Buyers Guides |Best Lensbaby lenses in 2022

The Buyers guide to...Best Lensbaby lenses in 2022

We explain how to select the best Lensbaby lens, housing or optic for your camera and photography

Buyers Guide to Lensbaby lenses
Buyers Guide

Lensbaby started out quite simply in 2004 with a bendy lens that let you capture quirky, creative images while shifting the plane of focus around the frame. Over the years more sophisticated Lensbaby lenses, or Lensbabies as many users like to call them, have been developed to enable a range of effects to be created in-camera with different types of lens design.

Original Lensbaby
An original Lensbaby

There are now lots of Lensbaby lenses, lens housings and optics to choose from. That’s fantastic for those who are familiar with the brand, but if you’re new to Lensbaby, how do you select the right optics for your camera and photography? Fear not, everything you need to know is explained here.

What is the Lensbaby effect?

There are actually four Lensbaby effects, Sweet, Edge, Velvet and Swirl. With a couple of exceptions, each Lensbaby lens or optic can produce one of those effects. A few of them can produce more than one effect – but more on that later.

The Lensbaby effects are:

  • Sweet: a round spot of sharp focus surrounded by soft blur. The effect is suitable for a wide range of photography.
  • Edge: a slice or band of sharp focus with blur either side that’s especially interesting with landscape scenes.
  • Velvet: soft ethereal glow or diffusion that can work well for portraits and flower images.
  • Swirl or Twist: twisted, swirling bokeh and vignetting, another good effect for portraits, but also landscapes and anything with a busy background.

These images show the four effects with the same subject.

What are the different types of Lensbaby lens?

All Lensbaby lenses are manual focus, but they can be broadly divided into two types, standalone and optic-swap. Most Lensbaby standalone lenses look like many other manual focus lenses and have a high-quality metal barrel with a focus ring.

Lensbaby’s optic-swap lenses are a bit different as they come in two parts, the lens barrel or housing and the optic itself with the lens elements. Without the optic in position, the barrel is a hollow tube and the optics cannot be mounted on a camera without a barrel or housing.

Lensbaby’s standalone lenses are more familiar and easier to use, but the optic-swap system gives more flexibility because you can use one lens housing with a variety of optics. The optics are also smaller than a standalone lens, so if you want to be able to create more than one effect or shoot at different focal lengths, the optics swap system takes up less room in your bag.

What mount do Lensbaby lenses come in?

Most Lensbaby lenses or optic-swap housings are made in all the most popular lenses mounts: Canon EF and R, Nikon F and Z, Fujifilm X, Micro Four Thirds, Sony E and Pentax K.

Most of the lenses also produce an image circle that covers a full-frame sensor, but they can be used on smaller format (APS-C and Micro Four Thirds) cameras. However, because the Swirl effect is created around the edges of the frame, the Twist and Burnside lenses are not recommended for Micro Four Thirds cameras as the effect is largely cropped from the image.

However, the Trio 28 is an unusual standalone lens that is specifically designed for use with cameras that have smaller sensors. It enables three effects, Sweet, Velvet and Twist / Swirl.

Lensbaby Trio 28

Which Lensbaby should I buy?

The first decision that you need to make when purchasing or selecting a Lensbaby, is what type of effect do you want, Sweet, Edge, Velvet or Swirl. I’ve already indicated some typical uses for the effects, but Lensbaby fans use their Lensbabies for all sorts of photography and while one might use a Velvet lens for portraits and other will use them for landscapes or macro photography.

There is no right or wrong with Lensbabies.

In some cases the type of effect that you want to create dictates the type of Lensbaby that you need. The Velvet effect, for example can only be created by standalone lenses, the Velvet 28, Velvet 56, Velvet 85 and Trio 28. Conversely, the Edge effect is only possible with an optic swap kit using one of the Edge optics, the Edge 35, Edge 50 and Edge 80.

The Sweet effect is only possible with the Trio standalone lens or the optic-swap system with a Sweet 35, Sweet 50 or Sweet 80 optic.

