Published on November 7th, 2011 | by Greg0
Lensbaby Sweet 35: The One We’ve Been Waiting For
There are a lot of cameras out there. And quite a few lenses as well. We don’t particularly recommend a single brand or type, but do strongly push DSLRs over pocket cameras in general. With a Nikon, Canon, or Sony, you’re getting amazing image quality at a great price, though certainly trading a bit of weight and portability. And unless you opted for a prime lens, you’ll find the default kit lenses or the most likely choices in zoom lenses are heavy. Plus, although you can certainly post-process photos, there is something to be said for being able to do most of the work on-camera.
That’s where Lensbabies come in. We’ve taken a look at several, including the Muse, Composer Pro, and Tilt Transformer. Their latest release is an optic called the Sweet 35, part of their near-universal optic swap system. You buy a base with the appropriate mount for your camera manufacturer, and can choose between a few different types- some allow you to set a particular shot consistently, others are bendy and more playful. We primarily used the Composer Pro with this new optic, and installing it (as always) is a snap.
This optic is different from the others- it’s a “selective focus optic with a 12-blade adjustable aperture that creates a tack sharp Sweet Spot of focus surrounded by blur”. Think bokeh or a creamy depth of field. What we loved is how precise we could be, and the new “no disc swap” F-stop selection. The Sweet 35 also boasts the widest focal length of any selective focus Lensbaby optic, and works pretty well up close in addition.
You can see some video that we took in Golden Gate Park recently- note that we’ve lowered the quality significantly, but haven’t touched it in any other way. The background is nicely blurred out, while the subjects in the foreground and pretty crisp and clear. Even with movement, the image looks good. Certainly, the optic quality isn’t quite as crisp as traditional lenses- you’re going for an artsier feel and sacrificing some clarity. But considering the huge range of situations where this one was useful- portraits, outdoor shots, even food/commercial photography- this is the best Lensbaby optic yet. Available online primarily, for around $180.