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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