It has been more than 16 years since Lensbaby first came into being, and to mark the occasion, this manufacturer is taking the opportunity to introduce the Lensbaby Spark 2.0, which is an update of the original Lensbaby Spark 1.0, introduced in 2012.
The new Spark 2.0 maintains the flexible “radiator hose” form factor of its predecessor while upping the ante on the mechanics and physical attributes of the new lens. If you’ve never used a Lensbaby, let’s just say focusing the lens is like bending and pinching a hose to adjust the spray, except in this case you’re focusing the lens. And it works. And it’s fun!
As with past Lensbabys, the Spark 2.0 allows for up to ~30° angle of tilt, which enables you to render the focus on and around your subject with ethereal blur and streak effects. The Spark 2.0 is also compatible with all 15 Lensbaby Optic Swap System optics, which, depending on how you configure the various imaging tools, enables you to introduce all manner of rainbows, flare, color refractions, and other special effects to your photographs.
“Gumby”-like form factor aside, the Lensbaby Spark 2.0 is, at its core, a manual focus 50mm f/2.5 lens containing two broadband multi-coated glass lens elements in a single group. The new lens retains the familiar squeeze-to-focus focusing system and “Sweet 50 look” that makes Lensbabys so unique, along with 46mm filter threads, a minimum focus distance of 13", and an image circle large enough to cover full-frame, APS-C, and Micro 4/3 camera formats.
Picking up where the original Sweet Spot Spark 1.0 left off, some of the new features found on the Spark 2.0 include an improved 12-blade adjustable aperture with aperture settings ranging from f/2.5 to 22 (the original Spark had a fixed f/5.6 aperture), improved compatibility with past and future Lensbaby imaging accessories, and metal alloy camera mounts, which are available for Canon EF, Canon RF, FUJIFILM X, Micro 4/3, Nikon F, Nikon Z, Pentax K, and Sony E camera mounts. The Spark 2.0 is the first flexible Lensbaby for mirrorless camera systems.
The DSLR version of the Lensbaby Spark 2.0 measures 3 x 1.4" and weighs 0.3 lb. The mirrorless version of the Spark 2.0 measures 3 x 3.4" and weighs 0.4 lb.
Though considered by some to be a cute novelty lens when first introduced, Lensbabys have since been incorporated into the creative workflow of numerous music videos and motion picture productions, including the Oscar-nominated The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, as well as a number of Netflix, Amazon, HBO, and Hulu TV series and movie productions.
Have you used any of the many Lensbaby products we sell at B&H? If so, let us know your thoughts in the Comments section, below.