image by Martin Taylor (Image rights)
Lensbabies are selective-focus lenses made for SLR cameras that have a central spot that is in focus, with the rest of the field out-of-focus. This results in a sharp image in the center, with blur all around it. This simulates the old trick used by photographers of smearing Vaseline on a piece of glass in front of the lens to create a soft, blurred background. The Lensbaby is made of bendable tubing so that the "sweet spot" of focus can be easily moved around all over the frame.
This lens may appeal to people who like the look of pinhole or Holga photography, but would like to get the same effect with a digital or film SLR camera.
Two versions of the lens are currently available:
- The Original Lensbaby: Portrait and art photographers love this lens wide-open because it has a beautifully diffused look.
- Lensbaby 2.0: This newer version has a sharper sweet spot even wide-open, and comes with "magnetically levitated" apertures (see the company's web site for more information).
- Lensbaby 3.0 Has the same optics as 2.0 but three screw clamps built into it that allows you retain a specific focus position and more accurately adjust the tilt-shift planes.
The inventor, Craig Strong, is a wedding photographer and photojournalist in Portland, OR, USA. Lenbsbabies, LLC was started in March, 2004.