Review Time! Lensbaby 2.0

August 21st, 2008

lens­ba­by 2.0 Review.

In the last few years, there has been a revival in tilt shift pho­tog­ra­phy, a real throw back to the days of film where the lens was mount­ed on bel­lows, and could be tilt­ed and skewed to cre­ate an unre­al­is­tic, but admired effect.

Both Canon and Nikon have released lens­es that allow the pho­tog­ra­ph­er to cor­rect con­verg­ing ver­ti­cals. (where build­ings appear to be allot nar­row­er at the top)

But plen­ty of Wed­ding Pho­tog­ra­phers use these lens­es for more artis­tic reasons.
Cameron Ingalls for exam­ple is a Cal­i­for­nia based wed­ding pho­tog­ra­ph­er who incor­po­rates the lens into many of his wed­ding and engage­ment shoots, but he does it very well.

The tilt shift, or Per­spec­tive Con­trol Lens­es from Canon and Nikon are tru­ly aimed at the pho­tog­ra­ph­er with allot of space in their cam­era bag, and they run up to, and over £1000.
Watch this video from lilkiwiguy87 on youtube about how to use nikons recent­ly released 45mm per­spec­tive con­trol lens. As you can tell, watch­ing that video, this aint no toy lens!

Allot of Pho­to­shop users find that they can repli­cate the artis­tic effects of a tilt shift lens in post processing.
Some are very succesful.
Check out this pic­ture by Sean (‘North­coun­try Boy’ on flickr)

If you don’t have that sort of mon­ey, then the Lens­ba­by is a lens aimed at pho­tog­ra­phers who want to add a But who wants to spend time in-front of the com­put­er, when you could be out shooting?

But this is not a per­spec­tive con­trol lens, so if you’re look­ing for a a high­ly pro­fes­sion­al, sharp pic­tures, then you’re look­ing at the wrong lens review! Besides, the Lens­ba­by com­pa­ny, cre­at­ed by Craig Strong have nev­er made any claim that this was a tilt shift lens, they have been unfair­ly com­pared to each oth­er far too many times.

The unit con­sists of a sin­gle ele­ment, mount­ed inside what seems to be some sort of plumb­ing pipe. To change the aper­ture, you sim­ply drop the aper­ture ring into place, and it’ll be caught by tiny magnets.

Lens­ba­bies bring one area of your pic­ture into focus, with that sharp area sur­round­ed by grad­u­al­ly increas­ing blur. You can then move that sharp area of to any part of your pho­to by bend­ing the lens.

So what’s the point of them?
Well, they’re just good fun, and are designed just for that.

They make your pic­tures look a lit­tle bit more inter­est­ing, and help the view­er to real­ly under­stand the composition.
I used the lens­ba­by on an engage­ment shoot, (you’ll see more of this shoot real­ly soon, so con­sid­er this a sneek peek!)

And heres a few pic­tures that I’ve tak­en with it that have noth­ing to do with Wed­ding photography!

What have I learnt from this lens?

1.) Prac­tise lots before you go out and use it pro­fes­sion­al­ly, which is sort of a strange seg­way to the next point…

2.) This is NOT a pro­fes­sion­al lens, but use it in the right places at the right times, and you can get pro­fes­sion­al look­ing shots, espe­cial­ly with por­traits. The soft effect can be very for­giv­ing on skin.

3.) Don’t use it wide open if you want accu­ra­cy. I keep it stopped down to about f4 and thats fine. Use a low­er aper­ture and it’s hard to see prop­er­ly through the viewfinder.

4.) This is not a tilt shift lens. do not expect to cor­rect strange look­ing ver­ti­cals in archi­tec­tur­al shots and expect pin sharp pictures.

5.) Its small and light enough to not leave at home. Its small­er than my 50mm 1.8. Just pack it in your bag.

6.) Out of focus does­n’t mat­ter. Don’t be so tough on yourself.

7.) But, it is pret­ty sharp! As long as you focus real­ly carefully.

8.) Don’t be afraid to exper­i­ment and take pic­tures of things that you would­n’t usu­al­ly take pic­tures of.
I found myself tak­ing pic­tures of walls, and post­box­es and they looked great (see point 10)

9.) does­n’t look round corners!

10.) Enjoy. But don’t use it all the time, it can make the most bor­ing things look amaz­ing, but use it too much and it’ll start to make your amaz­ing lens­ba­by pic­tures look boring.

Thank you for reading!

  1. Cameron Ingalls August 21st, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    Hey Joseph!
    Great write­up on the lens­es… They are so inter­est­ing! I am hon­ored to be linked on your blog. Hap­py to have a pho­tog­ra­ph­er friend from England!

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