Tilt. Shift. Repeat. My first steps with the Lensbaby

If you drink too much alcohol, you get sloppy and might end up with a baby. True story, after several Margaritas I ended up with a Lensbaby. Kids, don’t drink and have a look at online shops. But the truth is, I’m very happy with my Lensbaby and we are inseparable.

I came across Lensbaby lenses a few years ago but didn’t end up buying one. Then I forgot completly about them until I stumbled upon this blog post – and I was sold. I already tried freelensing – you detach the lens from your camera body and are able to shift the focus – but now I really wanted a Lensbaby. I did some research (the Sweet 50 or the Edge 50?) and finally put the Sweet 50 on my wishlist. Several Margaritas on a hot summer evening later, I bought it. Best decision in a long time – thanks booze!

What is a Lensbaby?

The company offers several creative effect lenses, each with another optical effect: You can shift a spot or a slice of focus, create super-dreamy bokehs and much more. Most likely your images won’t turn out perfect – and that’s a good thing. I was instantly drawn to all the blurriness a Lensbaby creates. I purchased the Lensbaby Sweet 50 which is basically a tilt-shift-lens with a spot of focus, surrounded by blur. An aperture wide open gives you a lot of blurriness and a small spot of focus. When you stop down the aperture, a bigger part of your image gets sharp. In addition to that, you can move the area of focus around, it doesn’t need to be in the center of the image all the time.

Good to know

  • Lensbabys are manual lenses, you can’t use autofocus
  • They work in Manual mode or Aperture Priority mode. Do your research, f.e. Aperture mode doesn’t work on my Nikon F80 when I put the Lensbaby on – I have to use a light meter.

When my Lensbaby Sweet 50 arrived, I put it on my Nikon D750 (no time for film, I wanted to see the results immediately) and went for a walk. Let me show you what baby and I did on this summer day:

At first I found it hard to focus but then I got used to it and shooting with the Lensbaby was a lot of fun. Since this first walk I also shot two rolls of film in two different cameras with my Lensbaby and did another walk with my digital camera. And now I’m thinking about getting another Lensbaby lens, the Edge 50 or the Edge 80 give you a slice of focus and I find this very tempting.






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