Lens Reviews

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Jon Sienkiewicz  |  Oct 26, 2015  |  0 comments

Sometimes an old fashioned recipe and the latest modern technology don’t mix: zap-blasting your grandmother’s vegetable soup ingredients in a 10,000-watt microwave instead of slowly simmering them for six hours, for example. But other times strange bedfellows bring out the best in each other. Such is the case with Lensbaby optics on modern digital cameras.

George Schaub  |  Jun 15, 2012  |  First Published: May 01, 2012  |  0 comments

There are three main elements in depth of field—focal length, aperture, and distance to subject—and depth of field is a very important part of a 2D photograph. It’s how we judge scale (or are fooled by it), how we note the importance of certain subjects within the frame, and how we define content and context in the scene. With these three controls, and using various points of view, it seems we have infinite variations to choose from, and that’s part of the creative play of photography. Now you can add a fourth element to the mix—tilts that range from mild to extreme and that create “slices” of sharpness within the frame. The tool that helps us create that effect is the latest optic from Lensbaby, which they dub the Edge 80.

Jon Sienkiewicz  |  Nov 24, 2013  |  0 comments

Lensbaby Spark lets your camera color outside the lines. It mounts directly on your Canon or Nikon and focuses manually when you squeeze it toward the rear while watching the sharp, sweet spot move around in the viewfinder. The affordable Lensbaby Spark deserves a spot on every photographer’s holiday wish list.

Jon Sienkiewicz  |  Feb 02, 2017  |  0 comments

Unless you’re completely new to photography, you’ve heard about Lensbaby, the marvelously creative series of lenses that are best described as intentionally unsharp and stuffed with almost every imaginable aberration and distortion. The Lensbaby Trio 28 is the latest model, and it has a secret. 

Jon Sienkiewicz  |  Aug 17, 2017  |  0 comments

The Lensbaby Twist 60 is a very modern rendition of a 175-year-old optical design, and true to the designer, Joseph Petzval. But does it satisfy our creative expectations when used in the field?

Joe Farace  |  May 06, 2015  |  0 comments

I’ve been writing about and playing with—emphasis on play—Lensbaby lenses since they were introduced in 2004 and ten years later they’re still coming up with new ideas. All their products, including the Medium Format 3G with "Marvin the Martian"-like antennae, have been interesting and the new Lensbaby Velvet 56 portrait lens not only looks like fun but appears to be the most practical Lensbaby product ever.

George Schaub  |  Sep 15, 2011  |  First Published: Aug 01, 2011  |  0 comments

Having shot with numerous Lensbaby products over the past years I’ve almost grown accustomed to their ingenious approach to image-making tools and the equally ingenious way in which they approach product design. I do have to admit that one area in which I took less advantage than I might have was in aperture control and how that affected depth of field in my Lensbaby shots, more from laziness or simply forgetting about changing the aperture inserts as I got involved in the shoot. (For those who have not shot with Lensbaby optics you lift in and drop out, via supplied magnetic wand, the various aperture rings corresponding to the diameter of the desired aperture for the optic in use.) Now, this impediment to getting the most from the optics (admittedly, again, my own) is removed with their latest product, the Sweet 35 Optic.

Jon Sienkiewicz  |  Nov 26, 2015  |  1 comments

As a lover of all things unsharp, I was eager to get my mitts on a Petzval 85mm portrait lens. When I saw it at Photo Plus Expo here in New York, it was under glass, gleaming like a gilded idol. The fine folks at Lomography were kind enough to loan me a sample. What follows is my report. 

Joe Farace  |  Jul 26, 2016  |  0 comments

We all know nature and wildlife photographers need long focal length lenses but they’re not the only ones who need a longer-than-normal lens. While the only wildlife I have photographed are the mule deer who treat my backyard like it’s their backyard, I’ve photographed a racing car from time to time and that’s when a telephoto or long zoom lens comes to the rescue.

Stan Trzoniec  |  Aug 01, 2006  |  0 comments

My first macro lens was the popular Nikon 60mm Micro-Nikkor. Good move, I thought, as the 60mm focal length could double as an all-purpose lens for a variety of assignments. Trouble is, when I started to get into more and more 1:1 (life-size) work, I only had 21/2" of working space between the front of the lens and my subject. The 105mm was next, sharp as a tack but again...

Joe Farace  |  Aug 01, 2007  |  0 comments

At PMA 2007 Lensbabies introduced the medium format version of its third-generation selective focus lens for Mamiya 645 and Pentax 67 cameras. That's right kiddies, it's a new lens that's engineered for use with medium format film (remember that stuff?) cameras.

The optic in the Medium Format Lensbaby 3G produces the same effects as the optic in...

Ron Leach  |  Sep 05, 2017  |  0 comments

We often turn to Weird Lens Guru Mathieu Stern for interesting tips on bargain vintage lenses that that can be adapted for use with today’s modern mirrorless digital cameras. Best yet, you can often pick up some awesome glass for chump change and the adapters are very inexpensive.

Dan Havlik  |  Sep 25, 2014  |  0 comments

Here’s a little more photo gear news we didn’t fully get to in our comprehensive photokina coverage last week. Third-party lens manufacturers Sigma and Tamron both made waves at the show by announcing intriguing new zoom lenses.

Dan Havlik  |  Sep 12, 2017  |  1 comments

Nikon launched an intriguing new lens this summer though you might have missed it. For whatever reason, the AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm F/4.5-5.6E ED VR, which was announced the second week of July, slipped under most photographers’ radar and that’s a shame. I recently had a chance to test out this surprisingly lightweight and compact wide-ranging zoom lens from Nikon while shooting with it from the field level press area at a Major League Baseball game and came away impressed.

Stan Trzoniec  |  Oct 01, 2015  |  0 comments

It took a while, but I finally saw some light at the end of the tunnel. For years, I’ve wanted to upgrade from my AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR that I’ve been sharing with my wife. I use the lightweight and portable Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G on my trusty Nikon D2X DSLR and she uses it with her Nikon D90 during longer photo trips when bringing minimal gear is essential. For shorter forays, the super sharp Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 is my go-to lens, especially when shooting landscapes.

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