Lensbaby has announced the Sol 45, a lens aimed at photographers new to the Lensbaby lineup. The Sol 45 is a fixed F3.5 aperture 45mm manual focus creative lens that offers a relatively straight-forward way to try out the creative effects that Lensbaby is known for. You get the signature Lensbaby tilting focus, sharp center and blurred edges, but in a more restrained package that can help you get the look you are after.

The fixed F3.5 aperture on the Sol means that you only have one "level" of focus + blur to work with. If you are familiar with other Lensbaby lenses, you can typically use the aperture to control how strong of an effect you get: the wider open the aperture, the stronger the effect. This is useful if you want control over how bold or subtle the effect is, but it does add one more decision you need to make when setting up your shot. With the Sol 45, that decision is removed so you have a more consistent experience. This might feel limiting if you are accustomed to using aperture as one of your controls, but it also simplifies the process.

The Sol 45 can be tilted to move the focus to different parts of the frame, giving you plenty of options for composition. If you are coming from another Lensbaby tilting lens system like the Composer Pro II, you will notice that the Sol 45 does not tilt quite as much -- the Sol tilts 8.5° whereas the Composer Pro II can tilt up to 15°. But the feature that I am excited about is the ability to lock the Sol 45 back to the center (or keep it locked so that the focus sweet spot is always in the center). The narrower tilting range combined with the ability to find and lock the focus back to center gives photographers a lot more predictability and control.

If the tilt and blurred edges aren't enough for your creative tastes, the Sol 45 has one more trick up its sleeve: two bokeh blades that can be used to add texture to your bokeh. You can use the bokeh blades alone or together, and they can be rotated to create different effects. As someone who doesn't use textures very often in my editing I prefer to keep the bokeh blades tucked safely away, but I can see the appeal for someone who is a fan of textured bokeh and who is using more appropriate backgrounds and composition (most of my sample images include very busy backgrounds because I wanted to see the maximum effect of the bokeh blades).

My only frustration with the Sol 45 is that the in-focus area seems a bit small compared to the frame, especially if I have the lens tilted at an angle. With a 45mm focal length, I found that my normal framing for portraits was too close if my subject wasn't centered; any off-center subjects would have only one eye in focus. This could be corrected by taking a few steps back, of course.

Overall, I found the Sol 45 to be simple and fun to use. The more conservative controls made it less intimidating than creative lenses sometimes can be, and I was able to quickly get the hang of it and get results I liked. It's a good way to be introduced to the world of in-camera creative effects if you are curious about the potential but you're not quite ready to dive in.

Check out our Lensbaby Sol 45
real-world sample gallery

Lensbaby Inspires New Audiences With the Fun and Accessible Sol 45

A tool to inspire. A tool to be bold. A tool to build memories.

Portland, OR (August 7th) - Lensbaby—makers of award-winning creative effects lenses, optics and accessories—announces the launch of their most playful and accessible lens yet, the Sol 45.

“Sol 45 opens up a new creative experience for those who want to dip their toes in the Lensbaby pool,” said Craig Strong Lensbaby Co-Founder and CCO. “Sol inspires visual artists to find new and fun ways to see their world by creating unique images in camera - no filters needed.”

The Sol 45 responds to those curious and insightful individuals who desire intention, imagination, and passion within each experience they live. This fixed aperture lens features an ease-of-use that injects the classic Lensbaby energy into images while creating a fun photography experience that benefits from the creation of unique photos that are representative of the users’ passions.

Users simply identify a subject in frame, bend the lens toward it, rotate the focus ring to bring subject into focus and shoot, ultimately creating a tack-sharp circular area of focus surrounded by bold blur and smooth bokeh. In addition, users can bring the lens’s bokeh blades - situated on hinged arms hiding at the edge of the lens - into the lens’s field of view. These bokeh blades add subtle lines of texture in-camera to the bokeh, creating stylized texture effects that many photographers only experience post-edit.

Since 2004, Lensbaby has challenged photographers to make their creative process one that distinctly captures the voice they find behind the camera. Today, the Sol 45 opens this door to all creatives, regardless of skill level. Enthusiast DSLR and mirrorless camera shooters, especially those who are newer to Lensbaby, now have the opportunity to experiment with the brand’s iconic look for an affordable price of $199.95.

The Sol 45 is made specifically for DSLR and mirrorless cameras, and is compatible with Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony A, Pentax K, Sony E, and Fuji X. The lens will also be available in a 22mm version specifically for Micro 4/3rd shooters. The Micro 4/3rd community is a passionate group who has embraced Lensbaby for years, all while longing for lenses tailored specifically for them. The Sol 22 was developed in a 22mm focal length (44mm equivalent) to serve these photographers.

For more information about the Sol Lenses please visit: https://sol.lensbaby.com/. The Sol 45 will be available for purchase on: https://lensbaby.com/product/sol45mm/ and select Lensbaby-authorized retailers for $199.95 on August 7th, 2018, and the Sol 22 will be available for purchase in September at: https://lensbaby.com/product/sol22mm/ . For more information please contact Keri Friedman at keri@lensbaby.com or Elizabeth Gerken with Groundswell PR at Elizabeth@groundswellpr.com.

About Lensbaby:

For over a decade Portland, Oregon-based Lensbaby has inspired and challenged photographers on their journey to finding their unique, visual voice. Lensbaby makes award-winning, one-of-a-kind lenses, optics and accessories for risk-taking photographers who believe that photography is an expression of their soul. Lensbaby provides instructional content through their educational hub, Lensbaby University and sells its products worldwide. For more information, visit www.lensbaby.com