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The Next Lensbaby Era

Posted on May 08, 2009 in News: Camera Accessories, Lensbaby


Lensbabies, LLC, the name synonymous with “that sweet spot of focus” has recently undergone some significant changes. In a bid to simplify communication and unify the brand, the company is now known simply as Lensbaby, along with a new logo that reflects increasing polish and professional quality of its products while still retaining its creative heritage. For the uninitiated, Lensbaby lenses provide photographers with a new way to control depth of field by bringing one area of a photo into sharpest focus with that Sweet SpotTM surrounded by graduated blur.

Lensbaby also announced a new line-up of lenses with interesting names to match the equally interesting personality of the users: The ComposerTM, The MuseTM and The Control FreakTM. These three new lenses will immediately replace the current stable comprising of the Original, Lensbaby 2.0 and Lensbaby 3G lenses, bringing into focus a new lens system – the Lensbaby Optic Swap System – that will offer unlimited creative flexibility.

The Composer introduces “a new level of ease and precision to selective focus photography”, according to Lensbaby president and founder, Craig Strong, as it is based on a ball and socket configuration that retains its position after being bent without the need for a locking mechanism. With just one hand, you simply tilt the lens to a desired angle and then focus with a barrel focusing ring, which becomes more sensitive (requiring greater rotation to move the optic in and out) as you approach infinity, making it easier to focus on subjects from 10 feet to infinity. The Composer, great for photographers with a smooth and fluid shooting style, has a focal length of 50mm and to change the aperture, you simply insert the provided aperture discs which range from f/2 to f/22.

The Muse replaces the Original Lensbaby and Lensbaby 2.0 while being very similar in appearance and functionality, with a focal length of around 50mm and aperture range of f/2 to f/8. Photographers will still focus by compressing the lens and move the sweet spot by bending the flexible lens tubing, just like its predecessors – ideal for photographers who shoot fast and loose.

The Control Freak, on the other hand, is an updated version of the Lensbaby 3G and is best suited for photographers who have a step-by-step shooting approach. It works like The Muse, except that it has a button to lock the lens in place after focusing. Once locked, photographers can adjust the fine focus with a barrel focusing ring and fine tune the tilt by rotating its three metal posts. Its focal length is 50mm and has an aperture range of f/2 to f/22.

The new Lensbaby Optic Swap System, as featured in all three models, comprises of four interchangeable optic options: Double Glass, Single Glass, Plastic and The Pinhole/Zone plate. The Double Glass Optic, used in Lensbaby 2.0 and Lensbaby 3G, is a 50mm multi-coated optical glass doublet, while Single Glass Optic is a 50mm updated, uncoated optical glass singlet similar to that used in the Original Lensbaby.

Plastic Optic is a 50mm f/2 plastic singlet that maximizes blur and diffusion in a dreamy way that HolgaTM and DianaTM camera lovers will especially appreciate. The Pinhole/Zone Plate is an optic cup with an f/177 aperture hole to allow for pinhole photography and an f/19 zone plate opening. Users can slide a toggle inside the optic to change back and forth between Pinhole and Zone plate mode, allowing further artistic exploration.

The Composer and The Control Freak come installed with the Double Glass Optic, while The Muse gives you the option of having either the Double Glass or Plastic Optic installed. Additional optics are sold separately. To change the optic in your Lensbaby, simply pop the installed optic out and drop in a different optic using the Optic Swap Tool supplied with the optional optic.

The Composer and The Control Freak will be available in our stores in December 2008, while The Muse will only make its debut in the second quarter of 2009.

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