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Is Lensbaby Worth It? 5 Best Lensbaby Lenses & Optics to Buy in 2021 (Review)

Lensbaby Review: What Is the Best Lensbaby Lens?


Welcome to my review of Lensbaby‘s best lenses!


Look:

You’ve heard of Lensbaby, but is it what you’re looking for?

It’s not as easy an answer as you might think.

It’s a little more involved than answering yes or no, because this kind of glass offers a lot of possibilities for any photographer.

It’s knowing what works best for you that can answer this question for you.

So this is what I’m doing today:

I’m going to tell you if Lensbaby is worth it by going over 5 of their bestselling lenses in hopes to inform you a little more on the wondrous world of special effects photography.

If you need a refresher, check out my article on what is a lensbaby and what does it do.

Here’s a quick overview of what to expect here:

5 Best Lensbaby Lenses 2021


  • Velvet 28mm – The one that captures dreams.
  • Burnside 35mm – Your new Petzval lens has arrived.
  • Sol 45mm – All-around functionality in a small package.
  • Edge 35mm – The portrait-friendly optic, with an edge.
  • Twist 60mm – The twistiest lens in town.


Let’s dive in!


The One That Captures Dreams


Lensbaby Velvet 28 for Canon EF

Velvet 28mm

  • Aperture: f/2.5-22
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 2″
  • Autofocus: No
  • Compatible Format: APS-C and Full Frame
  • Weight: 453g (1lb)
  • Good for: Landscape/macro photography

The Velvet 28 is the perfect lens for creating ethereal effects in your photos and videos. It’s Lensbaby’s bestselling glass – for good reason, too!

It’s capable of capturing stark sharp images while layering them with a customizable soft glow on top.

It makes for great dreamy and fantastical scenery.

It also boasts 1:2 macro capability and a 2-inch minimum focusing distance, meaning macro shots are where it’s at. They will look stunning with this product.

That said, anybody looking to shoot video should also know the Velvet’s focus throw is pretty long, coming up to nearly 300 degrees. Best to use the Velvet if you don’t need to shift too much focus in your film shots.

Pros:

  • Good price/quality ratio
  • Unique dreamy, soft focus
  • 1:2 macro capability
  • Metal construction

Cons:

  • Soft focus inconsistent at higher apertures
  • Long focus throw

💰 Where to buy online? Check price and availability on:

(Or their official website page.)


Your New Petzval Lens Has Arrived


Lensbaby Burnside 35 for Canon EF

Burnside 35mm

  • Aperture: f/2.8-16
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 6″
  • Autofocus: No
  • Compatible Format: APS-C and Full Frame
  • Weight: 374g (0.825lb)
  • Good For: Landscape/street photography

Another of Lensbaby’s bestsellers is the Burnside 35mm. A modern take on the Petzval lens giving way to swirly bokeh and beautiful vignettes.

This glass is designed with dual apertures: the primary ring controls the main aperture of the lens, with a yellow slider adjusting the vignette strength in 4 levels.

Beyond the vignette, the Burnside swirls the bokeh thanks to Lensbaby’s proprietary Swirly optic.

It’s designed to give you as much creative control as possible. The vignette slider alone is a good bang for your buck if vignetting is what you desire.

All put together, the Burnside packs a punch and makes for a great addition to your kit.

Note:

Lensbaby’s Twist optics produce more prominent Swirly effects at a cheaper price. The Burnside wins in giving you more versatile creative control over your shots. If swirl effects are your jam, read on.

Pros:

  • Dual apertures
  • Petzval vignetting
  • Wide angle FOV
  • Metal build

Cons:

  • Moderately long focus throw (180 degrees)
  • Only 35mm available

💰 Where to buy online? Check price and availability on:

(Or their official website page.)


All-around Functionality In A Small Package


Lensbaby Sol 45 for Canon EF

Sol 45mm

  • Aperture: Fixed f/3.5
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 14″
  • Autofocus: No
  • Compatible Format: APS-C and Full Frame
  • Weight: 150g (0.33lb) DSLR / 256g (0.56lb) Mirrorless
  • Good For: Portrait/landscape photography

The Sol 45 harkens back to Lensbaby’s original designs. It’s a great option for any beginner looking to experiment with switchable bokeh effects and tilt-shifting.

The lens comes with two different bokeh blades built into it. You can choose to use either or both at the same time.

They can even rotate in place, allowing you to customize the effect to your liking.

Despite the fixed aperture, users of the Sol can take advantage of its tilt-shifting capabilities.

