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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, 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

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer SLRMagic Bokehmorphic samples at night (12 of 12)

There are some optics that just weren’t designed to be evaluated by DxOMark or other places. Instead, they’re all about creativity. These alternatives let you look at the world in a whole new way and also open your creativity up to new possibilities. Many of them are also designed to be used with mirrorless cameras since the natural design of these cameras makes it much easier to create something for.

If you’re looking to expand your horizons a bit, check out this list of alternative lenses.

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With street photography, the optimal word when it comes to lenses is “primes”. Fixed focal lengths are the better choice for this particular genre of photography, and not just for their better image quality. Yes, zoom lenses provide you the flexibility of several focal lengths within one lens, but that’s not necessarily an advantage when working on the street.  Those critical moments that happen in front of the camera are often so fleeting that they can be easily lost while turning the zoom ring to the appropriate focal length. A fixed focal length eliminates that. You know exactly what you have to work with as soon as you attach the lens to the camera. At that point it becomes all about composition. Prime lenses are also faster or offer a wider aperture (f1.4, f1.8 or f2) than most zoom lenses. This can be particularly important when you are shooting under low light conditions. That not only impacts your exposure options, but it also improves the effectiveness of the camera’s autofocus system when working under dim conditions. Though some people may start off street photography using “discrete” telephoto zooms, the best photographs involve proximity to the subject and the moment. So, it’s often focal lengths of 50mm and wider that make up the heart of a street photographer’s kit. Here are the focal lengths that I believe should be in a street photographer’s camera bag.

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