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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Lensbaby Velvet 55mm f1.6 product images (1 of 6)ISO 4001-140 sec at f - 2.0

Lensbaby’s Velvet 56mm f1.6 is a pretty new lens, and one that many of us didn’t necessarily expect. In the past couple of years, the company has been working on alternative lenses for various systems, and the first sample images look really cool in a lo-fi type of way. Indeed, Lensbaby has always been about seeing the world in a new way, and their newest lenses seem to make you do that, just in a more vintage style.

That’s not to say that these lenses have plastic optics at all, but if you’re a film lover then the Lensbaby Velvet 56mm f1.6 lens will give you quite a treat.

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Model: Erica Lourde

Model: Erica Lourde

Portrait lenses are an interesting topic due to the balance that’s needed with them. They need to be sharp, but if they’re too sharp, they can make skin look too detailed and not soft. Sure, this can be fixed in post-production but it’s often long and arduous work, and needs to be very exacting so that the images don’t look overdone or unnatural.

For that reason, we aren’t at all saying that sharp lenses aren’t good. In fact, they’re great! Many of them have won our Editor’s Choice awards. Instead, we’re saying that these lenses find a good balance between being very detailed with great image quality but not so detailed to the point where you’ll see way too much of the pores. When used in conjunction with modern image sensors, these lenses will make portrait shooting much easier.

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velvet56_bk_standing_1534

Today, Lensbaby has announced a brand new optic for their system: the Velvet 56. This 56mm lens comes with an f1.6 aperture and can focs as close as five inches. With a 62mm filter thread on the front, Lensbaby also hints that this lens was designed to give off a look akin of that of mid-20th century lenses (which basically means something like the Lomography Petzval lens).

The company is billing this lens as a high end lens and says that it delivers a velvety glow that gives digital cameras a film-like quality when using it.

The Lensbaby Velvet 56 comes in at $499.95 and is available in Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony DSLR mounts.

Sample images are after the jump. We’re trying to call one in for review now.

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julius motal the phoblographer lensbaby composer pro product image-1

So it was that I received a Lensbaby Composer Pro with Sweet 50 Optic and an NEX-6 for review. It had been a while since I last handled one of Lensbaby’s creations, the Scout and Muse specifically, and this one was considerably different. It looks like a cannon had been miniaturized to fit on the NEX-6, or something that might have been affixed to the robot from Lost in Space. The Composer Pro was a quirky break from the usual spate of reviews, but it isn’t for everyone.

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It’s been a while since Lensbaby announced anything new; but now it seems like they’re going for the extreme end of things–and by that we mean extremely wide. The company announced a brand new 5.8mm f3.5 fisheye lens for APS-C Canon and Nikon DSLRs. However, it can be used on full frame DSLRs too. In terms of design, the lens looks like an old Nikon optic. The 5.8mm f3.5 has a fully manual aperture ring, manual focus, and something totally different too! This lens isn’t compatible with the Optic Swap system–and that sort of makes sense. The Optic Swap system is supposed to allow users to swap optics on their camera and tilt-shift their lenses. But the benefits of tilt-shift is some glorious bokeh. Unfortunately, you can’t really get any bokeh with something this wide.

We’re in the process of calling one in for review, but in the meantime you can pick one up from Adorama for $299.95.

lensbaby-for-iphone

Lensbaby, creator of selective focus optics such as the Sweet 35, turns to Kickstarter with a crowdfunding campaign for an accessory sweet spot lens for the iPhone. If the campaign is successful, this would be the first lens of its kind specifically made for smartphones. And finally Lensbaby fans all over the world will be able to achieve the company’s signature look with their smartphones.

What the sweet spot lens does in similar fashion to the Sweet 35 mentioned above, is to create lots and lots of blur around a center spot that is in focus. While effects like this can also be achieved through image manipulation after the captur–Instagram has an option, for example–the results never really look as good as with a dedicated lens. In order to further expand your creativity, the lens will feature a magnetic mount at the front which allows the use of addition converters for wide-angle, telephoto, macro etc.

If Lensbaby is able to raise the $20,000 in funding that they are seeking, the lens will hit the market at a retail price of $70 later this year. If you’d like to secure your own copy of the Lensbaby for iPhone, a pledge of $50 will get you one of the first lenses to be shipped. For more details about the sweet spot iPhone lens, head over to the Kickstarter campaign page.

Via PetaPixel