Lensbaby Composer – Featured User Review

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Lensbaby Composer - Featured User Review The Lensbaby Composer is a unique digital SLR lens. The effect isn’t for everyone and as a result people either love it or hate it. I liked this user review by thecounsel, because he loves the Lensbaby Composer and gives plenty of details about why. If you’ve got a Lensbaby lens, please share your experience by writing a review. Reviews by community members are the foundation of PhotographyREVIEW.com.

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Featured Review: Lensbaby Composer Lens

by thecounsel (Intermediate)

Price Paid: $270.00 from Lensbaby.com
Review Date: May 4, 2010
Used product for: 3 Months to 1 year

Overall Rating: 5 of 5
Value Rating: 4 of 5

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.

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.

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!

Similar Products Used:

Customer Service:
Great from my experience. They have one rep that actually answers her phone, and handles what you need.

Related Content:
All Lensbaby Lens User Reviews
All Lens User Reviews
Digital SLR Forum
All Featured User Reviews
Lensbaby Web Site

About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of PhotographyREVIEW.com and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

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