Artistic photographers rejoice! You can now create awesome photos with the Lensbaby Composer Pro II that features selective focus.
Lensbaby creates effect lenses for photographers that love creative and unique images. For seven years now, they’ve been making ‘selective focus’ lenses for cameras that produce a tilt-shift effect. Using the Lensbaby Composer Pro II you can enhance your creativity allowing you to bring into focus only what matters.
Tilt-Shift photography is a technique where a photograph of a life-size location, taken at a certain angle, is made to look like an image of a miniature setting. This is done through selective focus and contrast resulting in a photograph with shallow depth of field and high color saturation. This technique is best used on buildings, trains, cars and urban places in general.
Selective focus is mostly used for subject studies, to move the viewer’s eyes to a subject and create a certain aesthetic when viewing the subject in the context of its blurred but recognizable surroundings. Lensbaby is the leading manufacturer of this type of lens and their passion for creative photography shows through their extensive product lineup.
Thanks to the great guys at Lensbaby we were able to get our hands on one of these babies to try out and give our real life review. We got the Lensbaby Composer II with Edge 50mm Optic that comes with a Canon mount but there’s also support for all the other major brands out there (Nikon F, Sony E, Sony A, Fuji X, Micro 4/3, Pentax K and Samsung NX).
Since we played with the lens and tested all its features, we are giving it away to one of you. Priced at $399 USD, this is going to be a huge Giveaway so we will be looking to get quite a few entries. Share this giveaway with your friends and family and receive extra chances to win.
Body & Design
The Lensbaby Composer Pro II with Edge 50mm Optic is a quality metal and plastic bodied tilt lens that looks as professional as a brand name lens. In hand, it feels solid with a nice weight to it even though the lens body swivels and tilts.
All the body elements are assembled tightly starting with the Canon DSLR mount that doesn’t feature any contacts to the camera body so you can’t get any lens-related EXIF data. The base of the ball features two metallic rings that adjust the amount of movement to the swivel. Above we see the focal adjustment metal that’s easy to grip but also smooth and precise in operation. Then we get to the aperture ring that has click stops at full-stop intervals and the whole detachable optic swap system that allows you to change lenses within the barrel. The diaphragm itself looks great thanks to its circular 9-bladed design.
The lens comes branded with the company logo above the focal ring and on the aperture ring. It also features all the markings for the adjustments in the lens.
When looking at the packaging of the Lensbaby Composer Pro II you get a sense of what’s the intended use for it. The green of the box along with a nature photo tell you that this lens works best outdoors and on large landscapes. It does well in macro photography too and close-ups. On the back of the box, you get all the info you need about the product inside. Included with the lens you get a soft carrying pouch, a sticker, and the user manuals.
The Composer Pro II with Edge 50mm Optic features a slice of focus effect, an optic swap system with 50mm focal length, a f/3.2 aperture and manual focus, a 15° angle of tilt and a weight of 10oz. The lens features 8 elements in 6 groups with a diaphragm composed of 9 blades.
Lensbaby was quick to deliver us the sample so we didn’t have to wait too long for it. As soon as it arrived, we started unboxing it and prepared the camera for the new lens. Right out of the box, the Composer Pro II comes with front and back caps and a microfiber carrying pouch that protects it when not in use.
We have the Canon mount on the lens so it fits perfectly with our Canon 70D. The Composer Pro II is smaller in size so it does make the camera body look larger than normal. Being small means that it’s also light so it doesn’t add too much weight to your setup. This is a manual only lens as you need to adjust the focal length, the aperture, and tilt the lens to shift the focus. After all, that’s what makes every photo unique, the possibility to experiment on the spot with your subject and not have to do this in post after the shot is taken.
If you’ve never toyed with a tilt shift lens, we can tell you now, it’s gonna be fun. Having control over the focus area, and the way you have to interact with the lenses body in order to shift the focus makes it a one of a kind photographic experience. Though this is an effect many of us are used to creating in post-production, having a lens that was made specifically for that is even better because you now know exactly how the end product is gonna look like.
The image quality thanks to the Edge 50mm Optics is great and the colors are impressive. This is the kind of lens that you’ll either love or hate. It allows you to experiment, and also to think a little outside the box by adding the extra focus shift that will transform almost all scenes into a more dynamic photography.
A downside to this camera is the focus, more exactly the lack of autofocus. Every shot that you’ll take will require you to manually choose your focus area, meaning that you’ll have to experiment a lot before you get the hang of it and get good results. But this shouldn’t scare you, like any products on the market, there is a learning curve that you have to follow before mastering it. After all, this is a full frame, completely manual lens.
We think that the Lensbaby Composer Pro II with Edge 50mm Optic is for all the photographers that want to create images that are creative and have a raw aesthetic to them while at the same time, manage to bring in attention certain elements of the photograph. For more information and the rest of the Lensbaby product lineup head on over to their website.
Examples taken with the Composer Pro II with Edge 50mm
Photo Credit: Caroline Jensen
Photo Credit: Hilary Freed