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Lensbaby "Selective Focus" Lenses

Another updated product at PhotoPlus is the Lensbaby line of special-effect lenses, now with swappable optics. The Lensbaby idea is a wonderful hack, in the positive sense of the word. It lets you achieve "selective focus" by mounting the lens in a movable bellows -- so you then can compress and tilt the optical elements to focus precisely on a limited area in the scene, the "sweet spot," which pops out against the surrounding graduated blur.

This is a bit hard to explain, so the best way to understand it is to look at the images in the online Lensbaby Gallery in a variety of genres.

The current Lensbaby line offers three lens models, depending on the amount of hacking you like -- precise setup with the Lensbaby Composer, as the ball and socket design holds the position ($270), fast and loose with the Lensbaby Muse, as you manually set and hold the position ($100 / $150), or methodical with the Control Freak, which you set up, lock in, and then can further fine-tune both the focus and tilt.

All the models use the Lensbaby Optic Swap System, with four swappable elements: Double Glass (sharp), Single Glass (soft, dreamy), Plastic (softest, ethereal, abundant chromatic aberration), and Pinhole / Zone plate ($94 for the kit). Again, see the online Optic Comparison showing the results of using the different lenses and swappable optical elements.

Lensbaby also offers a variety of accessories, so you can shoot these amazing images for everything from wide-angle landscapes to portraits to table-top and macro set-ups.

See my Digital Cameras Gallery for more on these and other tripods.

    Find the Lensbaby lenses     on Amazon.com

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