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The need for a new type of lensbaby optic...

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The need for a new type of lensbaby optic... posted by Lumina April 23, 2012 02:47AM reply | quote
posted by Lumina

I have been using the Lensbaby system since receiving it for Christmas and TOTALLY love it! :-) I'm a convert, but I can't help but think that there are two small improvements which could be made to what is already an awesome product.

I would like to see these two things:

1: Lenses with programmable auto-focus EMF chips would be a boon. Yes, I know that the idea of Lensbaby is to ignore the tradition values of photography such as sharp focus and to this end, I have made some awesome shots, myself, with Lensbaby where NOTHING at all is in focus and love these shots exactly that way... but the versatility of what can be done with Lensbaby means that sometimes you want to have part of the image tack sharp. Since modern DSLRs don't come with focusing aids such as split screens etc. This is very difficult! You can magnify the image 10 times in live mode on your Canon (not sure about Nikon and others) which helps a great deal.... but you either have to lose the ability to frame you shot, keep almost inhumanly still while flipping back to normal magnification (particularly when shooting wide open) or use a tripod... Auto-focus could really help here especially for shots with more centrally located sweet spots.

And 2: It would be great if a reasonably priced flat-field double glass coated optic without spherical aberration could be introduced into the range. 'Why,' I hear you ask, 'when it would behave very similarly to most of the other more traditional lenses I own?' Because for those of us who like to experiment with shaped bokeh and who own either the Creative Aperture Kit or the Blank Aperture kit or both, we are currently forced to use them in conjunction with either a lens with curved field optics (ie. double glass, single glass, plastic) or a flat field, soft focus lens with spherical aberration (ie. the soft optic). I own all of them and it's great to be able to use the shaped apertures with these optics but sometimes you want to be able to use the shaped aperture disks for creativity without those other characteristics being present... and they don't just drop into my other traditional lenses so easily...lol. ;-)

I just think it would fill what, for me, is a small but glaring hole in what the Lensbaby system currently allows me to do... and make a more 'complete' creative device out of it.

Does anyone else feel that way? :-)
Re: The need for a new type of lensbaby optic... posted by Joe Nation April 23, 2012 09:50PM reply | quote
posted by Joe Nation

1. You can get split-prism screen to fit most modern DSLRs. Or you could get a Pentax which will confirm focus even with a fully manual lens.

2. You can get creative aperture effects on any lens by cutting a suitable hole in some black paper and taping it over the front of the lens. You might have to experiment with hole sizes, and it's not as convenient as the LB system but it's doable.

Having said that, I do agree with your second point. The Edge 80 has shown that LB are aware of the desire for flat focal planes, but a cheaper Double Glass-style optic would be great, anywhere from 28 to 50mm (ideally 28, 35 and 50mm).
Re: The need for a new type of lensbaby optic... posted by Lumina April 24, 2012 12:50AM reply | quote
posted by Lumina
Thanks Joe. Well I'm kind of locked into Canon now but the split screen option sounds interesting. Does it require camera surgeory or is it something that clips on? Do you have a link?

I'm going to glue a chip onto my composer pro, myself. So I've kinda solved my own problem but I guess it would just be nice if the manufacturer had done it for me prior to purchase. I get nervous when I have to make permanent and accurate changes to an item worth hundreds of dollars... (and one I have an emotional attachment to to boot) ...especially when it involves any sort of glue. lol.

Has anyone successfully attached a chip to their Canon mount LB lenses? Any success stories? Any advice?

Yes, I would like to add the new Edge 80 optic to my kit eventually but unfortunately it doesn't take the aperture disks either. I have used black cardboard hoods and elastic bands with regular lenses before but I like some of the LB pre-cut apertures in particular and would need to either cut a hole and stick them in place temporarily or try to copy them over to cardboard. Another forum member has been kind enough to PM me about an alternative system for possibly using the LB shapes with regular lenses and I might go with that until LB release my desired flat-field double glass... lol ;-)
Re: The need for a new type of lensbaby optic... posted by TG-J (Admin) April 24, 2012 03:53PM reply | quote
posted by TG-J

Lumia , you can get split screens for nearly all cameras from Katz Eye in U.S. They are excellent screens much better than the screens on most modern digital cameras, but , with a split screen it is very difficult to see placement of the sweet spot on LB optics. I know this because I have a split screen on my Nikon D200, which I very rarely use for LB stuff for this reason. That being said , the plain matte region of this screen is also much better for picking focus than the manufactures screens in digital cameras. I got this screen because I have lots of old fast Nikon lenses (ie 1.2 , 1.4 , 1.8, 2 ), todays screens seem to be optimized for apertures of around 2.8 or higher and because of auto focus are not as critical. For instance before the Katz Eye screen ,with my 105 f1.8 on the D200 I was getting around 3 out of 10 with critical focus , after the Katz Eye- 9/10. Now the interesting thing is I hate split screens & rarely use that part of the screen , I focus on the plain matte part. I have since found out that through Katz Eye you can put in a Special order & they will make a plain matte screen for any camera . IMO, that is the way to go, especially for LB use. Hope this helps . tony


Also by placing a chip on your LB I think you will find it will only give you access to different metering modes and will not help with focus, but on this I am not 100% because I am a Nikon user. tony 2

PPS. There is an option for opti bright, look into that carefully , apertures below 5.6 , ie 8 ,11 ,etc are adversely affected by this treatment , from memory. With LB optics because of the way the apertures work opti bright mat not be a good option.

PPPS, just read the site , may have that last bit back to front.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 04/24/2012 04:43PM by TG-J.
Re: The need for a new type of lensbaby optic... posted by Lumina April 24, 2012 05:09PM reply | quote
posted by Lumina
Thanks TG-J,

I've just had a look at the KatzEye page. Looks very interesting. I will certainly give that option some consideration as I, like you, have a number of old fast manual focus lenses I like to use when not using my Lensbaby, mainly old Russian glass by KMZ. I really prefer them to most of the modern lenses and certainly to the lenses that came with my camera (except when I need to focus accurately and quickly like when shooting at a dance comp, for instance). I also have a lens from 1890 that I have just acquired so I'm going to have to do something to aid my manual focus accuracy.

No no... on Canon cameras, when the camera body sees a lens body with no chip, it disables the focus confirmation lights/beeps that you normally get. VERY ANNOYING!! It didn't have to be that way... Canon just chose to make it that way, presumably as a marketing ploy to try to force consumers into buying Canon brand lenses... the trouble is, life just doesn't work that way and people like you and I who know anything about photography are more than likely going to want to use all sorts of weird and wonderful lenses from multiple sources. In the end, they are just upsetting a lot of people who know how to use their camera bodies to the best effect and show off what their camera range can actually do. Rather than freeing us the be creative they are trying to turn us into brand-specific sheep. The addition of the chip doesn't change the camera modes you can use... at least I don't think. :-S You are still restricted to Aperture Priority and Full Manual because of stop down metering. Adding a chip just does two basic things: 1. It turns the lights and beeps back on that let you know you've hit maximal focus and 2. If you buy a nice fancy one like me (still under AU/US$6.00) it will allow you to store the focal length and aperture settings of the lens both in the chip, itself and in the photo's EXIF data. Which is nice when you want to review what lens and setting you used for a particular shot later.

Thanks for your help. Greatly valued and appreciated. Might be sending off an order to KatzEye too. :-)

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