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  1. #1
    hoffy's Avatar
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    Anyone using a Lensbaby?

    Greetings all,

    Recently I have been thinking of getting a Lensbaby of some description to use on one of my 35mm rigs. At this stage, it would more than likely have to be for my Minolta AF setup (so, heavens forbid, I can also use them on my Pixel Exciter).

    Anyhow, I have been looking at the range and must admit there is a tad more choice available now then a few years ago!

    Does anyone here use a Lensbaby? Can anyone give me first-hand experience of using these lenses and lens bodies on a Film camera? Is it worth while getting the more modern gimbal type designs as opposed to the older bellows?

    While what I have seen has been digital centric, I do think that they would work really well on 35mm film as well

    Cheers

  2. #2
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    No. I looked at one. Then I moved on.
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  3. #3
    winger's Avatar
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    I haven't tried them, but I've heard that they're fun to play with, but they don't always do what you hope they will (won't replace a tilt/shift, for example). If you're looking for a not-quite-one-trick-pony, I guess they'd be on the list. Though I've thought about getting one of the ones that'll fit Pentax. Not every model fits all brands, IIRC.

  4. #4
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    I bought one used on eBay and used it for a few months. I didn't like it so I resold it in eBay. I didn't like the smeary look. I sought the look of a Petzval lens. Go to flicker for some samples.
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
    Aaron Chang

  5. #5
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    You can try to hold up a lens to the camera without mounting and shoot, I think people call it free lensing to get the same effect. I think there are also tutorials to make them out of a spare lens and toilet plunger for a few bucks. id try that route before actually buying a product which may create an effect Id only use a few times.

  6. #6
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    -----------------------

    "Well, my photos are actually much better than they look..."

    Richard S.
    Albany, CA (San Francisco bay area)

    My Flickr River of photographs
    http://flickriver.com/photos/rich815...r-interesting/

    My Photography Website
    http://www.lightshadowandtone.com

  7. #7
    hoffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newt_on_Swings View Post
    You can try to hold up a lens to the camera without mounting and shoot, I think people call it free lensing to get the same effect. I think there are also tutorials to make them out of a spare lens and toilet plunger for a few bucks. id try that route before actually buying a product which may create an effect Id only use a few times.
    Thanks - That indeed might be worth while trying. I have a few lenses at home that would be suitable donors. I could possibly also get away with an enlarger lens as well

    Cheers

  8. #8
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    Or do as I did and buy it used from those who do not like it. Got mine for about $35 on eBay a few years ago.
    -----------------------

    "Well, my photos are actually much better than they look..."

    Richard S.
    Albany, CA (San Francisco bay area)

    My Flickr River of photographs
    http://flickriver.com/photos/rich815...r-interesting/

    My Photography Website
    http://www.lightshadowandtone.com

  9. #9
    Nathan Riehl's Avatar
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    I have a Scout with the 12mm fisheye. It's fantastic. I shot my final assignment for my B/W class with it on my N2020.
    Check out my website!

    Yashica T4, Yashica Electro 35 GTN, Yashica-D.

  10. #10

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    I have a Lensbaby 2.0 Muse in Nikon mount with the doublet glass optic and the soft-focus flat-field optic. I also eventually got the closeup kit, tele extender and wide angle adapter. Sometime soon, I suspect that I'll get the new 80mm f/2.8 flat-field optic.

    I quite enjoy using mine; I find that the restrictions and modifications that it provides represent a useful framework within which to work, some resistance against which to struggle. It's more like a Stratocaster than a Les Paul. It doesn't suit every subject, of course. The surface pseudo-profundity ("ooh, shallow DOF! exaggerated blur and subject isolation!") of the "sweet-spot" effect is itself a challenge, daring the photographer to go beyond the obvious and clichéd and find a way to use the effect to legitimately enhance the photo. I find this to cause me to spend more time looking at aspects of my imagery that I otherwise mightn't, and honestly some of my favorite photos have been taken with the Lensbaby. I'm sure that's just because I'm a lousy photographer, so don't get excited.

    I also like the organic feeling of the Muse's accordion/bellows focusing. There's an immediacy to it that I like. The doublet optic is not a replacement for a 50mm f/1.8 Nikkor in any respect. It's not meant to be. The spherical aberration off-axis is deliberate and heavy. You can control it with aperture. It's not subtle. If you're thinking it's a poor man's T/S system, keep looking. This is an effect, a deliberate and controlled distortion. Some folks hate it. The BBC engineers who first tried recording Hendrix spent hours trying to get rid of the distortion in his guitar. Some folks hate Hendrix. Me, I like my Lensbaby. Probably means I'm an unimaginative photographer who can't differentiate between gimmickry and meaning. I should just use Instagram on my iPhone and leave the real photographers alone.

    As for gimbal vs. bellows, it's simple: tripod or not? The Muse (bellows) is useless on a tripod. It has no purpose other than handheld. The ball version is probably somewhat usable handheld (never tried one), but is essential for tripod use. I love using my Muse for close work - I've been known to put it on an inch or so of extension tube and get some really nice results. Of course, it's just a gimmick and "nice" as far as my work goes is about equivalent to the first-culled crap from a real photographer. I suggest you avoid the LensBaby like a Day-Glo Holga TLR. Save your money, get a Leica. They have very little distortion, and what they do have is really really special and actually does improve your photographs.

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