*Lensbaby Burnside 35mm, a unique dual aperture lens!

My long standing relationship with Lensbaby as a fan, and friend has rewarded me again with the ability to use and review the Burnside 35mm f/2.8 dual aperture lens.  I was asked to play around with the new Burnside 35, but as is always the case here, all my opinions are purely that.  Mine.  I don’t get paid (unfortunately) to do this, nor was it required that I write up a fluff piece, so while I do have a soft spot for the local, independent Portland based company, I’m also in no way contractually required to like their stuff.  As you’ll read, I don’t hold back criticism where I see fit.  Lensbaby tends to get the online readers divided based on perception that cameras and lenses need to test off the charts in all ways, and anything that isn’t trying to accomplish that should be burned at the stake.  If that’s what you’re after, feel free to argue scientific test charts somewhere else, also, I feel a little sorry that the joy of photography has seemingly evaporated in your life, assuming it was ever there to begin with.  I’m not saying you need to like the weird, wild and quirky, but you certainly don’t need to piss in the cereal of those who enjoy creating different effects in camera.  The true beauty of free will is just that.  We all get to decide what we like, and I often like in camera effects.  …okay, are all the curmudgeony troll pessimist chart nazis grumpy enough to have clicked away?  Good.

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*Lensbaby Velvet 56 for Micro 4/3 Review! w/ @SeeInANewWay


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There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the newest lens in the Lensbaby family.  The Velvet 56 offers a bit of a departure from what Lensbaby has been known by in that it has forgone the ability to selectively manipulate the plane of focus into a point or tangential plane, with most lenses offering the ability to be swapped into or out of one of their lens housing bodies like the Composer Pro, or Scout.

The new Velvet 56 is a solidly built, fixed focal length 56mm f/1.6 prime lens that has a different trick up its sleeve.  In days of yore, many portrait photographers used lenses that would intentionally soften contrast and the overall image, aptly called “soft focus” lenses.  

Enter the Velvet 56, and as its name suggests, it is as smooth as Barry White by candlelight.  C’mon in for some sample shots and my thoughts…

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*How do aperture and focal length affect the DOF or exposure on different sized sensors?

Okay, much like the “effective focal length” discussions, there seem to be many “effective aperture” discussions going around as many of these mirrorless interchangeable lens compact system cameras begin to really round out their lens offerings.  Well, I guess the micro 4/3 system has while the Samsung NX is getting there and Sony NEX system users still have a small handful of options, but not really here nor there.  The fact that so many lenses can be adapted across various formats can complicate the discussion.  Along with those who shoot with APS-C DSLR cameras, all references for focal length and depth of field seem to fall back to a full frame/35mm sized sensor as the benchmark.  There are some misconceptions as to how the aperture, or focal length affects the exposure or depth of field in these varying formats.

C’mon in, we’ll straighten this all out.

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*Mirrorless mania, or just another brick in the wall?

I had a read through mirrorless rumors today as I do most everyday and saw that there was an article posted regarding Canon’s recent ideas on a mirrorless system.  Having been a fan and user of the micro 4/3 system as my mirrorless system to date, it had me questioning what I’d like to see in a Canon system.  My thoughts may be off base, but c’mon in if you’re interested…

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*Lensbaby’s sweet, ‘Sweet 35’

It’s here.  This, more than any other Lensbaby optic I’ve personally used, changes the Lensbaby from a fun tool, into a productive, creative asset.  Not that any of the other Lensbaby optics are bad, quite the contrary, I think that the Lensbaby system is and has always been a wonderful addition to my photographic arsenal, it’s just that up until now, one big challenge with any of the Lensbaby optics has been the inability to alter the size of the sweet spot via aperture adjustment quickly on the fly…  Now, you can bring all of the cool, selective focus effects into concert with the adaptability and exposure tuning qualities of a more standard lens.  Read on for a quick video and image samples…

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*Sony NEX5 vs. Panasonic GF1, the showdown.

Hello and welcome to my blog!  For those of you who’ve read some of my other articles I’m sure you know how I feel about the GF1, and for those who are just stumbling across the blog, welcome and thanks for taking the time to stop by.  While I’ve been shooting with the GF1 for over a year now, I have just recently been gifted the opportunity to use, and review a Sony NEX5.  Thank you Sony, and my friends at Lensbaby for making this happen.  While new cameras are continuing to be announced and released, I still feel that these two cameras provide the most compelling overall packages if you’re looking for a high performance compact/pocketable camera.  Getting to extensively use the NEX5 has gone a long way in dispelling some of the shortcomings I’d felt it really exhibited upon my first interaction with one a few months back.  I feel that the GF1 is the best balance of function and size in the micro 4/3 realm, so I was very curious to see how it stacked up against a very cool camera in the NEX5.  I do feel there are some serious pros and cons for each of these cameras and depending on your needs, one may be head and shoulders above the other.

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*Mirrorless Mania! Which camera should I get?

I have been receiving quite a few emails lately asking which mirrorless interchangeable lens compact cameras I would suggest, so I figured I would give a quick rundown on who I feel would benefit from each of the current stock out there and which I feel are the “best” choices.

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