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.
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.
It’s been a busy month since I gave my first impression of the Lensbaby Scout with Fisheye Optic, but I’ve managed to get some quality with it to offer up a full review. As stated in the initial post, the Scout is Lensbaby’s sole fixed lens, but it retains the ability to change optics (as it is part of the Optic Swap system) as well as the suite of aperture disks. The fisheye field of view is a niche one, but it makes for some fun photography in and around New York City. Here is the review.
Lensbabies when used correctly can create some really beautiful images. Using their tilt-shift effect that is natural to their design, many photographers also know that they’re not simple to use and take dedication. Gretchen Robinette, a photographer local to Brooklyn, NY has released a couple of very cool images shot with the Lensbaby Composer Pro Double Optic with Sweet 35, and Canon 5D Mk II. It goes to show that in the hands of the right creative, they can do much more than just shoot landscapes.
Check out more of her photos and what Gretchen had to say about using the items after the jump. This is much different than her other portraiture. Also check out her website.
This here’s my second piece of glass from creative company Lensbaby, the same group of folks responsible for the Muse (reviewed by yours truly). The Scout is Lensbaby’s only fixed lens. That is to say it walks with other lenses that use a standard issue focusing ring as opposed to a compress-to-focus accordion-style body. I received the lens a week ago, and I’ve had some to take it out for a test run on the streets of New York City. Here are my first impressions.
It’s called the Lensbaby Spark and it is a fascinating little lens. Weird, yet cool lenses have been popping up a lot in the past few years. The Spark, a lens referred to as a gateway drug to Lensbaby gear, is one of those lenses. It is affordable, fascinatingly built, and so much fun to play with. After my first impressions with it, I put it through its paces, and there’s much more to it than meets the eye. Lenses like these can be brilliant if you put some time and effort into them. Let’s see what the Lensbaby spark is all about.