Lensbaby increase their range of easy-to-manipulate tilt/shift lenses to three with the most adaptable version yet.
Lensbaby Composer: Specification
Lensbaby Composer: Features
- Lens: Multi-coated Optical Glass Doublet
- Focal Length: Approx. 50mm
- Focus Type: Manual
- Aperture Type: interchangeable magnetic discs
- Apertures: f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22
- Minimum Focus: 45cm-infinity
- Size: 57x63.5mm
- Weight: 104g
- Mounts: Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony Alpha A/Minolta Maxxum, Samsung GX, Olympus E1/Panasonic DMC
Building on the 3G version that ePHOTOzine reviewed in September 2007
, a major improvement has been made to the idea of the earlier model. That's not to say that the Composer is replacing the 3G. In fact, it's an addition to the team making it three strong currently.
The 3G has three screw thread arms that are able to lock the lens into place for precise sweetspot shots whereas the Muse had problems with this because it had to be handheld. That said, it was much faster to use the Muse because you didn't have to lock the “bellows” in place.
The Composer's design is based on a ball and socket which makes using it smoother, more precise and it'll stay where it should without having to continue to squeeze it or lock it in place.
There's also a manual ring for fine tuning the focus which will be useful when using the more precise aperture rings.
As usual, the lens comes with a selection of aperture rings that are placed into the lens with a supplied magnetic pick-up tool.
Interestingly, Lensbaby say you can use a DSLR in aperture-priority mode and still get TTL-metering except on certain cameras. Most are Nikon and include older models such as the D70 but also newer models such as the D60 and D90. Other models include the Kodak 14N, ProN and Fuji S1, S2 and S3.
Lensbaby Composer: Performance
Apart from not really having a decent close focusing distance, the Lensbaby can cope with everything you throw at it which means most photographers should be able to find a creative use for it.
Setting the sweet spot into the centre gives the sharpest results and as the spot is moved further to the edge of the frame the blurred area gives more of a speed filter effect. It can look quite appealing in the right circumstances but could look tardy in others.
Lensbaby Composer: Verdict
Focusing in the centre is sharpest and sends everything around it out of focus. This was taken using the f/2.8 aperture ring.
Adapting the lens to the right side of the frame and I've focused on the Zeiss Ikon insignia on the folding bracket. The out of focus area looks similar to a speed filter.
It's the most easily used of the three lenses in the range as the ball and socket system will stay where it is allowing you time to focus quicker and get the shot sooner. You don't have to rely on keeping the lens in place yourself and you don't have to waste time locking the lens in place.
Lensbabies are taking off and I think the great thing about them is that they produce a radical image while at the same time making you slow down and think about the photograph. Like pinhole photography, the types of photographs usually taken with a Lensbaby are quirky and bizarre.
Lensbaby Composer: Plus points
Good build quality
Lensbaby Composer: Minus points
No close focusing
Pricey for amount of use it'll probably get
The Lensbaby Composer is available in various fittings, costs around £184 and is available from Warehouse Express here: