Lensbaby Composer And Soft Focus Optic Review

Posted: Feb 10 2010, 12:00am CST | by , Updated: Aug 10 2010, 9:30am CDT, in Reviews | Digital Camera


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Features & Specifications
The Lensbaby composer system is a double Glass multi-coated optical glass doublet. The focal length is 50mm and uses manual focus. The aperture is interchangeable with magnetic aperture discs. Aperture settings include f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22 and it has a minimum focus distance 18-inches. The lens is available in mounts for the Canon EF EOS, Nikon F, Sony Alpha A / Minolta Maxxum, Pentax K / Samsung GX, Olympus E1 / Panasonic Lumix DMC cameras. It is important to note that I am testing the composer on a Nikon D80 and the Nikon line of cameras does not allow automatic light metering when used with the Lensbaby system, but other DSLR cameras do. The Composer sells for $270.

The Soft focus Optic has a 50mm focal length and aperture of f/2 to f/22. The amount of softness can be controlled by changing aperture disks and it is compatible with the composer, Muse, and Control Freak lenses. It sells for $89.95.

In Use
Installing the Lensbaby Composer onto my D80 is done just as you would install any other lens onto the camera. The Composer fit with no issues at all and worked very well. I am not a master photographer by any means, so I missed my automatic light metering. After playing with the Composer for a bit, I was able to find an aperture setting that worked well allowing me to get well exposed shots without having a super long exposure time.

The Composer is a flexible device and the angle can be changed, which changes the sweet spot of the focus on the optics used with the Composer. It ships with the Double Glass optic installed and ready to go right out of the box. Removing an optic to install a different one is an easy process.

The small plastic cup that the optic is stored in to keep them save have a lid that doubles as the optic removal tool. You simply insert the tabs on the lid into the slots on the optic when the optic is all the way to the front of the Composer and twist gently to remove. To install another optic you insert the tabs on the optic into the slots on the Composer and then twist the install tool in the opposite direction to lock it in place. The whole process can be done in a few minutes when you are taking your time.

I really liked the Soft Focus optic and it gives the images you take a very soft and fuzzy overall appearance. You will have to get used to picking the best aperture settings for your shots or you will end up with under or overexposed images for a while. Once you master aperture settings, you can take some cool and very interesting images and the optic is particularly good for taking pictures of people.

You can check out the sample images I took to get an idea of what you will get out of the Soft Focus optic. I also included some of the test photos that Lensbaby took since they actually know how to take decent photos. However, my shots will give you a good idea what a noob can do with the system. The photos I took are the outdoor shot with the bright sun and the photo of my daughter making a silly face. The others are from Lensbaby.




  • Easy to install
  • Well priced
  • Fun to use


  • No automatic light metering on Nikon cameras

The Lensbaby Composer and the Soft Focus optic are great fun to use on a DSLR. If you enjoy taking creative shots and want new lenses and optics for your camera that won’t break the bank, the Lensbaby system is fantastic. The devices are of high quality and easy to use.


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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/3" rel="author">Shane McGlaun</a>
Leading our review center, Shane McGlaun (Google) knows technology inside out. His extensive experience in testing computer hardware and consumer electronics enable him to effectively qualify new products and trends. If you want us review your product, please contact Shane.
Shane can be contacted directly at shane@i4u.com.




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