Review Lensbaby Composer Pro ii + Sweet 35 (edit: + Twist 60) lenses

sven karma

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mark evans
Will try and post my own photo later, here's a link to what the Composer Pro ii looks like on a Sony: https://www.thephoblographer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Chris-Gampat-The-Phoblographer-Lensbaby-Composer-Pro-II-review-product-images-4-of-9ISO-4001-250-sec.jpg

PROS: Does what it does very well.
Fun to use.
Robust construction.
Lens interchange with other Lensbaby optics.
Video on A7s looks nice.


CONS: You may not care for what it does.
A fleabay tilt/shift adapter and a random old lens will do much the same job, just not for very long.
No markings to show when it's at centre detent.
Not wholly intuitive in operation.
Can vignette on FF.

The Composer Pro ii feels like what it is, a mature iteration of a product that's now been around a while.
Some SOOC jpegs (A7s) from the past couple of days. The Sweet 35, so named because it has a focal sweet spot that expands and contracts depending on aperture - whereas the Edge series of lenses I'd guess behave more like adapted lens on tilt/shift adapter - is not a lens for pixel-peepers. But it does a better MFD than a lot of 35mm lenses and while I'm no bokeh soap bubble buff, it seems to do them quite nicely:


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Also, I like a lens with the aperture ring at the front.

It's not a lens that's about the subtlety:

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The Lensbaby composer system does bend light in a way you simply can't recreate in PP and clearly won't appeal to everyone, but I give it a thumbs-up.
 

sven karma

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And here's one at f22:

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sven karma

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mark evans
Got a second Lensbaby lens, the Twist 60, which is based on an 1840's Petzval lens design. So it operates more 'conventionally' than the Sweet 35, Lensbaby don't recommend it for tilt/shift, possibly because of the exaggerated vignette, but it's still not a very conventional lens. Even harder to tell the aperture number than on the Sweet 35, but it is a funky gold colour.

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