The Lens Baby system has been around for a while. I remember checking it out at their booth at NAB 08 and being intrigued by it but never really saw any high resolution footage that was shot on it. The effect is really quite niche and not something that’s going to be used as frequently as the majority of the standard lenses in most people’s lens arsenal. Don’t get me wrong; it’s cool. The effect is created from their adjustable lens positioning based on a bellows system and is most commonly used to create a tilt-shift effect.
I did quite a bit of research on their website scouring through the sample images of what each of the various lens elements from the system would do. I looked into the various packages that were offered and after identifying the lens effects I liked best decided I could save money by purchasing the parts I wanted ala carte. I was purchasing for the PL mount which boosted the price up significantly compared to DSLR versions. Honestly, I don’t know how much that PL mount should really boost the cost in manufacturing cost comparison – but for the effect it’s still cheaper than buying a real tilt-shift lens.
So here’s what I picked up:
The Sweet 35 came with the Composer Pro. It is the first LensBaby component that has a built in aperture. All of the other lenses for the system utilize aperture discs that can be custom cut or purchased in pre-made shapes and sizes.
Fisheye. Who doesn’t love fisheye… really. Even if you rarely use it, it’s fun when you do.
Super wide Conversion Lens. This stands as a nice in-between the Sweet 35 and the Fisheye. This lens will be utilized more frequently than the fisheye on my shoots.
I’m probably going to take a minute in the near future to shoot some footage with the LensBaby system just for this blog entry. With that, I’ll post screengrabs and HD footage of what I shot and then write up a quick report of how everything handled.
In the meantime, here’s a music video I shot that utilized the LensBaby for a decent amount of the narrative portions.