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Lensbaby Composer 35mm Primes

4.25 star rating
                      4.25 / 5 (4 Reviews)
MSRP : $270.00

Product Description

With the Composer, Lensbaby introduces a completely new lens, based on a ball and socket configuration that delivers smooth selective focus photography with unparalleled ease. Photographers simply tilt the lens to a desired angle and then focus with a manual focusing ring. The Composer stays in the desired bent position without requiring a locking mechanism and features the new Lensbaby Optic Swap System.

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Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by thecounsel a Intermediate

Date Reviewed: May 4, 2010

Strengths:    Light, easy to use, and most importantly fun. This lens really has you look outside of your usual box. The ability to swap our the glass is great....I hope more options are released, since their fairly cheap. The ability to tighten the ball joint makes it much easier, and faster to get the shots you want rather then messing with bellows and screws. I'm sure the control freak has something over the composer, but I'm not sure what it is. That probably explains why the composer seems to be the most popular. The wide angle attachment is nice for backing you up to about 20mm from the 50mm that the lens starts with. Bending results in a very distorted image with heavy vignetting, so which category this goes in depends on what you want. The macro attachment (+14) gets you real close...like 2-3" close. Nice if you want to get that close. I've got the macro kit on the way for when I don't.

Weaknesses:    Some kind of cpu system would be great, but probably very hard...and expensive to put in this kind of lens. Hell, it's not that much of a con if it forces me to learn manual exposure better. Moving on. A built in aperture system would also be nice. Swapping discs can slow you down, and it's one more thing....well several more things to lose. It could be cheaper. The only other con is that this thing can be very addictive!

Bottom Line:   
I'm not sure how I got turned on to the lensbaby, but the more images I saw that one was used with, the more I wanted one. Probably the most elemental feature of the Composer, and all newer models is the optic swap system, as these have a significant amount of influence over your final image beyond the selective focus. I personally have the double glass, single glass, and plastic optics. All have their place, but I think the single glass is my favorite as you get some softness, and some chromatic aberrations (the kind you want). The plastic is fun...very soft, and can get all kinds of light artifacts. The double glass is the standard, and is nice and sharp in the sweet spot. In all honesty, it is very easy to achieve a lensbaby effect with some radial blur and a circular gradient mask in pp, but this only works well if your attempting to simulate a shot with the double glass. The composer it's self is very easy to use. It's light weight, but feels sturdy, and you can dial in how much friction you want on the ball joint, so you don't have to use both hands to manipulate it. Setting your aperture depends on what size magnetic disk you have in the optic. The level of effect that you get out of your optic, as well as the size of sweet spot depends on your aperture. Wide open gives you great effects, but can be tricky to get your sweet spot...using one certainly seems to take practice.
I almost forgot about the accessories. Macro, wide angle, and telephoto options are available. I have the wide angle/ macro. Each does what it should, but can be somewhat limited.

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Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

Price Paid:    $270.00

Purchased At:   Lensbaby.com

Similar Products Used:   None.

Type of photography:   Other

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:2
Submitted by mjs1973 a Intermediate

Date Reviewed: September 8, 2009

Strengths:    Fun and creative lens to play with
Optical swap system allows for versatility
Easy to lock in place

Weaknesses:    Images are too 'trippy' for my taste
Changing aperture a bit of a hassle
Focus ring could be stiffer
Too expensive for 'toy' lens
Wish it focused closer

Bottom Line:   
I have been kicking around the idea of getting a Lensbaby ever since the first version came out. I finally pulled the trigger on the Composer. The ball and socket design seemed to be the most user friendly Lensbaby to date.

Overall I like the lens and had a lot of fun playing with it. It only took me a few outings to realize that the Composer just wasn't for me. I found the effect to be a little too "trippy" for my tastes. I have seen some very nice, creative images created using this lens, but after using it a few times, I realized that I don't particularly enjoy making those types of images. As a result, I am returning my Composer. My returning the lens has nothing to do with the performance or build quality of the lens. It has everything to do with knowing that I paid almost $300 for a lens that I feel I will rarely use, and that creates images that I don't really want to make. For others this could be a very low price to pay for a great creative tool. It just isn't for me.

Overall I like the design of the Composer. I found it was pretty easy to use although I did find it hard to get anything in sharp focus once I would tilt the lens. Being able to lock the lens once you have it where you want it was very easy. I set the locking ring on mine so that it was a little stiffer to move and that I wouldn't have to lock it down all the time. This seemed to work fine.

I felt that the focusing ring could be a little stiffer. The focus would change easily while trying to tilt the lens. Changing aperture was simple to do for the most part, but more of a pain in the butt than I would like to deal with in the field. I found myself putting in an aperture disc at home, then just sticking with that ring for the entire outing. This wouldn't be a big deal working in a studio.

I found myself a little frustrated that the Composer didn't focus closer. I found myself having to back up farther than I wanted to in order to get a flower in focus. I did use the wide angle/macro converter that I got free from Lensbaby and that did help a bit. The WA/Macro adapter would also cause severe vignetting on one side when tilting the composer too far to one side.

I view this lens like I view a fisheye lens. You can create some very unique images with it, but a little goes a long way. I wouldn't want to look at an entire book of fisheye photos, and I don't want to see an entire portfolio of Lensbaby images. One or two here and there are fine and for the price, I can't justify keeping this lens to only use once in a while.

I do think the Composer is a good product but it's not a practical lens for what I want to do with my photography. If you like these types of images I think the Composer would treat you well. For me and my photography style, I will stick with a more traditional look.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2-5 years

Price Paid:    $270.00

Purchased At:   B&H

Similar Products Used:   none

Type of photography:   Outdoor

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by BearWoodsDavid a Professional

Date Reviewed: May 8, 2009

Strengths:    Easy to change optics. Fast focusing, and easy to "bend". Locks in place for landscapes and HDR work.

Weaknesses:    Would like it to focus closer.

Bottom Line:   
The Composer is the best of the Lensbaby line thus far. It offers the smoothest transition from traditional lenses to the Lensbaby. It is quick and easy to bend and focus. The new optic swap system is very easy to use.

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Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $270.00

Purchased At:   Lensbaby.com

Similar Products Used:   Lensbaby 3G.

Type of photography:   Outdoor

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by jmurphpix a Professional

Date Reviewed: May 5, 2009

Strengths:    The lens is easy to focus and it isn't stiff. The new composer styling allows you to easily and quickly move the lens where you want it.

Weaknesses:    Changing out the aperture ring takes time but doesn't get in the way of work flow or creativity.

Bottom Line:   
I'm having a great time with my new Lensbaby composer! The lens has made we take a second look at the way I approach my photography and it has opened up creative channels I haven't used for a while.

I don't have much experience with previous models but I think a huge plus is being able to move the lens in any direction without having to deal with screws and stiff controls.

Can't wait to use it more with the different aperture rings to explore the different sweet spots the lens offers. I would highly recommend buying this lens whether you are a professional photographer or an amateur. It's just plain fun!

Here's a sample: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmurphpix/3506383530/

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Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

Price Paid:    $260.00

Type of photography:   People

Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)

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The Composer

I got a new toy today. A LensBaby Composer. I have kicked around the idea of getting a LensBaby ever since the original came out, and finally decided to pull the trigger on the Composer. Here are a few shots pics from my first outing with it. Looks like it's going to be a fun lens to play with, ... Read More »

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