Lensbaby has announced the addition of Fisheye and Soft Focus lenses to its Optic Swap system, offering focal lengths of 12mm and 50mm respectively. Both are compatible with Lensbaby's Composer and Muse body units; Soft Focus can also be used with the Control Freak. The lenses both use Lensbaby's familiar removable disk aperture system, although unlike earlier optics, they do not feature a 'sweet spot' of focus. The Fisheye optic is now available for $149.95, while the Soft Focus Optic is $89.95.

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Press Release:

Lensbaby® Announces Two New Optics


New additions to the Lensbaby Optic Swap System expand a photographer’s creative possibilities

New York, NY, (October 22, 2009) – Lensbaby announces today the addition of the new Fisheye Optic and Soft Focus Optic to the Lensbaby Optic Swap System. Each new optic is available for use with the Lensbaby Composer® and Muse®*.  In addition, the Soft Focus Optic is compatible with the Lensbaby Control Freak™.

“With the introduction of these new optics, Lensbaby is moving beyond the realm of selective focus to offer photographers a Creative Effects SLR lens system, with 6 different optic options. The Fisheye and Soft Focus Optics, unlike earlier Lensbaby optics, do not feature a sweet spot of focus,” said Craig Strong, Lensbaby President and Co-Founder. “The new Fisheye Optic transforms a Lensbaby Composer into a fun fisheye lens and the new Soft Focus Optic creates images that are overall soft and diffused, much like a classic Imagon portrait lens. The Lensbaby Optic Swap System now offers three selective focus optics, and three optics that provide even more options for creative photography.”

About the Lensbaby Fisheye Optic
The new Lensbaby Fisheye Optic allows photographers to turn their Lensbaby Composer or Muse into a fisheye lens by swapping out the installed optic and dropping the new Fisheye Optic into the lens. This optic’s six element multi-coated optical design features an ultra-wide 12mm focal length capable of capturing a 160 degree fisheye angle of view from infinity all the way down to one-inch from the front of the lens.

The Lensbaby Fisheye Optic features a system of interchangeable aperture disks, with possible aperture settings ranging from f/4 to f/22.  To change the aperture, users unscrew the top element of the Fisheye Optic and replace the aperture disk using the included Aperture Tool.

Due to the extremely wide angle field of view, photographers who use a full-frame camera will generally see a black circle around almost the entire image, and smaller APS-sized sensor shooters will see black at the corners of their images. This black edge is typical for standard fisheye lenses. However, the Lensbaby Fisheye Optic features a creative lens flare effect that causes the edge areas that would ordinarily be black to glow with color whenever there are bright light sources in the image. The Fisheye Optic lens flare effect is particularly apparent when shooting with a full frame camera.

The Fisheye Optic is different than previous Lensbaby optics, with a much flatter field of focus than the Double Glass, Single Glass, and Plastic Optics. The images created by the Fisheye Optic are sharp throughout the image at darker apertures.  While the Fisheye Optic creates some edge blur at brighter apertures, it does not feature the Sweet Spot of sharp focus and dramatic blur that are trademarks of the Double Glass, Single Glass, and Plastic Optics. Instead of bending the lens, photographers typically will point their Lensbaby straight ahead to achieve a classic fisheye look.

The Lensbaby Fisheye Optic is available immediately for $149.95 (MSRP). 

Fisheye Optic Product Specs:

  • Focal Length: 12mm
  • Six element multi-coated optical design
  • f/4 optic with aperture disks that range from f/5.6 to f/22
  • Focuses from one inch to infinity
  • Removable disk aperture system
  • To change aperture, unscrew top element of Fisheye Optic and remove with Aperture Tool.  The aperture disk sits atop the bottom element
  • Special adapter must be purchased for use with Muse.  The Fisheye Optic is not recommended for use with the Control Freak

About the Lensbaby Soft Focus Optic
The Lensbaby Soft Focus Optic works with Lensbaby’s Creative Effects SLR camera lenses, the Composer, Muse and Control Freak.  Images created with the 50mm focal length Soft Focus Optic feature a soft and diffused appearance. The Soft Focus Optic’s multi-coated optical glass doublet creates a much flatter field of focus than previous Lensbaby optics, making this optic well-suited for a variety of soft focus applications. This new optic does not have the Sweet Spot of sharp focus and dramatic blur outside of that spot created by the Double Glass, Single Glass, and Plastic Optics.

The Soft Focus Optic features Lensbaby’s magnetic disk aperture system. In addition to the standard round aperture disks for f/2 to f/22, the Soft Focus Optic also comes with three special soft focus multi-hole apertures that combine one large opening over the optic's sharp center with small openings over the optic's soft edges.  This hole pattern creates a sharp underlying image with a soft overlay.  Users can stack the soft focus apertures together or with standard Lensbaby apertures to vary the amount and appearance of the softness. In addition, the multi-hole apertures have the ability to create out-of-focus highlights that take on the shape of the aperture holes, further enhancing creativity.  When using the Soft Focus Optic, photographers typically point the lens straight ahead to achieve a classic soft focus look.

The Lensbaby Soft Focus Optic is available immediately for $89.95 (MSRP).

Soft Focus Optic Product Specs:

  • Focal Length: 50mm
  • Multi-coated optical glass doublet
  • f/2 optic with aperture disks that range from f/2.8 to f/22
  • Creates images that are overall soft and diffuse
  • Much flatter field of focus than other Lensbaby optics. Suited for variety of soft focus applications such as portrait, landscape, urban, and botanical photography
  • Magnetic disk aperture system
  • Degree of softness can be controlled by changing the special apertures, or stacking them with regular Lensbaby aperture disks
  • With the soft focus multi-hole apertures, bright, out-of-focus points of light take on the hole pattern's shape.  Photographers can control this creative effect by using standard Lensbaby apertures or choosing a low contrast background.

About the Lensbaby Optic Swap System
The Lensbaby Optic Swap System now features six interchangeable optics that can be swapped in and out of Lensbaby’s Creative Effects SLR Camera lenses, the Muse, the Composer, and the Control Freak. Each optic creates a different type of creative image, giving photographers unlimited freedom to achieve their unique artistic vision.  The Double Glass, Single Glass, and Plastic Optics have a curved field of focus that allows the photographer to control depth of field in a unique way by creating a Sweet Spot of sharp focus that is surrounded by beautiful blur.  The other 3 optic options, Fisheye, Soft Focus, and Pinhole/Zone plate all feature a flat field of focus and create distinctive looks.

*A special adapter is required to use the Fisheye Optic with the Lensbaby Muse. The Fisheye Optic is not recommended for use with the Lensbaby Control Freak.

Additional images

Fisheye Optic

Soft Focus Optic

Samples

Photo taken with the Lensbaby Fisheye Optic
© Tony Sweet

Photo taken with the Lensbaby Fisheye Optic
© Craig Strong

Photo taken with the Lensbaby Fisheye Optic
© Craig Strong

Photo taken with the Lensbaby Soft Focus Optic
© David Morel

Photo taken with the Lensbaby Soft Focus Optic
© Kirsten Hunter