The Swirl or Twist effect is created by the Twist 60 optic, which often comes with its own straight barrel, or the Trio 20 and Burnside 35 standalone lenses.

Anything else I should know about Lensbabies?

As well as being manual focus, Lensbaby lenses have no electrical contacts so your camera cannot set the aperture. Where the aperture is adjustable on a Lensbaby lens, there’s an aperture ring. However, the camera cannot tell which aperture setting has been selected, so this information is missing in the exposure display and in the image’s EXIF data.

Most but not all of the Lensbaby lens names give a clue to the effect they create as well as their full-frame focal length. The Velvet 56, for example, is a 56mm lens that creates the Velvet effect and the Edge 35 is a 35mm optic that creates the Edge effect. The Trio 28 is a 28mm lens that enables 3 effects to be created. It’s the Burnside 35 that causes most confusion, it’s a 35mm lens that creates the Swirl or Twist effect.

You should select the focal length of a Lensbaby in the same way that you would any other lens. Remember to bear in mind the focal length multiplication factor of smaller format sensors, 1.5x or 1.6x with APS-C and 2x with Micro Four Thirds. Follow the link to read about sensor size and focal length magnification.

Which type of Lensbaby lens should I buy?

While the first decision when selecting a Lensbaby is to which effect you want, it’s also important to consider whether you want a standalone lens or an optic swap lens. And if you want to go for optic-swap, what sort of housing do you want?

Here are the options.

Lensbaby Spark 2.0

Lensbaby Spark 2.0

Specification

  • Product type: Flexible lens body
  • Format: Full-frame or smaller
  • Available mounts: Canon EF, Canon RF, Fujifilm X, Micro Four Thirds, Nikon F, Nikon Z, Sony FE, Pentax K
  • Optic compatibility: Lensbaby optic-swap system optics, usually supplied with the Sweet 50
  • Focus: Manual

The Lensbaby Spark 2.0 builds on the original Lensbaby and has a similar concertina style barrel that is squeezed or stretched to focus.

As the barrel bends, the plane of focus moves around the frame to create more interesting images with distorted background highlights and blur.

It’s a very simple lens system that’s fun to use with a variety of optics, but its best suited to hand-held photography.

It’s worth keeping in mind that the Spark 2.0 is about spontaneity and creativity, the bendy nature of the barrel means that it’s not ideally suited to shooting images with exactly the same appearance.

Price when reviewed
£104
$139.95 / £189 / $199.95
Check current price

For

  • Enables attractive in-camera results
  • Compatible with a wide range of Lensbaby Optic Swap optics
  • Great for mindful photography

Against

  • Not widely available 'barrel-only' in the UK
  • Not weather-sealed
  • Tricky to reproduce exactly the same effect from shot to shot

Lensbaby Composer Pro II

Lensbaby Composer Pro II

Specification

  • Product type: Flexible lens body
  • Format: Full-frame or smaller
  • Available mounts: Canon EF, Canon RF, Fujifilm X, Micro Four Thirds, Nikon F, Nikon Z, Sony FE, Pentax K
  • Optic compatibility: Lensbaby optic-swap system optics, usually supplied with the Sweet 50
  • Focus: Manual

The Lensbaby Composer Pro II enables similar movements to the Spark 2.0 but it’s more controlled. There’s a ring that allows you to tighten the shifting movement so that the plane of focus stays in the same location in the frame from shot-to-shot.

Focusing is also a little more conventional as there’s a focus ring.

The additional control offered by the Composer Pro II means that although it is suitable for hand-held shooting it’s a better choice than the Spark 2.0 if you want to shoot with the camera on a tripod.

