Archive for October, 2019

Lensbaby Goes Premium

Lensbaby spent the early part of its existence refining the original Lensbaby and some variants on that original theme. The original design featured a simple single element lens that created a “sweet spot” in the center that was sharp followed by a radial blur all around that sweet spot. The lens could be manipulated with its semi flexible barrel.

Lensbaby has come a long way since those early plastic bodied creator lenses. They still offer a variety of variants on the original themes but in the last few years they have put forth some very nice quality optics that still offer a creative alternative to traditional lens design but in a fantastic high quality product that looks and feels premium.

I purchased the Lensbaby Velvet 56mm f/1.6 which is just such a product. Many of you that follow this blog know that I have a healthy infatuation with so-called soft focus lenses. These lenses use deliberate spherical aberrations to create that glamorous glow. Most of those lenses utilize a form of lens element shift internally to induce the effect allowing the lens to perform as a standard lens as well. You can check out my previous posts on several of these that I have owned over the years.

These previous lenses had some form of switch or ring that was activated or turned to produce the soft focus usually with varying degrees of effect. I remember that years ago Pentax made an 85mm f/2.2 soft focus lens that had no such switch or dial but rather the effect was induced based on the aperture with wide open having the most soft effect and the stopped down past 5.6 nearly no effect at all. I never liked that style because you could not shoot the lens wide open with out the spherical aberrations, so it was a ‘one trick pony’.

This Lensbaby Velvet works just like that old Pentax, yet unlike the Asahi made lens of yesteryear I like this lens. What gives then? What is different about this Velvet? Two things immediately set this lens apart from any soft focus lens I have used, or read about. This lens has a super bright f/1.6 opening. By the time I stop down to f/2.8 at non-macro distances, most of the spherical aberration is gone. In effect I get the f/2.8 without the soft focus, more or less. The faster opening allows me to really throw the background way out of focus and even further enhance the delicious soft glow. Furthermore this is a bona fide macro lens capable of producing a 1:2 or 1/2 life reproduction ratio. The lens will focus down to 5″ which is four times closer than a typical 50mm lens.

I really like the polished finish which harkens back to the days of old school rangefinders and Exakta SLRs. It looks cool and it feels well made with all metal finishes. If you prefer a more subdued look they have a black anodized finish as well, but who wants to be subdued? I also noticed that they have a Velvet 85mm f/1.8 in the catalog as well and it too has very close focusing capability.

I find myself shooting this lens at f/2 – f/4 most of the time. That gives me a range of softness from very subtle to very strong but maintains a good sharp plan of focus. This Velvet 56 is pretty soft wide open.

Lensbaby is a local company at least from my perspective as they were founded in Portland, OR which is adjacent to my Vancouver USA. The company has a large line of clever and artistic products allowing for a wide range of effects to enhance your imaging experience, check out their website here.  I’m Jonesing for that 35/2.8 Burnside lens with the controllable swirly bokeh.

I love this Velvet 56 lens, below are some images I have made with it.

Read Full Post »

Urban Living in the 'Couv'

America's Vancouver is Rising

Liberty or Death

An Intellectual Conservative View


Latest facts, news and predictions for every Super Marvel movie nerd. Are you nerd enough? Click the Menu tab at the side for more!

WordPress.com News

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.


This WordPress.com site is the cat’s pajamas

SW Washington Land

Opportunities in residential, recreational, and commercial land

'Couv' Commercial Properties

Retail, Industrial and Office properties in Vancouver, USA

New Homes

Clark County Washington: Rod Sager, Realtor® Vancouver, USA

PhotoFair Camera Shows

Modern and Vintage Cameras and Photo Gear

Star Trek Online - Heidy's Highly Wily STO Blog

Star Trek Online, other MMORPGs, Entertainment, Random Musings and Stuff

Comics A-Go-Go! Comics, Movies, Music, News & More!

Irresponsible blogging at its best


Purveyor of pop culture...burdened with glorious purpose...


"Fate protects fools, little children, and ships named Enterprise."

After Dark Gaming

the red eye gamer

The One-Man Trekker

And our trek has only just begun...

Funk's House of Geekery

Movies, Comics, Books, Games and Other Things Geeks Love


A photographic journey through the Southern California car culture

Star Trek Online

Beaming in from The 'Couv'

Journey Into Awesome

A critical look at comics and culture

The Evergreen Times

Nearly 30 years of commentary and it just keeps coming

The 'Couv' Life

Musings of life in Vancouver, Washington U.S.A.


Just another WordPress.com site

Custom Skins by Jodi Tripp

Don't let your phone go Naked!

Portland Flooring Blog

Your flooring source for carpet, hardwood, tile and green surfaces in Portland Oregon

Broachs's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Donna's Ink Well

The source of expressed thought

Voice of the People

We, the People seem to agree on most everything...

The Lipstick Liberal

the liberal who still enjoys bein' lady-like.


A fine WordPress.com site


A topnotch WordPress.com site

Washington State Short Sales

A fine WordPress.com site

Clark County Real Estate Guide

An Insider's Guide To Real Estate, Mortgages and The Heartbeat Of Clark County, WA


Just another WordPress.com site


A topnotch WordPress.com site


SW Washington real estate talk

Kay Hunt 4 Homes

Kay's Food 4 Thought

Clark County Weather Blog

cameras, lenses, and photography

'Couv' Camera

cameras, lenses, and photography

WordPress.com News

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: