Over the last few months I acquired a few more Lensbaby optics, namely the very low fidelity single glass optic and plastic optics. I also bought some really cheap close up lenses on Ebay. These modest closeup lenses screw onto the lensbabies and allow one to get very close to a subject.
To date I have not really had a chance to shoot with these new optics. Last weekend I had some time on my hands, so why not try them out in the backyard? It could be fun and I could see how these inexpensive lenses compare to their more expensive brethren.
I know the world needs more flower shots like toilets need new turds, however plants were the most interesting subjects in my backyard. So why not shoot them? I grabbed my Olympus OMD EM-5 and Pentax K5 to take the following shots. A feature of lensbabies is you can swap out the optics between different camera platforms.
The following photo was done with a single lens optic, this means there is only a single piece of glass in the lens barrel. So, it is soft, full of aberrations, light fringing and blur. Just what the doctor ordered for creating new effects. It’s a far cry from clinically sharp and accurate optics that depend on several pieces of glass in the tube to eliminate such flaws.
What I like about using these lensbabies is you can fine tune where the image is in focus and the background dissolves into a creamy blur. Sure, a similar effect can be created in photoshop. However the difference between using a lensbaby and a digital filter is the difference between cooking your own dinner and heating up a TV dinner in a microwave.
The El-Cheapo macro filters I bought on Ebay did not let me down. They really do outperform their price point of 5 bucks per filter. It was fun to get in really close and pick the sweet spot and blur the rest.
In a digital world where photography is fully automatic, instant, accurate and linear, I find it refreshing to slow down and use optics that are fully manual and non-linear. There is no autofocus, no automatic exposure and one must manually choose the sweet spot to focus. Moreover, to change apertures one must manually insert magnetic disks into the optic itself. Using lensbabies is a bit like learning photography all over again and getting back to basics. The bottom line is lensbabies are just plain fun to use and I’m the kind of person who benefits from slowing down and learning a new craft.