wilson, bride to be, photographed with the Lensbaby at the
Salem River Park Carousel.
Portrait and fashion photographers could also make great use of this tool.
Focusing on the eyes while keeping the depth of field on the face produces the
kind of effect that was used by many early photographers. The famous portrait
of the beloved Irish poet William Butler Yeats was done in this manner (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Even though the Lensbaby may appear to be a toy, and you can certainly have
fun with it, it is definitely a tool for the photographer. If you feel yourself
getting jaded, doing the same ol', same ol', get yourself a Lensbaby
and start rockin'.
The Lensbaby 3G has a list price of $270. The Original Lensbaby and the Lensbaby
2.0 (not reviewed) are still available for $96 and $150, respectively. There
is also a new medium format Lensbaby 3G for the Mamiya 645 and Pentax 67 which
lists for $390.
Accessories for the Lensbaby have the following list prices:
Lensbaby Wide Angle/Telephoto Kit $89
Lensbaby .6x Wide Angle/Macro Conversion Lens (not reviewed) $59
Lensbaby Macro Kit $33
Lensbaby Creative Aperture Kit $9.99
For more information, contact Lensbabies, LLC, 516 SE Morrison St., Ste. M4,
Portland, OR 97214; (877) 536-7222, (971) 223-5662; www.lensbabies.com.