Digital Outback Photo
- Photography using Digital SLRs


Creative Fun with Lensbaby 3G

field note by Uwe Steinmueller (1/23/2007)



Lensbaby turns your DSLR into a mini view camera with a selective focus lens. The Lensbaby lens can be tilted and shifted to control the selective sweet spot. The picture is sharp at this sweet spot and shows the rest of the image out of focus and distorted.

The new 3G model allows more control than previous Lensbaby versions because the tilt/shift can be kept fixed. The earlier models required to hold the lens tilted and focused with your hand and push the shutter at the same time.

Lensbaby 3G with Canon Rebel XTi

The aperture can be controlled by changing little magnetic disks with a perfect round aperture (no disk equals f/2 and the disks come in f/2.8 - f/22). Here you have to find the balance between low DOF (wide aperture) and higher DOF (smaller apertures). Because you focus through your camera while the installed aperture is active (you cannot focus using the aperture wide open) the viewfinder gets dimmer with smaller apertures and also focusing get less precise. The inventor of Lensbabies finds that f/4 is a good compromise.

The focusing is fully manual by the Lensbaby plastic bellows. This makes a large viewfinder image desirable. The viewfinder image on our Canon Rebel XTi was kind of small. Likely working with a full frame sensor and larger viewfinder will help for better image evaluation.

On the Rebel XTi we had no problem using the cameras metering. No idea why Nikon does not allow metering with the D80 for lenses without any electronic contact. With some test shots and watching the histogram finding the optimal exposure should be no big deal.

Lensbaby 3G with Canon Rebel XTi

Lensbaby 3G can be bought for most popular camera mounts (Nikon, Canon, Minolta/Sony, Pentax, Olympus and Leica R). Why not make a common lens with different mount adapters? Then again most users use only one DSLR brand. We have no doubt that you can use the Lensbabies 3G for creative work. It takes quite a while to learn how to use the Lensbaby distortions for good images and we are just now beginners.

Lensbaby 3G with Canon Rebel XTi

At first we thought of Lensbaby only as a toy. Yes, it is like a toy because it is fun to experiment. But then we now believe it can be a tool to create beautiful creative images.

For more information on Lensbaby 3G visit the Lensbabies website.


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