Photography / Hands-on Review

Holiday 2012: Lensbaby Lenses and Accessories


Over the past few years, Lensbaby has introduced several lines of compact tilt-and-shift and special-effects lenses. Plastic and metal with a unique ball and socket selective-focus mechanism, Lensbaby manual focus lenses come in numerous permutations and mounts and with a host of converters and fun accessories. As an introduction to tilt-shift optics or as affordable lenses to keep on your camera for creative exploration, the Lensbabys are worth a look.

Lensbaby's tilt-shift and special-effects lenses are compatible with most major mounts. These lenses, with interchangeable optics, can be viewed as a fun way to experiment but, taken seriously, you can create sharp and beautiful images. In addition, Lensbaby offers several kits that come with their Composer Pro or Composer Pro PL lenses to create a wide variety of selective-focus images. All of the Lensbaby lenses are manual focusing and none are able to conduct electronic functions.

The Lensbaby Composer Pro with Double Glass for SLRs and Mirrorless Cameras is a hybrid between a bellows and a tilt-shift lens with an all-metal ball for smooth focus and bendable tilt control. The Double Glass Optic installed in the Composer Pro provides the sharpest sweet-spot focus in the Lensbaby line. The Composer Pro can also come with the Sweet 35 Optic, which is an adjustable aperture, 35mm selective-focus lens, providing a variable sized sweet spot surrounded by gradual blur. It has the widest focal length of any Lensbaby selective-focus optic. The Lensbaby Composer with Double Glass Optic is their most popular lens and is available for various DSLR mounts. Simple and smooth, its ball-and-socket mechanism tilts to find the sweet spot and focuses with its manual focusing ring. 

The Lensbaby Muse with Double Glass Optic focuses by squeezing the focus collar. Then, by bending and stretching the articulated tubing, you can place the focus on your desired spot within the frame. Aperture is controlled by installing various sized magnetic aperture discs. Like the Composer and Composer Pro, it also accepts each of the various Lensbaby optics including Sweet 35, Fish-eye, Pinhole and the new Edge 80, which is an 80mm f/2.8 selective-focus lens. Also new to the Lensbaby line is the Spark. It is the most basic and possibly most fun of the Lensbaby series of lenses. Like the Muse, it squeezes to focus and bends to find its sweet spot. It is a 50mm fixed f/5.6 lens and is presently available for Canon and Nikon DSLR mounts.

One of the great things about the Lensbaby system is that its optics, converters and accessories work with each of their lenses. In fact, they call this the Optic Swap System. More so, if you already own a Lensbaby lens, you can purchase one of their converters or accessories and be assured that they will work with the lens you have. The Lensbaby Macro Converter Extension Rings, for example, supply you with an 8mm macro converter ring and a 16mm macro converter ring, which can be combined to make a 24mm ring. Separately or in combination, they fit all the Lensbaby lenses and can be used with various optics for close-up shooting, including (with the 8mm converter on a Fisheye optic) the ability to focus on a subject that it is touching. For an impressionistic touch, the Lensbaby Creative Aperture Kit 2 provides a set of metalized plastic disks that drop onto the front of a lens to create points of light shaped like the cut-out form on the disk. Cut-outs in the shape of birds, stars, hearts, and wave patterns make for unique effects in the blurred part of the image. Uncut disks are even provided to create your own patterns.

As mentioned, Lensbaby offers various kits to combine the Composer Pro lens with numerous optics and accessories. The Creative Effects Kit for Canon and Nikon comes with the Double Glass, Single Glass, Plastic and Pinhole Optics as well as wide-angle, macro and telephoto converters and creative aperture inserts to produce star, blur and other funky effects. A sturdy kit bag is also part of the deal.

The Lensbaby Ultimate Portrait Kit offers the Composer Pro with Double Glass Optic and the Scout lens with Soft Focus optic as well as the wide-angle and telephoto converters and the creative aperture kit. Finally, the Movie Maker’s Kit loads up a Pelican case with enough lenses and accessories to make your masterpiece. Designed for Canon HDSLR cameras, this kit is anchored by the Composer Pro PL lens and includes seven Lensbaby optics as well as a second Composer Pro lens and the Muse lens. Add to that a wide-angle conversion lens, the wide-angle/telephoto kit and creative aperture kit and you are off to the land of creative and affordable HD movie-making.

  Format Coverage AOV Min. Focus Tilt/Shift Filter Size
Lensbaby Composer Pro w/Double Glass Optic Full-Frame / APS-C 46.8°
18” (45.7 cm)  Tilt: 0-17.5° 37mm
Lensbaby Composer w/Double Glass Optic Full-Frame / APS-C 46.8°
18” (45.7 cm)  Tilt: 0-17.5° 37mm
Lensbaby Muse w/Double Glass Full-Frame / APS-C 46.8°
12" (30.5 cm) NA 37mm
Lensbaby Spark Full-Frame / APS-C 46.8°
13" (33 cm) NA 37mm

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Any way of attaching a Lensbaby to the bayonet mount on a Yashica-D?

No, unfortunately there are not any models or options that would fit on your Yashica D TLR nor any other TLR camera out there.