Today, Lensbaby is announcing a new product. It’s called the Edge 80. It’s part of the Lensbaby Optic Swap system. It’s an 80mm f/2.8 flat field optic that offers the look and feel of a tilt/shift lens minus the shift/perspective correction.)
The new optic works with the Lensbaby Composer Pro (my personal favorite) or the Composer, Muse, Scout and Control Freak. Think of Lensbaby lenses as cameras and the optics that work with them as lenses. You mount the Composer Pro and then an optic. In this case, the Edge 80.
The new optic brings the full spectrum of special effects to the Lensbaby system. With everything from soft focus, to pinhole, to fisheye and the stuff in between, the Edge 80 offers a tilt/shift like effect that nicely rounds out the system.
It takes some getting used to at first. I recommend just trying to shoot and focus with the lens head on to get familiar with it. You get a completely flat field of focus that way. You can also bend it to create vertical, horizontal and diagonal slices of focus through the image. It’s much harder to write about than it is to do.
If you want to see it in action I highly recommend that you visit the Lensbaby site and look at their Lensbaby Edge 80 simulator. It not only makes this easier to understand, it’s fun.
In practice it’s pretty straight forward to use. You can stop down from f/2.8 to get different slices of the T/S effect. The smaller the aperture the wider the slice. One very nifty (and handy) feature is the ability to close focus the lens at 19 inches. You simply pull out the lens barrel and you have a close focus distance that allows lots of very cool, creative special effects with the Edge 80.
The Edge 80 is available with the Composer Pro in mounts for Canon EF (EOS), Nikon F, Sony Alpha A / Minolta Maxxum, Pentax K / Samsung GX / Sigma SD, Olympus 4/3 cameras.
Edge 80 Optic Product Specs:
Focal Length: 80mm
12-blade internal aperture, controlled by a dial on the front of the optic
Aperture range from f/2.8 through f/22
Flat field of focus optic (when tilted, creates a slice of sharp focus, bordered by blur)
Compatible with Lensbaby Composer Pro, Composer, Muse, Scout and Control Freak lens bodies*
Minimum focusing distance: approximately 17 when the optic is extended forward in close focus mode and fully tilted
Maximum focusing distance: Infinity
5 multi-coated glass elements, in four groups
46mm front threads**
* The Edge 80 Optic is not compatible with the Composer with Tilt Transformer for Micro 4/3rds and Sony NEX Cameras.
** The Edge 80 Optic is not compatible with current 37mm Lensbaby accessories.
The Lensbaby Edge 80 Optic is available for $300 (MSRP) from www.lensbaby.com, and Lensbaby-authorized photo specialty stores worldwide.
I was lucky enough to receive an advance sample of this new optic from Lensbaby. I haven’t had that much time to play with it but so far, I really like what I see. While you could argue that all these effects are available in post via various plug-ins, there’s nothing like being able to see it in the field.
It probably seems a little expensive to some of you but once you use it, I think you’ll agree it is worth it.
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