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© Ute Reckhorn

© Ute Reckhorn

Step by Step Guide: Velvet 56 & 85

  • 3 min read

Step by Step Guide: Velvet 56 & 85

Welcome to the Velvet 56 & 85 Step by Step guide. Designed to make sure you get the most out of this soulful art lenses, no matter what you are trying to capture.

Velvet 85 is a 85mm f/1.8 manual focus lens. Velvet 56 is a 56mm f/1.6 manual focus lens.

At bright apertures, Velvet 56 & 85 create an ethereal glow over your entire image, from edge to edge. At darker apertures, the glow lessens and dissipates entirely by f/5.6, leaving a tack-sharp image with a film-like aesthetic and subtle softness at the edges of the frame. Velvet 56 & 85 both feature a built-in 1:2 macro capability. The minimum focus distance for Velvet 56 is 5 inches from the front of the lens and 9.5 inches for Velvet 85. This all combines to make for a very versatile, creative shooting experience.

Velvet for Macro:
Velvet 56
Velvet 85

Velvet makes for a great macro lens. You can focus as close as 5 inches (Velvet 56) and 9.5 inches (Velvet 85) away from the front of the lens.

  • The brighter the aperture you choose, the less depth of field youll have and the more glow you'll get. It can also be a bit tough to see what's in focus beneath the glow at brighter apertures. If youre having trouble focusing, simply stop down to f/4 or 5.6, focus, then open your aperture back up and shoot.
  • If you're having trouble holding focus while getting close, pull out your tripod and then you can position the camera/lens exactly where you want it without worrying.
  • Keep in mind that as youre moving closer to your subject, depending on your light source, you may cast a shadow over it. Sometimes thats desirable (for even lighting) sometimes its not. Be aware of how you are placing yourself as youre shooting your subject.
Velvet for Portraits:
Velvet 56
Velvet 85
  • Velvet renders skin tones so beautifully that they often don't need to be touched in post.
  • Try portraits at a range of apertures to determine how much or how little glow you want.
Velvet for Landscapes & Cityscapes:
Velvet 56
Velvet 85
  • Channel your inner Monet and use Velvet to create impressionistic landscapes and cityscapes.
  • Try stopping down to darker apertures for a more detailed, contrasty rendition.
Overall Velvet Tips:
  • If you want an image with a lot of glow but are having trouble focusing, stop down to f/4, focus, then open back to your desired brighter aperture & shoot.
  • Velvet 56 & 85 are sharp lenses - even wide open with tons of glow. Look closely at an image and you'll see tack-sharp detail underneath with a layer of glow on top.
  • Don't want glow? No problem. Stop down to f/4 and the glow goes away. At apertures darker than f/4, you'll have tack-sharp detail with film-like color and softness at the edges. Edge softness decreases at darker apertures.
  • No matter what aperture you're shooting at and how much glow you have - the sharp area of your image will always be in the center.

Not sure how much glow you want? Simply experiment and see what looks most aesthetically pleasing to you. A lot of glow on one subject may work -- and it may overwhelm another shot.