Lensbaby recently celebrated its 6th birthday and also released a totally revamped line of lenses and accessories in their new Optic Swap System. Here's a quick run-down of the new system.
The lenses come in mounts for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, and 4/3 mount. The lenses can be used on SLR camera bodies, both film and digital. The three new lenses are: The Muse, The Control Freak, and The Composer. The Muse is a remake of the original Lensbaby, and is focused by bending and squeezing, and then holding into place. It is the most simple and economical of the lenses. The Control Freak is a remake of the 3G, and is focused by compressing and then locking posts into place. It is ideal for macro and tabletop photography. The Composer is all new and built on a ball and socket system for smoother focusing, which is done so by simply tilting the front half of the lens. Because of the ball and socket design, it requires no hand holding or locks to keep it in place. With the three new lenses and a bunch of other accessories, the line also introduced a new concept of varying optics, called the Optic Swap System. The system offers three types of plain optics including single, double, and plastic optics that can be interchanged between lenses. The swapping system also includes three special effect optics including soft focus, pinhole/zone plate, and the fisheye optic.
If you're unfamiliar with Lensbaby, the lenses are known for their "sweet spot of focus". They have a circular field of focus, instead of a planar filed like that of a tilt/shift lens.While similar effects are possible in Photoshop, one of the benefits of using these lenses is the benefit of time. Shooting with a Lensbaby gives you an instant result with no post editing required. These lenses seem to have a very niche group of followers. They are very “hands on”, both in focusing and in choosing your aperture. Aperture holes are pre-cut into small disks that must be inserted manually into the center of the lens. The different optics must also be hand swapped, through a slightly (and at first challenging) process of multiple steps. The new Lensbaby lenses are certainly more advanced and offer more options. They do take some getting used to, and you will probably either love them or hate them.
Click HERE for more information on the Lensbaby website.