Price when reviewed
£189
$194.95
Check current price

For

  • Enables attractive in-camera results
  • Compatible with a wide range of Lensbaby Optic Swap optics
  • Great for mindful photography

Against

  • Not widely available 'barrel-only' in the UK

Lensbaby Twist 60

Lensbaby Twist 60

Specification

  • Product type: Swappable optic and barrel
  • Format: Full-frame or smaller
  • Creative effect: Swirl
  • Optic compatibility: Lensbaby optic-swap system, supplied barrel, Composer Pro II, Spark 2.0
  • Construction: 4 elements in 3 groups
  • Aperture range: f/2.5-22
  • Aperture blades: 12
  • Focusing distance: 45.7cm / 18inches
  • Filter size: 46mm
  • Focus: Manual
  • Dimensions: 7.29cm x 3.81cm / 2.87 x 1.5inches
  • Weight: 144.6g / 5.1oz

The Twist 60 optic can sometimes be found for sale by itself but it’s more usually seen on sale with a lens barrel. This doesn’t offer any shift movement but there’s a focus ring that makes getting the subject sharp easy.

As you might guess, the Twist 60 optic creates a Swirl effect around the edges of the image frame.

If you fancy the convenience of Lensbaby’s optic-swap system but you’re not interested in shifting the focal plane around, the Twist 60 could make a wise investment as the barrel can be used with other optics as well as the Twist 60 it comes with.

As mentioned earlier, the Twist 60 is not recommended for Micro Four Thirds cameras.

Price when reviewed
£110
$119.95
Check current price

For

  • Enables attractive in-camera results
  • Usually supplied with a barrel

Against

  • Not often sold by itself
  • The swirl effect is cropped out on Micro Four Thirds cameras

Best Lensbaby Sweet lenses

The Sweet effect is a circular area of sharp focus with blur around it. Shooting at a wide aperture creates a stronger effect.

Lensbaby Sweet 50

Lensbaby Sweet 50

Specification

  • Product type: Swappable optic
  • Format: Full-frame or smaller
  • Creative effect: Sweet spot of focus
  • Optic compatibility: Lensbaby optic-swap system, Composer Pro II, Spark 2.0
  • Construction: 2 elements in 1 group
  • Aperture range: f/2.5-22
  • Aperture blades: 12
  • Focusing distance: 38.1cm / 15inches
  • Filter size: 46mm
  • Focus: Manual
  • Dimensions: 5.08 x 6.35cm / 2 x 2.5inches
  • Weight: 184.3g / 6.5oz

The Sweet 50 optic is frequently sold with the Composer Pro II and Spark 2.0 lens housings. So if you’re planning to buy your first Lensbaby Optic Swap system, you may get it as part of the kit.

Its a good starting point and a great all-rounder for a wide variety of subjects.

The 50 in its name indicates that it is a 50mm lens.

As the lens housing is bent, the bokeh, or out of focus areas, in the image distort and stretch. It’s particularly effective and attractive when there are lights or other highlights in the background.

Price when reviewed
£110
$119.95
Check current price

For

  • Enables attractive in-camera results
  • Small size

Against

  • Impact lost with Micro Four Thirds cameras

Lensbaby Trio 28

Lensbaby Trio

Specification

  • Product type: Creative lens
  • Creative effect: Velvet, Sweet and Twist
  • Focal length: 28mm, effective 42-56mm depending upon the camera
  • Format: APS-C and Four Thirds
  • Available mounts: Canon RF, Fujifilm X, Micro Four Thirds, Nikon Z, Sony E
  • Construction: Twist 4 Elements in 3 Groups, Velvet: 3 Elements in 2 Groups, Sweet 3 Elements in 3 Groups
  • Focus: Manual
  • Aperture range: Fixed f/3.5
  • Dimension: 6.99cm / 2-inches wide
  • Weight: 138.9g / 4.9oz

This 28mm lens is specifically designed for use on smaller format cameras. On an APS-C model it produces images comparable with a lens with a focal length of around 28mm on a full-frame camera. On a Micro Four Thirds camera, the focal length is equivalent to 56mm.

There are three optics on the Trio 28, Sweet, Velvet and Twist / Swirl. It’s easy to swap between them as the optical section of the lens rotates  with each lens clicking nicely into place.