Tilting the lens will alter your plane of focus, breaking the parallel line of sight between sensor and glass. As a result, you can use selective focus to your advantage and angle your focal points as you like.

Twisting it unlocks and locks the tilt mechanism, allowing you to make fine adjustments as you line up your shot.

Pros:

  • Excellent price/functionality ratio
  • Lightweight
  • Tilt-shift and bokeh adjustments

Cons:

  • Small focus ring
  • Bokeh blades work best with closer subjects

💰 Where to buy online? Check price and availability on:

(Or their official website page.)


The Portrait-Friendly Optic With an Edge


LENSBABY 35 mm/F 3.5 Edge 35 Optic Lens

Edge 35mm

  • Aperture: f/3.5-22
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 7″
  • Autofocus: No
  • Compatible Format: APS-C and Full Frame
  • Weight: 453g (1lb)
  • Good For: General/portrait photography

The Edge 35mm shines in its stark focus and sharp blurred lines, generating beautiful portraits for anybody and any thing.

The Edge itself is an optic, as opposed to a full lens, meaning you can pair it up with Lensbaby’s always-reliable Composer Pro II, or the classic Spark.

Let’s focus on the Composer for now.

This product’s swivel and tilt mechanics allow you to line up your shots much like the Sol would.

The advantage here being the Composer is Optic Swap compatible, meaning most of Lensbaby’s optics can be mounted onto the lens for use.

In the Edge’s case, the optic is at its best in portrait photography. It’s designed to immerse your subject with soft blurs as soon as the focal point is met.

In other words:

Clear focus lines + high aperture setting = deep DOF and very smooth bokeh.

This is why the Edge is renowned for its portrait photos.

Bear in mind, though, lens flares are a little more jarring with the Edge. It might still be to your taste, so give it a shot if it’s what you’re looking for.

Note:

For the most optimal portraits, the Edge 50 is arguably a better option only if your camera’s sensor is small.

Pros:

  • Optic Swap compatible
  • Steep focus lines
  • Easy to learn and use

Cons:

  • Requires lens
  • Heavy optic; heavier with lens
  • Lens flares to taste

💰 Where to buy online? Check price and availability on:

(Or their official website page.)


The Twistiest Lens In Town


Lensbaby lb 7 °C Twist 60 EF Lens with Case for Connection

Twist 60mm

  • Aperture: f/2.5-16
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 18″
  • Autofocus: No
  • Compatible Format: Full Frame
  • Weight: 453g (1lb)
  • Good For: General/portrait photography

Another of Lensbaby’s Swirl effect products is the Twist 60mm.

Once again, the Petzval system is in use here; although, compared with the Burnside, the Twist commands the sharpest center of frame.

The subject is surrounded by a prominent swirly background at its lowest f/2.5 setting, with the subject itself sticking out in sharp detail.

Vignettes are also at their most intense at lower apertures. As opposed to the Burnside covered earlier, the Twist lens also leads in swirl effects.

Naturally, the swirls and vignettes degrade as you raise the f-stop.

The Twist also comes as an optic. You can use it with the Composer Pro II, and Lensbaby’s other main glass, the Spark. Using either lens’s mechanisms will produce milder vignette and swirl effects, but it is possible.

Note:

It’s possible to use the Twist on an APS-C sensor, but be forewarned the Swirl effect will be dramatically less intense. Full frame sensors work wonders with this glass.

Pros:

  • Excellent price/functionality ratio
  • Sharpest focus
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Only available to select camera brands
  • Dampened effect on APS-C sensors

💰 Where to buy online? Check price and availability on:

(Or their official website page.)


Best Lensbaby Lens (Review)


What Does a Lensbaby Do? (Guide)


And there you have it…

Lensbaby’s bestselling lenses and optics. Did any of these products stand out to you? Is Lensbaby worth it in your opinion?

They all have their strong points. The Burnside beats out the Twist in versatility and creative control, but the Twist has its merits with more intense swirls and vignetting.

Most of them are attuned to special effects photography, with the Edge arguably having the least amount of special effects, but it stands out with its razor sharp focal point slices.

The Velvet is perfect for casting a nice glow over your image, while the Sol has excellent bokeh and tilt-shift control.

If you want to learn more about this brand, click here.

You can also check out this article on tilt-shift photography, and this article on freelensing. Both are prime examples of creative effects photography.

I’m curious what of the aforementioned products takes your fancy. Did I cover any of your favorites here?

Sound them off below in the comments section.

Until next time!

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