14 July 2013

Why should I spend on a broken lens?

The only one to decide on this is you. If you love to create pictures like everybody else can you sure have no need for a lensbaby. If you think your current gear is either too heavy, or too expensive, or delivers only rather ordinary views, you may consider bending your sight some. I'll provide you with five reasons why you may want to have lensbabies in your camera bag. 

Lensbaby Double Glass Optic

Reason #1: carrying lensbabies means traveling light.

The optics are ridiculously small and light.A regular 50mm f/1.8 lens weighs in at 174 grams, the Double Glass optic is just 40,5 grams. Choosing the composer pro as your lens body adds another 94 grams, but that's still some 40 grams less than the regular lens. Adding an Edge80 optic gives you a manual 80mm, f/2.8 lens at 146 grams. And the Edge80 is the heaviest lensbaby optics you can get … 

Reason #2: lensbabies are cheap. 

As the optics are reduced to the core of a lens, they're very affordable as well. The most expensive optics is the Edge80, being tagged some 300 US$. What do you miss from saving? You have to pull focus manually, you have to set aperture manually, and you have to decide where the sharpness should go in your image. Because most lensbaby optics don't have what is called a 'flat field' as regular lenses, but a curved field which results in either a 'sweet spot' or a 'nice slice' of sharpness, depending on the optics. 

Reason #3: lensbabies keep you focused.

A regular lens is great for taking pictures where sharpness should be everywhere. This comes handy when you are an observer, or when you do arial, or scientific photography. But many people are bored to death by so much sharpness, and they buy super expensive super fast lenses to reduce the depth of field by shooting wide open. They spend gladly 1500 bucks on a lens they use to get just one eye in focus. Lensbabies do the same but sell for about 60 bucks. Even better, lensbabies allow you to shift sharpness to the place where you want it. This way you can blur away the less interesting details of a scene and focus on the most important part, your subject.

Reason #4: lensbabies boost your creativity.

Once you got the hang of a smooth floating area of sharpness you'll become selective. With a regular lens you cannot keep an object at the same distance of your subject out of focus -- with lensbaby you can. You just bend the lensbody to blur away what you consider disturbing. You focus on the subject and that's exactly what people will see when looking at your pictures: the essence of your view. It becomes second nature to de-emphasize parts in your picture by applying the smoothest blur on whatever would distract viewers from your subject. This allows you to create most unique views of most mundane subjects. 

And here's number 5 of my reasons to carry lensbabies.

It's always five reasons why and lensbabies are no exception. The best thing with lensbaby optics is stressless photography. These lenses won't force you into a shooting frenzy. You'll take one step after the other, no need to hurry. Shifting the sweet spot just to make sure, setting exposure and waiting for that very moment. To me, lensbabying is the Zen of photography. It's a process to discover your subject, to emphasize it, and a very organic way to bend reality to your likings. 

Norbert Fürst
Do I miss sharpness? At times, yes. That's when I shoot the Edge80. Or the Double Glass. Or the Sweet35. I'm glad there's more than one optic to choose from. But even on assignments I find myself using lensbaby optics all of the time.