The Lensbaby Composer; Be My Baby… Page 2

The first three interchangeable optics have a 50mm fixed focal length and all feature Lensbabies’ famous “magnetically levitating interchangeable aperture disks” that allow you to change aperture settings from f/2 to f/22 by swapping out one aperture (they look like washers) for another using the simple tools provided. The Single Glass, Plastic , and Pinhole/Zone Plate optics will be sold individually ($35 each), and in an Optic Kit that will sell for $94.95. The Double Glass optic will sell for $85.

The Sweet Spot
Since the Composer allows you to physically shift the optical path of the lens, users of D-SLRs with full-frame (24x36mm) imagers may notice that full coverage of the chip is not always possible when the lens is moved to its extremes. This is easily seen in the viewfinder and you have the choice of cropping the image later or just backing off the movement slightly so the lens covers the full image. Lest you think this phenomenon is just limited to this Lensbaby, it’s not.

Control Freak

The front standard and thus the lens of view cameras which can be moved up and down and tilted back and forth also exhibit the same conditions that are covered in Optics 101: The image circle created by a lens must be larger than is required to cover the imager (or film) without any use of movements. If the lens can produce a circular image that’s just large enough to cover the film, it will no longer cover the bottom of the images as it rises, so lens coverage must be larger if rises are used. While this was a tiny problem when shooting with my full-frame Canon EOS 5D, it was not a problem with my EOS-1D Mark II N that has a Lens Focal Length Conversion Factor of 1:30. Those of you with SLRs that have factors of 1:5 or 1:6 or even 2:0 shouldn’t have to worry about it.

Since I was testing a preproduction sample, it may be corrected in the shipping units. Either way, it’s not a deal breaker and doesn’t change my overwhelmingly positive feeling about the lens. Coverage aside, the Lensbaby Composer is one sweet lens that is fun, fast, and easy to use. The addition of an interchangeable optics system means you will be able to hang onto the Composer and build a system by using any and all of the existing options as well as any future ones that the babies may have in mind. What’s not to love?


The Family Portrait In Soft Focus
While similar in appearance and functionality, the Muse replaces the Original Lensbaby and Lensbaby 2.0 lenses. You still focus by compressing the lens and can move the sweet spot by bending the flexible lens tubing that acts as the lens barrel. The Control Freak replaces the Lensbaby 3G while being identical in functionality and retains the Ed Wood Plan 9 from Outer Space styling. To focus you compress the flexible lens barrel, bend it to move the sweet spot, and then push a button to lock the lens in place. Once locked, photographers can adjust the fine focus with a barrel focusing ring and
fine-tune the tilt by rotating its three metal posts.

The Control Freak
Optics: Ships with the Double Glass optic installed; features the Lensbaby Optic Swap System
Focal Length: 50mm
Focus Type: Manual/fingertip, with barrel fine focus
Aperture Type: Interchangeable levitating aperture disks
Aperture: f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22
Minimum Focus: About 12”
Maximum Focus: Infinity
Size: 3x3”
Weight: 5.7 oz
Price: $270

The Muse
Optics: Features the Lensbaby Optic Swap System
Focal Length: Approx. 50mm
Focus Type: Manual (fingertips, actually)
Aperture Type: Interchangeable levitating aperture disks
Aperture: f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8
Minimum Focus: Approx. 12”
Maximum Focus: Infinity and beyond
Size: 2.25x2.5”
Weight: 3.7 oz
Price: $150 with Double Glass optic installed; $100 with Plastic optic installed

For more information, contact Lensbabies, LLC, 516 SE Morrison St., Ste. M4, Portland, OR 97214; (877) 536-7222;