While giving my studio a good autumnal cleanup I looked through some old storage boxes. To my surprise I found a special lens among my photography gear that I had forgotten all about; a Lensbaby Velvet 85.
I bought it a couple of years ago but never got into the habit of using it. I was curious to see what it could do, so I immediately took it out to test it in the garden.
Luckily, there’s still a few flowers left even though the autumn weather has arrived and the night frost is getting closer.
So in case you haven’t heard of a Lensbaby before; it’s a series of special camera lenses designed for playful photography; encouraging photographers to see in a new way.
The lenses are designed to force you to think out of the box, let go of perfection, and break free of expectations. It can give effects playing with the mix of selective focus and bokeh/blurry effects.
A Lensbaby can take time to master and get to know. I personally find it challenging because a Lensbaby only offer manual focus and so it takes a bit of work to get the sharpness right.
I want to mention that I was shooting handheld because I was literally running in and out whenever there was a short break from the rain. This is not the most ideal way to shoot with a Lens that only has manual focus.
To get the images sharp in the area you want, it’s best to put the camera on a tripod, and then use the liveview screen to set the focus by using the zoom function. This will make sure that the image is perfectly sharp.
The lens I used for these flower photos is the Lensbaby Velvet 85 and it’s actually made for photographers wanting to create dreamy, artistic portrait photography, but I have yet to test it for that.
There’s an entire family of lensbaby lenses that all offers different creative styles. I also have the Lensbaby Composer Edge 80 which I will dust off and take for a playdate in the countryside next week.
What is fascinating with these lenses are their ability to create a delicious blurry/soft background, and also the photos have a film-like atmosphere. Of course, I have edited these pictures to convey that film-like style which add even further to that mood.
So do I love the Lensbaby Velvet 85?
It’s too early in our relationship to say😆 I will still have to test it for portraits and landscape/travel photography. But I’m very curious and excited to use this lens more and see what I can do with it as I get to know it better.
Would I recommend it?
Hmm… if you already own a 100mm macro I’d say save your money. A macro lens will create a similar look and a classic macro lens is easier to work with because it has autofocus.
So who should get a Lensbaby?
I’d say this type of special lens is perfect for photographers who desire a creative challenge. If you have been stuck in a rut for a while creatively I find that it is always great to get playful and perhaps use equipment that you are not so comfortable with. Personally, testing and playing with gear out of my comfort zone helps me stay mindful of my creativity😀