Lensbaby Soft Focus II | ISO | 125 | 1/500 |
Lensbaby has done it again! Another beautiful and fantastic optic is The Soft Focus 2, aka SF2. The SF2 is a brand new Lensbaby optic compatible with all of Lensbaby's current and legacy Optic Swap lens bodies. The Soft Focus II optic from Lensbaby is a new-and-improved version of one of the earliest and, recently, most sought-after optics in Lensbaby's Optic Swap System, the original Soft Focus optic. It has an ethereal, mysterious, and impressionistic glow wide open. Very similar to the velvet, but more. It's A pumped-up velvet. You can definitely see the definition in lines and details under that majestic glow! If you didn't know, All Lensbaby lenses are manual lenses. They do take some practice and patience to get those dreamy images.
Lensbaby Soft Focus II | ISO | 4000 | 1/160 |
The SF2 optic renders some beautiful pastel color tones when shot wide open. The sunrise and sunset colors are amazing. Those winter cotton candy skies… no edits are needed. It has a very flat field of focus with a subtle sharp detail under that glow at F2.5. The lines and details will get more defined as you shut down your aperture. It's kind of like looking through a fog but with detail. I know for Velvet users, this will be love and must have. Even with all the Lensbaby images I have captured, which is a lot, my first one with the SF2 was a flop.
You do need time to get acquainted and practice with it. At F8 or more, this optic will produce sharp and detailed images with minimal to no glow. New Lensbaby users should try their focus at lower apertures before trying wide open, or you will just get frustrated. I would suggest around F5.6 and F8. There are many images I have captured with this optic where minimal editing has been necessary. I've also seen some beautiful ethereal images with no edits from other Lensbaby Ambassadors.
The Soft Focus II improves on its predecessor by adding a 12-blade adjustable internal aperture with its built-in drop-in magnetic aperture system. It comes with four drop-in disks. Three have the main hole that varies in size, with smaller holes. It kind of resembles a flower. The 4th disk is shaped like a sunburst. The disks are held in place with a magnet and don't fall out. The disks distribute the soft glow from the edge of the optical system and blend it with the sharpness found in the center of the lens. These three multi-hole apertures combine the sharpness and glow differently for a unique look.
Lensbaby Soft Focus II | ISO | 100 | 1/320 |
"These three multi-hole apertures combine the sharpness and glow differently for a unique look."
When the multi-hole apertures are in place and the 12-blade aperture is used, the balance of glow and sharpness can be further tuned to your liking and shooting style by adjusting your aperture. Not everyone likes wide-open or even tack sharp. Find the aperture best suited for you and your style. There's no right or wrong. Lensbaby is about allowing you to be imperfect and creative. Embrace that and experiment.
Lensbaby Soft Focus II | ISO | 500 | 1/200 |
Lensbaby Soft Focus II | ISO | 8000 | 1/320 |
My favourite part of this lens is the magical and fun way it processes bokeh and light. Out of Focus bokeh, with no disk, becomes shapes like gumballs and Balloons. As you shut down your aperture, your gumballs become more defined and less glowy. Lights have never been more fun.
Lensbaby Soft Focus II| ISO | 10000 | 1/125 |
Lensbaby Soft Focus II | ISO | 4000 | 1/125 |
You can drop in a disk and get some bokeh in the shape of a disk you use. If you put a Heart in there and your bokeh becomes heart shapes. You want to adjust to get slightly out of focus with those lights on Christmas lights and street lights. You will see your shapes forming! Adjust your focus until you get the bokeh you want, and adjust your aperture to reduce the amount of glow and size.
Lensbaby Soft Focus II | ISO | 1250 | 1/100 |
Lensbaby Soft Focus II | ISO | 10000 | 1/800 |
The disks will add textures to your images and some fun bokeh too. They're shot wide open with a disk. A haze or glow can form around your subject when using a dark background. If you have a disk in place, The haze will take on the shape of the disk. If there is no disk, it becomes a haze/fog. Any lights in the frame will take on the shape of your disks, and the extra glow will emanate from behind the subject or in front. The Creative Bokeh disks will also fit in the SF2 and have great effects, especially shooting with lights and the light trapped in those leaves. When using the disks, as you shut down the aperture, the bokeh shapes become more defined. The disks can also make your image look like a double exposure.
I love working with Lensbaby lenses and experimenting to see what happens. Long exposure. Action. Macro. Portraits. You have to try everything! Every capture is unique and hard to replicate—especially when using an Omni or tilt. Every lens has a different effect or focal distance. Everything is done in-camera, and minimal editing is required. The Soft Focus 2 is no exception and produces beautiful, magical, and ethereal images. This optic will always be within arm's reach when shooting. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
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Born and raised in the Canadian prairies she captures every season from +40 to-40 Celsius. Melissaloves to capture everythingthat comes within her frame; from Babies and families to Landscape,wildlife and her love of Macro. Always looking for details, she has trained her eyes to look for thesmallest things. The smaller things to capture, the better.