Lensbaby has introduced the third member of its popular Velvet lineup: the Lensbaby Velvet 28mm f/2.5 Lens. Having already reviewed the Lensbaby Velvet 85mm f/1.8 and Lensbaby Velvet 56mm f/1.6, my curiosity was already stoked when the wide-angle version of the lens appeared on my desk.
Something I really like about Lensbaby’s Velvet-series lenses—fuzzy pics aside—is that they all focus down to half life-size (1:2), which in the case of the new Velvet 28mm, gets you within two inches of your subject. This close-focusing factor, combined with a wide field of view, enables truly bold close-ups.
Like the Velvet 85 and Velvet 56, the new 28mm Velvet captures images that can be highly diffused or fairly sharp, depending on your choice of lens aperture. Wide-open, the Velvet lenses capture image files that are highly diffused, while stopped down, the image files sharpen up, yet always retain a hint of glow in them.
On the tech side, the Velvet 28 is totally manual focus and, because it’s a wide-angle lens, it has a more complex optical design (8 elements in 7 groups) compared to the Velvet 56 and 85. Other features include 67mm filter threads (same as the Velvet 85), a 12-blade aperture, and all-metal construction that adds more than 1 lb of weight to your camera.
Though not officially engraved onto the lens barrel, if you open the lens aperture to the + symbol just past f/2.5, you get an additional 1/3-stop of light. Why they didn’t just call it a 28mm f/2.2 lens, I simply do not know.
Something I strongly suggest if you should purchase this or any of the Lensbaby Velvet lenses is to shoot RAW along with your JPEGs. The JPEGs give you a decent rendering of what the lens can do, but the RAW files enable you to truly tweak the details of the files.
Have you tried any of the Lensbaby Velvet lenses or other Lensbaby products you enjoy using? If so, tell us about your experiences in the Comments field, below.