The Trio makes a great first Lensbaby for anyone with a camera that has an APS-C or Micro Four Thirds sensor. It can also be used on full-frame cameras with a crop setting.

Price when reviewed
£229
$249.95
Check current price

For

  • Three effects from one lens
  • Easy to use
  • Specifically designed for smaller sensors

Against

  • Fixed aperture
  • Not weather-sealed

Lensbaby Sol 45

Lensbaby Sol 45

Specification

  • Product type: Creative lens
  • Focal Length: 45mm
  • Creative effect: Sweet plus diffusion swirl and slight tilt
  • Format: Full-frame or smaller
  • Lens mount: Available in Canon EF and RF, Nikon F and Z, Fujifilm X, Sony E, Pentax K
  • Aperture Range: Fixed f/3.5
  • Focusing: Manual
  • Minimum focus distance: 35.64cm / 14inches
  • Filter thread: 46mm
  • Construction: Metal barrel, 3 elements in 2 groups
  • Number of aperture blades: -
  • Weight: DSLR 150g/ 256.8g / 5.3oz Mirrorless 9.06oz
  • Dimensions: 72.9 x 38.1mm / 2.87 x 1.5 inches

This attractively-priced 45mm lens is like a blend of the Composer Pro II and a standalone lens. Its optics cannot be exchanged, but the lens barrel has some tilting movement so that you can move the sweet spot of focus around the frame.

There are also some bokeh blades that can be pulled across the lens’s front element to add some blur and swirl.

Lensbaby Sol 45

Price when reviewed
£179
$199
Check current price

For

  • Easy in-camera sweet-spot and swirl bokeh effect
  • Easy to use
  • Slight shift effect possible

Against

  • Manual focus only
  • Fixed aperture

Best Lensbaby Edge lenses

The Edge effect is a slice or band of sharp focus with blur either side. This band can be moved and rotated around the image frame by bending the Composer Pro II or Spark 2.0 housing.

Lensbaby Edge 35

Lensbaby Edge 35

Specification

  • Product type: Swappable optic
  • Format: Full-frame or smaller
  • Creative effect: Edges - slice of focus
  • Optic compatibility: Lensbaby optic-swap system, Composer Pro II, Spark 2.0
  • Construction: 9 elements in 6 groups
  • Aperture range: f/3.5-22
  • Aperture blades: 8
  • Focusing distance: 17.9cm / 7inches
  • Filter size: N/A
  • Focus: Manual
  • Dimensions: 63.5 x 80mm / 2.5 x 3.1inches
  • Weight: 453g / 16oz

The Lensbaby Edge 35 is one of the longer, heavier optic-swap optics, but it’s a great one for landscape, street and general photography.

The 35mm focal length is a very popular choice for a wide variety of photographic subjects while the slice of sharpness adds extra interest.

Price when reviewed
£229
$249.95
Check current price

For

  • Enables attractive in-camera results
  • Good sharpness

Against

  • Doesn't suit all scenes
  • Using it takes some practice

Best Lensbaby Velvet lenses

The Lensbaby Velvet effect has a soft glow, the subject isn’t defocused as such, but there’s an attractive smoothness. The strongest effect is created when the aperture is wide open and it can be removed by closing the aperture down to around f/8.

Lensbaby Velvet 28

Specification

  • Product type: Creative lens
  • Focal Length: 28mm
  • Creative effect: Soft, velvety glow
  • Format: Full-frame or smaller
  • Lens mount: Available in Canon EF and RF, Nikon F and Z, Fujifilm X, Sony E, Micro Four Thirds, Pentax K
  • Aperture Range: f/2.5 – 22 with bonus ⅓ stop of light (indicated by + on aperture dial) beyond 2.5
  • Focusing: Manual
  • Minimum focus distance: 5cm / 2inches
  • Macro: 1:2 scale
  • Filter thread: 67mm
  • Construction: Metal barrel, 8 multi-coated glass elements in 7 groups
  • Number of aperture blades: 12
  • Weight: DSLR version: 471.74g / 1.04lb, Mirrorless version: 594.2g / 1.31glb
  • Dimensions: 2.85 x 2.85 x 2.5inches

The wide angle of this 28mm lens on a full-frame camera makes it a good choice for capturing landscape images with a magical ethereal glow, but it’s also a nice choice for environmental portraiture when you want to capture some context around your subject.

