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What is a Lensbaby and why you should consider one - The Photography Express

What is a Lensbaby and why you should consider one

Photo Credit: Kiifu Added text by ThePhotographyExpress

Photo Credit: Kiifu Added text by ThePhotographyExpress

Have you ever ran out of creative juice in photography? I know I did sometimes. To counter this situation I usually read photography blogs or went to Flickr for new inspirations. I even used Pinterest on my phone for some quick ideas when I was out on the road. But what happen if you are in the middle of a photo shoot and you suddenly have a blank mind? Well, it is time for Lensbaby! In this post I’ve summarized my experience with Lensbaby and answered some of the most common questions I got during my photography  journey. So here we go!

What is a Lensbaby?

Interesting name right? Is this a brand or a new photography term? In summary, Lensbaby is a line of lens that gives you selective focus with great bokeh effect. In English, Lensbaby is a lens that once you mount it on the camera you can adjust the angle of the Lensbaby to where you want to focus. Everything else will be blurry except the area you focused in the photo.

You may wonder who would want to use Lensbaby? Photo is all about sharpness right and who would want a blurry photo? It even looks like a plastic toy and only amateur photographers would like to use it. I have the same thought at the beginning but don’t underestimate the power of Lensbaby. Many professional photographers and wedding photographers now use Lensbaby as their creative lens. Overall, this is a Lens to go when you want to stand out from the crowd with photo creativity.

What effect does the Lensbaby do exactly?

It is kind of hard to explain a picture in words so I’ve attached a few pictures I took for your reference.

I took this shot in the parking lot next to a shopping mall. With a lensbaby you can really get great photos anywhere.

I took this shot in the parking lot next to a shopping mall. With a lensbaby you can really get great photos anywhere.

I saw these two heart shape leaves at a park near where I live. Then I focused my lensbaby to those leaves and it came out to be a great shot! One of my favorite.

I saw these two heart shape leaves at a park near where I live. Then I focused my lensbaby to those leaves and it came out to be a great shot! One of my favorite.

This is a pedestrian bridge in the middle of a park. I focused towards the end of the bridge to show the great bokeh effect of Lensbaby. This is my most favorite shot with this lens.

This is a pedestrian bridge in the middle of a park. I focused towards the end of the bridge to show the great bokeh effect of Lensbaby. This is my favorite shot with my Lensbaby Composer.

I saw two couples walking down the part and it took me 2 seconds to get this shot. 1 second used to focused on the road and the last second to press the shutter button. Not bad right!

I saw this couple walking down the park and it only took me 2 seconds to get this shot. 1 second was used to focus the couple and the last second to press the shutter button. Not bad right!

What are the pros and cons of Lensbaby?

Advantages:

1)You get the focus and bokeh like no other lens.

2)You get instant creativity.

3)You get to start out Macro photography for under $50 dollars (more details below).

Disadvantages

1)It takes time to practice to get the focus right.

2)You need to manually change aperture.

3)Fixed focal length.

What are the different types of Lensbaby?

You can check out my resources page for more details but here is the summary of the different types of Lensbaby:

Composer Pro

This Lensbaby comes with either a 50mm or a 35mm optical glass. It’s built on a ball and socket system so that photographers can select the focus on a tilted plane. I highly suggest this Lensbaby for all photographers even if this is the first one you start out with. One of the most important feature is that you DON’T need to squeeze and hold the lens for the focus point.

Lensbaby composer pro

Spark

This is the newest line of the Lensbaby. It has a fix f5.6 aperture and you will need to hold the lens to the angle that you want to focus when you press the shutter release button. This this is the lowest price Lensbaby available on the market.

Lensbaby spark

Muse

Similar to Spark this lens requires the photographer to hold the focus by squeezing and bending the lens. The only difference is the MUSE comes with a double glass optics.

Lensbaby MUSE

Scout

This is the fisheye version of Lensbaby with fixed focal length.

Lensbaby Scout

Lensbaby creative aperture kit

The apertures disks allow you to get various bokeh shapes in your photos. Any out of focus area will have the shape you used in the lens. For example you put a heart shape aperture disk in the Lensbaby, all the out of focus areas will now have hearts in it!

Lensbaby creative aperture kit

Lensbaby macro kit

I love macro photography and the Lensbaby macro kit allows you to enter this field without the high price. All you need is to screw in the lens in front of your Lensbaby to get macro features. Please note this does not work in all types of Lensbaby so please do the proper research before buying.

Lensbaby macro kit

Lastly, why should you consider a Lensbaby?

1) You cannot replicate the Lensbaby effect in Lightroom or Photoshop. Even if you can it doesn’t look organic.

2) Sometimes you just want to take picture without thinking about aperture, shutter speed, composition and tuning the sweet spot.

3) You feel GREAT when people ask how you did that in Photoshop, you simply reply this photo is straight out of my memory card!

4) You enjoy the process of playing and experimenting different effects. The whole world is a creative playground with Lensbaby.

5) You can create custom aperture to take great pictures day and night.

What do you think about the Lensbaby? Do you have any experience with it? Which model did you get? Share them below!

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About Gary

A passionate photographer with goals to fulfill your photography passion and motivate you to take pictures even when life is busy!

18 comments

  1. Thank you for more wonderful info! I’ve heard about Lensbaby but never really looked into one, they look amazing!

    • Thanks Heather and you’re right it’s an amazing lens. Sometimes I use the Lensbaby more than my 24-105mm when I go travel.

  2. Thanks for the info, I’ve been wanting to try a Lensbaby for awhile now, maybe it’s the time to do so!

    • Hi Natalie and welcome to my blog! Yes Lensbaby is so fun and sometimes it’s so addictive that you don’t want to change back to the regular lens. Definitely try it out and show me some pictures!

  3. Thanks for the info, Gary! I have never really considered a lens baby, but now I want one really badly! ha!

    • You are welcome Caroljean! I really think the Lensbaby is a great buy it worth every penny. Let me know what you think after you tried I can’t wait to hear it!

  4. I had no idea this existed! Thank you for sharing!

    • Thanks Eden and you’re welcome 🙂 I will definitely post more cool ideas/tools when I discover more. Please come back often!

  5. Gah! You are just fuelling my want for a lensbaby lens even more! Great article 🙂

    • Thank you very much Christine. I hope one day this blog will even fuel each of our passion on fire in photography! Expect more great articles to come!

  6. 7 years of doing full-time photography and I still haven’t tried one! You’ve convinced me.

    • Thanks Arica and it is always so fulfilling to see people get inspired from my blog. It’s how it keeps me going everyday! Please let me know if you have any questions about Lensbaby. If you happens to buy one show me some picutres I’d love to see them!

  7. Great post about the lensbaby! You shared some really great images too. I’d love to own one someday.

    • Thanks Melanie and welcome to my blog! Lensbaby is so fun to take pictures with and hopefully you will get one soon! Let’s share some lensbaby pictures to the photography express community when you have a chance!

  8. I will definitely try this. Sounds interesting…………..now the cost ha ha ha

    • Hi Fred thanks for stopping by! Yes Lensbaby is so fun and I understand about the cost too! I’ve got mine for almost 4 years and I’ve never regret buying it. Even when newer models came out I still feel the Lensbaby composer (older version) that I have is still the best. Hope you can overcome the cost hurdle one day. Let me know if you need any help.