Gadgets sweet35-1

Published on November 7th, 2011 | by Greg


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.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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