Price when reviewed
£519
$549.95
Check current price

For

  • Easy in-camera velvet/glow effect
  • Very close focusing
  • Ring control over aperture

Against

  • Manual focus only
  • No weather sealing

Lensbaby Velvet 56

Lensbaby Velvet 56

Specification

  • Product type: Creative lens
  • Focal Length: 56mm
  • Creative effect: Soft, velvety glow
  • Format: Full-frame or smaller
  • Lens mount: Available in Canon EF and RF, Nikon F and Z, Fujifilm X, Sony E, Micro Four Thirds, Pentax K
  • Aperture Range: f/1.6 – 16
  • Focusing: Manual
  • Minimum focus distance: 12.7cm / 5inches
  • Macro reproduction: 1:2
  • Filter thread: 62mm
  • Construction: Metal barrel, 4 elements in 3 groups
  • Number of aperture blades: 12
  • Dimensions: 8.53 x 7.2cm / 2.85 x 2.85 x 2.5inches
  • Weight: 409.9g / 14.46oz

A focal length of 56mm makes this full-frame lens equivalent to an 84mm lens when it’s mounted on an APS-C format camera and a 112mm on a Micro Four Thirds camera. Consequently, it’s a nice choice for portraits on APS-C and Micro Four Thirds cameras.

It’s also useful for portraits on full-frame cameras, but the 1:2 reproduction ratio at its closest focusing point makes it attractive for close-up photography.

Price when reviewed
£399
$449.95
Check current price

For

  • Easy in-camera velvet/glow effect
  • Ring control over aperture

Against

  • Manual focus only
  • No weather sealing

Lensbaby Velvet 85

Lensbaby Velvet 85

Specification

  • Product type: Creative lens
  • Focal Length: 85mm
  • Creative effect: Soft, velvety glow
  • Format: Full-frame or smaller
  • Lens mount: Available in Canon EF and RF, Nikon F and Z, Fujifilm X, Sony E, Micro Four Thirds, Pentax K
  • Aperture Range: f/1.8 – 16
  • Focusing: Manual
  • Minimum focus distance: 24.1cm / 9.5inches
  • Macro reproduction: 1:2
  • Filter thread: 67mm
  • Construction: Metal barrel, 4 elements in 3 groups
  • Number of aperture blades: 12
  • Dimensions: 8.9 x 7.6cm / 3.5 x 2.85 x 7.6inches
  • Weight: 530g / 18.7oz

The Lensbaby Velvet 85 is a popular choice for portrait photography with full-frame cameras.

Shooting with a wide aperture, perhaps not fully open, creates an attractive glow which is very flattering to skin.

The lens’s long focus throw enables precise focusing so you can be sure to get your subject’s eyes sharp.

Price when reviewed
£479
$499.95
Check current price

For

  • Easy in-camera velvet/glow effect
  • Ring control over aperture
  • Great focal length for portraits on full-frame cameras

Against

  • Manual focus only
  • No weather sealing

Lensbaby Trio 28

Lensbaby Trio

Specification

  • Product type: Creative lens
  • Creative effect: Velvet, Sweet and Twist
  • Focal length: 28mm, effective 42-56mm depending upon the camera
  • Format: APS-C and Four Thirds
  • Available mounts: Canon RF, Fujifilm X, Micro Four Thirds, Nikon Z, Sony E
  • Construction: Twist 4 Elements in 3 Groups, Velvet: 3 Elements in 2 Groups, Sweet 3 Elements in 3 Groups
  • Focus: Manual
  • Aperture range: Fixed f/3.5
  • Dimension: 6.99cm / 2-inches wide
  • Weight: 138.9g / 4.9oz

Rotating the Trio 28’s optics around to the Velvet lens enables you to capture images with a subtle soft glow. The effect isn’t as strong as with one of the dedicated Velvet lenses and there’s no control over the aperture setting which is fixed at f/3.5, but it still produces attractive results with a well-priced lens.

Price when reviewed
£229
$249.95
Check current price

For

  • Three effects from one lens
  • Easy to use
  • Specifically designed for smaller sensors

Against

  • Fixed aperture
  • Not weather-sealed

Best Lensbaby Swirl or Twist lenses

Lensbaby’s Swirl or Twist effect, which almost makes the out of focus areas at the edges of the image look like they have moved during the exposure, is easiest to see when the subject has04 a busy background, it’s not visible with a plain background.

Lensbaby Twist 60

Lensbaby Twist 60

Specification

  • Product type: Swappable optic and barrel
  • Format: Full-frame or smaller
  • Creative effect: Swirl
  • Optic compatibility: Lensbaby optic-swap system, supplied barrel, Composer Pro II, Spark 2.0
  • Construction: 4 elements in 3 groups
  • Aperture range: f/2.5-22
  • Aperture blades: 12
  • Focusing distance: 45.7cm / 18inches
  • Filter size: 46mm
  • Focus: Manual
  • Dimensions: 7.29cm x 3.81cm / 2.87 x 1.5inches
  • Weight: 144.6g / 5.1oz

As this is an optic rather than a standalone lens, the Twist 60 can be used in the Composer Pro II or the Spark 2.0 as well as the straight barrel that it is usually sold with.

The 60mm focal length makes the Twist 60 suitable for photographing a wide variety of subjects including portraits, street, detail and landscape photography.

As previously mentioned, as the Swirl effect is visible at the edges of the image and the Twist 60 covers a full-frame sensor, this optic is not recommended for Micro Four Thirds cameras as the effect is cropped out.

Price when reviewed
£110
$119.95
Check current price

For

  • Enables attractive in-camera results
  • Usually supplied with a barrel

Against

  • Not often sold by itself
  • The swirl effect is cropped out on Micro Four Thirds cameras

Lensbaby Burnside 35

Lensbaby Burnside 35 Review

Specification

  • Product type: Creative lens
  • Focal Length: 35mm
  • Creative effect: Swirl
  • Format: Full-frame or smaller
  • Lens mount: Available in Canon EF and RF, Nikon F and Z, Fujifilm X, Sony E, Pentax K
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 – 16
  • Focusing: Manual
  • Minimum focus distance: 15.24cm / 6inches
  • Filter thread: 62mm
  • Construction: Metal barrel, 6 multi-coated glass elements in 4 groups
  • Number of aperture blades: 6 blade internal aperture, 8 blade secondary aperture
  • Weight: 374g / 13.2oz
  • Dimensions: 69.9 x 66.7mm / 2.75 x 2.67inches

The Lensbaby Burnside 35 has the same high-quality build and feel as the Lensbaby Velvet lenses but it creates the swirl effect on a full-frame or APS-C format camera (it’s best on full-frame).

Unusually, the Burnside 35 has a secondary aperture that is open and closed with a sliding switch on the lens barrel. Closing down this aperture adds vignetting which can give the subject more impact in the frame.

Price when reviewed
£449
$499.95
Check current price

For

  • Easy in-camera swirl effect
  • Ring control over aperture

Against

  • Manual focus only
  • No weather sealing

Lensbaby Trio 28

Lensbaby Trio

Specification

  • Product type: Creative lens
  • Creative effect: Velvet, Sweet and Twist
  • Focal length: 28mm, effective 42-56mm depending upon the camera
  • Format: APS-C and Four Thirds
  • Available mounts: Canon RF, Fujifilm X, Micro Four Thirds, Nikon Z, Sony E
  • Construction: Twist 4 Elements in 3 Groups, Velvet: 3 Elements in 2 Groups, Sweet 3 Elements in 3 Groups
  • Focus: Manual
  • Aperture range: Fixed f/3.5
  • Dimension: 6.99cm / 2-inches wide
  • Weight: 138.9g / 4.9oz

As with the other two effects lenses on the Lensbaby Trio 28, it’s not possible to adjust the aperture or the degree of Swirl that’s created by the Twist optic, but that means you can concentrate on getting the composition and focus just right.

Price when reviewed
£229
$249.95
Check current price

For

  • Three effects from one lens
  • Easy to use
  • Specifically designed for smaller sensors

Against

  • Fixed aperture
  • Not weather-sealed

Best Lensbaby for portraits

Photographers often ask which Lensbaby is best for portraits, and the truth is that you can shoot portraits with any Lensbaby. However, there are some that make a more natural choice or that have become especially popular amongst professional and enthusiast portrait photographers.

Lensbaby Velvet 56

Lensbaby Velvet 56

Specification

  • Product type: Creative lens
  • Focal Length: 56mm
  • Creative effect: Soft, velvety glow
  • Format: Full-frame or smaller
  • Lens mount: Available in Canon EF and RF, Nikon F and Z, Fujifilm X, Sony E, Micro Four Thirds, Pentax K
  • Aperture Range: f/1.6 – 16
  • Focusing: Manual
  • Minimum focus distance: 12.7cm / 5inches
  • Macro reproduction: 1:2
  • Filter thread: 62mm
  • Construction: Metal barrel, 4 elements in 3 groups
  • Number of aperture blades: 12
  • Dimensions: 8.53 x 7.2cm / 2.85 x 2.85 x 2.5inches
  • Weight: 409.9g / 14.46oz

The Lensbaby Velvet lenses are very popular for portraiture because the effect they produce is flattering to skin and it can save you a lot of time editing at your computer after the shoot.

A focal length of 56mm equates to around 84-89.6mm on an APS-C format camera and 112mm on Micro Four Thirds, which makes it a great choice for classic head or head and shoulder shots.

Price when reviewed
£399
$449.95
Check current price

For

  • Easy in-camera velvet/glow effect
  • Ring control over aperture

Against

  • Manual focus only
  • No weather sealing

Lensbaby Velvet 85

Lensbaby Velvet 85

Specification

  • Product type: Creative lens
  • Focal Length: 85mm
  • Creative effect: Soft, velvety glow
  • Format: Full-frame or smaller
  • Lens mount: Available in Canon EF and RF, Nikon F and Z, Fujifilm X, Sony E, Micro Four Thirds, Pentax K
  • Aperture Range: f/1.8 – 16
  • Focusing: Manual
  • Minimum focus distance: 24.1cm / 9.5inches
  • Macro reproduction: 1:2
  • Filter thread: 67mm
  • Construction: Metal barrel, 4 elements in 3 groups
  • Number of aperture blades: 12
  • Dimensions: 8.9 x 7.6cm / 3.5 x 2.85 x 7.6inches
  • Weight: 530g / 18.7oz

The Lensbaby Velvet 85 has all the benefits of the Velvet 56 for portraiture, but the 85mm focal length is very popular for full-frame cameras.

Shooting wide open at f/1.8 will also blur the background very effectively, but bear in mind it will also have the most dramatic velvet effect, so you might want to close down a little so there’s just a soft glow to your subject. After all, you want to flatter them, not suggest they need a soft focus filter!

Price when reviewed
£479
$499.95
Check current price

For

  • Easy in-camera velvet/glow effect
  • Ring control over aperture
  • Great focal length for portraits on full-frame cameras

Against

  • Manual focus only
  • No weather sealing

Lensbaby Twist 60

Lensbaby Twist 60

Specification

  • Product type: Swappable optic and barrel
  • Format: Full-frame or smaller
  • Creative effect: Swirl
  • Optic compatibility: Lensbaby optic-swap system, supplied barrel, Composer Pro II, Spark 2.0
  • Construction: 4 elements in 3 groups
  • Aperture range: f/2.5-22
  • Aperture blades: 12
  • Focusing distance: 45.7cm / 18inches
  • Filter size: 46mm
  • Focus: Manual
  • Dimensions: 7.29cm x 3.81cm / 2.87 x 1.5inches
  • Weight: 144.6g / 5.1oz

The Lensbaby Twist 60 creates an attractive swirl effect around the edges of the frame, which can be a brilliant way of putting emphasis on a portrait subject.

It works especially well when the background has some detail, foliage or and urban environment for example. That makes the Twist 60 an excellent choice for outdoor and socially-distanced shoots.

A focal length of 60mm is a little shorter than the classic 85mm for portraits on a full-frame camera, but it works well for head and shoulder or full-length portraits. On an APS-C format camera you’re looking at an effective focal length of 90-96mm, which is an attractive focal length for classic portraiture.

Price when reviewed
£110
$119.95
Check current price

For

  • Enables attractive in-camera results
  • Usually supplied with a barrel

Against

  • Not often sold by itself
  • The swirl effect is cropped out on Micro Four Thirds cameras

Best Lensbaby for landscape photography

Although you can shoot landscapes with any Lensbaby and any focal length lens, the shorter focal length lenses are generally favoured.

Lensbaby Velvet 28

Specification

  • Product type: Creative lens
  • Focal Length: 28mm
  • Creative effect: Soft, velvety glow
  • Format: Full-frame or smaller
  • Lens mount: Available in Canon EF and RF, Nikon F and Z, Fujifilm X, Sony E, Micro Four Thirds, Pentax K
  • Aperture Range: f/2.5 – 22 with bonus ⅓ stop of light (indicated by + on aperture dial) beyond 2.5
  • Focusing: Manual
  • Minimum focus distance: 5cm / 2inches
  • Macro: 1:2 scale
  • Filter thread: 67mm
  • Construction: Metal barrel, 8 multi-coated glass elements in 7 groups
  • Number of aperture blades: 12
  • Weight: DSLR version: 471.74g / 1.04lb, Mirrorless version: 594.2g / 1.31glb
  • Dimensions: 2.85 x 2.85 x 2.5inches

As it has a focal length of 28mm, the Velvet 28 is one of shortest focal length Lensbabies available.

While there are professional wedding and portrait photographers who use it to shoot environmental portraits, it is perhaps more likely to find a home in a landscape photographer’s kit bag.

With a small apertures, the Velvet 28 produces sharp results with lots of detail, but the velvet effect at wider apertures is the whole point of buying a Lensbaby Velvet. It can add a touch of magic to all sorts of landscape images, putting the emphasis on composition and atmosphere rather crisp details.

Price when reviewed
£519
$549.95
Check current price

For

  • Easy in-camera velvet/glow effect
  • Very close focusing
  • Ring control over aperture

Against

  • Manual focus only
  • No weather sealing

Lensbaby Edge 35

Lensbaby Edge 35

Specification

  • Product type: Swappable optic
  • Format: Full-frame or smaller
  • Creative effect: Edges - slice of focus
  • Optic compatibility: Lensbaby optic-swap system, Composer Pro II, Spark 2.0
  • Construction: 9 elements in 6 groups
  • Aperture range: f/3.5-22
  • Aperture blades: 8
  • Focusing distance: 17.9cm / 7inches
  • Filter size: N/A
  • Focus: Manual
  • Dimensions: 63.5 x 80mm / 2.5 x 3.1inches
  • Weight: 453g / 16oz

Paired with the Composer Pro II, the Edge 35 can make a good choice of Lensbaby for landscape photography.

It’s 35mm focal length is well-suited to the genre and the ‘slice’ of sharp focus creates some interesting effects. With the right shooting angle it can seem like you’re photographing a model, or the restricted depth of field can be useful for isolating key elements within the scene.

Price when reviewed
£229
$249.95
Check current price

For

  • Enables attractive in-camera results
  • Good sharpness

Against

  • Doesn't suit all scenes
  • Using it takes some practice
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