Objects of Desire: Lensbaby Composer Pro with Sweet 35 Optic

April 4, 2011

By Dan Havlik

Just when you thought Lensbaby was about as Lensbaby as Lensbaby could get, the adorable selective-focus lens company has another cute trick up its sleeve: the brand new Lensbaby Composer Pro with Sweet 35 Optic. But before you get too excited about this breaking news, understand that these are baby-step refinements to the existing Lensbaby system, not dramatic overhauls. The new tweaks are good ones, though, and show just how much Lensbaby’s products have grown up.

We got our hands on an early test unit of the Lensbaby Composer Pro before it was officially announced on April 4th, and were struck by how much it resembles its predecessor, The Composer. Both products use the ball-and-socket design, which lets you position and lock the lens at odd angles to create a sharp “sweet spot” in an image surrounded by striking graduated blur. The Composer Pro’s ball-and-socket apparatus is all metal where the previous model used plastic and it’s easier to twist, tilt and lock it into place. The focus ring is also more robust, letting you smoothly find the sweet spot you want in your image. Overall, it feels more like a real lens than a toy.

The Sweet 35 Optic has matured quite a bit too. Instead of using the awkward interchangeable magnetic aperture system from the past, you can internally adjust the aperture on the new optic just by turning the dial on the front of the lens. As its name suggests, the Sweet 35 is a 35mm selective focus optic and it uses a 12-blade internal aperture to produce dramatic background blur. Aperture range is f/2.5 through f/22 and the size of the sweet spot ranges from 15 percent at f/2.5 to 40 percent at f/22 on a DSLR with an APS-C sensor.

The Sweet 35 also lets you focus as close as 7.5 inches from your subject when using the Composer Pro, giving you pretty decent Macro capability.

Cost: $400
(Composer Pro with Sweet 35 Optic)

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