There are innumerable ways to produce aesthetically unique images, whether you’re using a filter on your smartphone, shooting on expired film, or using a specialty lens from Lensbaby on your DSLR camera. Lensbaby is a company known for optics that provide soft focus, selective focus, or other effects that most other lenses try to specifically avoid, hence the uniqueness of their optic systems.
Two of Lensbaby’s newest offerings are the Sweet 35 Optic and Sweet 50 Optic, both of which fit in the Composer Pro. The Composer Pro and either the Sweet 35 or Sweet 50 Optic combine to make a manual focus curved field lens, allowing for selective focus and giving your photos a unique focal sweet spot, surrounded by a blurred out-of-focus area. The Composer Pro incorporates a metal ball design that provides smooth focus and allows you to move the location of the focal sweet spot by simply tilting the lens on its ball-and-socket joint. A tension ring controls how loose or tight the joint is, giving you precise control over the lens’s 17.5 degrees of tilt.
The in-focus sweet spot area can be further controlled by adjusting the aperture ring between f/2.5 when wide open, to f/22 fully stopped down. The brighter the aperture, the smaller the sweet spot, and vice versa. The Sweet 50 Optic can focus from 15" to infinity, and the Sweet 35 Optic gets even closer, at 7.5" to infinity.
Lensbaby lenses and optics do not have any electronic communication with the camera, so autofocus is irrelevant. Most cameras will meter in Aperture Priority. Some Nikon cameras won’t meter and should be set to Manual, with adjustments made to ISO and shutter speed to find the right exposure. This, however, becomes part of the fun when shooting with a lens like this; it’s about experimentation instead of certainties.
The Sweet 35 Optic is composed of four multi-coated glass elements, in three groups, and the Sweet 50 Optic has two multi-coated glass elements, in one group. Both lenses have a 46mm front thread to accept a variety of filters. The lenses also work with the Lensbaby Macro Converters, but not with the 37mm accessories.
The Composer Pro, with your choice of with the Sweet 35 Optic or the Sweet 50 Optic, is compatible with all Lensbaby Optic Swap Optics and is available in Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony A, Pentax K, Olympus 4/3, Micro Four Thirds, Sony E, and Samsung NX mounts.