In an industry that provides me with my very favorite of hobbies, the idea of perceived perfection in performance is often the benchmark. To this end, I too am guilty in that I often look for and test to make sure I have the best optics for whichever sensor I happen to have invested in. Often times, when we as photographers focus on measurable optical metrics, we can lose sight of the artistic, creative outlet that visual art such as photography can provide us. As the old adage goes as far as skill and creativity are concerned, sharpness is overrated.
I like to explore photography from a very large spectrum of angles, and find I enjoy myself most when I change my vantage from time to time. I don’t feel photography is one thing, and certainly feel for me that if it only provided me with one type of result, I’d not be nearly as happy. I like variety, I like difference, I like weird. For those who’ve been around for a while, you’ll probably remember articles I’ve written about Lensbaby products, and how the company resides just down the road from me. Back when this was a fledgling little blog, they offered me many opportunities to beta test new optics, and provide fodder for those looking for adaptable optics for their (at the time, young, new) mirrorless system cameras.
Say hello to the Lensbaby Trio 28mm f/3.5 lens. Three unique Lensbaby optics, built into a single lens for mirrorless systems, and I’ve been loving it. C’mon in for some examples and comparisons…
Hello dear friends. There has been no secret here on the bloggings, surrounding my desire to find the perfect 85mm lens. It has become my own photo gear holy grail, and a fun journey it has been. I’ve owned, sold, used, borrowed or rented at least a dozen different 85mm (or equivalent) lenses for a few different systems over my years. It’s probably the single most fascinating focal length, for me. The most popular classification for a lens of this focal length, is going to be portraiture. It balances minimal distortion, with flattering spacial compression when working at traditional distances for portraits, and is a go to for many portrait photographers. I do like a good portrait session, but a mid range tele lens like a nice, fast 85mm can offer much more than merely head and shoulder shots. I want to look at this lens on its own at first. How sharp is it? Bokeh? What kind of value does is present at its price point for a photographer like me, or you? Later, I’ll be comparing this lens to a couple other fast portrait lenses that I have here on the blog, but for now let’s see how this beautiful new Sigma Art lens stands on its own…
Lensbaby’s optical engineers have done it again. After moving away from the toy camera replication type lenses into more complicatedly designed optics with lenses like the Sweet 35 and 50, Edge 50 and 80 and the Velvet 56, they’ve replicated the swirly vortex of the old Joseph Petzval designed optic from 174 years ago with this new Twist 60. Don’t dismiss this lens as pure kitsch, as it is remarkably sharp where you’d want it for a portrait lens (middle frame) and while, wide open you’ll see some pretty severe vignetting to go along with the twirly bokeh, this adds to its charm and vintage qualities. Portrait painters of yesteryear used many different brushes to create their renditions, and this can certainly be seen as a wonderfully specialized brush for the portrait photographer, along with those looking to add some fun to shots of any kind.
While perhaps not an effect to suit everyone’s taste, it is one that has found a place for certain portrait and fine art photographers looking to add in camera effects to visibly differentiate their look. With other companies seeing the value in chasing this corner of the market with lenses like the Kickstarter Petzval clone and the Trioplan Soap bokeh lenses that are looking to be launched on the market, it’s obvious that there is some demand for these newer versions of throwback optical designs. The question though, is how much are photographers looking for these optical effects willing to pay?
Priced at a very modest $280 for the Twist 60 Lens (optic and non-tilting metal lens body housing) available in Canon EF, Nikon F and Sony E mount, or $180 for the optic solely, the Twist 60 is certainly worth a look. You can find it at Adorama HERE, B&H HERE or directly through Lensbaby HERE.
C’mon in for more example shots, some technical mumbo jumbo and my thoughts on this lens…
Now, I’ve yet to get my mitts on a Velvet 56 of my own, but I plan to, and I’ll review the crap out of it when I do 🙂 In the mean time, check out the announcement by Lensbaby today:
Lensbaby Announces Availability of Fuji X Mounts for Flagship Lenses
Company also adds popular mirrorless mounts for hugely successful Velvet 56 portrait lens
Well, one mirrorless system has certainly put its big boy pants on. Over the last year, Olympus has joined Panasonic in offering a professionally fast zoom range from wide through tele in a two zoom setup. Traditionally seen as a working photographers “go-to range” the 24-200mm focal length run being offered in a reasonably fast, constant f/2.8 maximum aperture is arguably a necessity, and depending on who you ask, a must have range for many professional applications. Olympus has taken that traditional range, and added to it on both sides with their series of “PRO” zooms, the recently announced and soon to be released 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO (14-28mm e-fov), their 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO (24-80mm e-fov) and this 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO lens (80-300mm e-fov) offer system shooters the ability to shoot from a 14mm ultra wide equivalent through a 300mm long tele equivalent at f/2.8.
Today, I’ll have a look at the tele zoom in this series in the 40-150mm. So, how does this lens stack up? Well, if Canikon have been waiting for a warning shot, this might be seen as a nuke across the bow. C’mon in for my thoughts on this lens.
After my recent disappointment with the Olympus 60mm f/2.8 macro (read here), and my ongoing ups and downs with the Olympus OMD EM5, I have been looking to be convinced by Olympus. I hear so much about Oly’s stellar reputation, but I’d not personally felt those plaudits justified through my experiences with the few Olympus products I’ve owned (hopefully the fanboys will be kind to me here). In comes the M. Zuiko 75mm f/1.8 lens. A solid, sharp, 150mm EFOV lens with quite a reputation of its own has come onto the scene. After returning the 60mm macro, I wanted to make sure that the investment in the 75mm lens would be worth it to me…
April 2nd, 2012 – Lensbaby has announced it’s second MILC dedicated product which now gives the MILC (Mirror-less Interchangeable Lens Compact) systems, micro 4/3, NEX, and NX users access to every optic and add on in the Lensbaby system. Where the Tilt Transformer for Micro 4/3 and NEX cameras allowed for the Composer Front to be used, it was limited to the Lensbaby optics that were compatible. Now, the Sweet 35, Fisheye, Edge 80, Macro Converters and all standard optic swap inserts are entirely compatible! It’s like immediately gaining access to a bunch of new lenses for these young systems clamoring for more affordable and diverse options. More after the jump…
1 photo, 15 actions for 15 different looks. (click on all pics for larger view)
With all the Lensbaby fun of late, I went in search of ways to enhance the Lensbaby experience and stumbled across the Kubota Lensbaby Action Pak! For those not familiar with Kubota actions, they’re purchasable groups of photoshop actions (very popular with studio, event and wedding shooters) which provide you with quick, easy and repeatable adjustments with the click of a button. Based in Bend, Oregon, they’re just down the way from me so I decided to get in touch with them and they were very gracious to let me play around with their Lensbaby Action Pak which includes 15 actions tuned for image files taken with various Lensbaby optics. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and while I never have a problem rambling on and on, I will let the image examples show off what these actions do. Starting with the original image taken with a GF1 and the Lensbaby TT + Composer / double glass optic and on through each of the included 15 Kubota Filters: