If you have any doubts about the quality of the build of the Lensbaby Velvet 28, you only need to pick it up to be reassured. It’s nicely-weighted and it’s immediately apparent that the barrel is made from metal.
Rotate the focus ring, which occupies most of the lens barrel, and you’ll find the movement is smooth, with just the right degree of torque required to turn it.
While the aperture plays a role in controlling exposure, its main role with the Velvet 28 is controlling the degree of softness. The wider the aperture, the greater the softness. Using a small aperture produces a sharp image.
The aperture ring has click stops, which give some guidance when you adjust the setting with the camera to your eye, however, I found it hard to discern some of the middle range, especially f/4, and the camera cannot show the aperture setting in the viewfinder. While that might sound annoying, it’s not as bad as you might think because it’s easy to assess image sharpness (and exposure with a mirrorless camera) in the viewfinder.
Although the Lensbaby Velvet 28 can be used on DSLRs, it is perhaps most at home on a mirrorless camera. The live view enlargement in the viewfinder makes it easier to be sure that you’ve got your main subject in focus, for example, and if there’s any doubt you can activate the focus peaking where it’s available.
A mirrorless camera’s viewfinder can also show the image as it will be captured, complete with the impact of the exposure settings.