Lensbaby's newest version locks into place, providing more control over those
far-out selective focus and depth of field effects.
Be prepared for curious stares and lots of questions when you're out shooting with the the just-announced Lensbaby 3G. This is far and away the weirdest looking contraption to mount on the front of a camera in a quite a long time.
The Lensbaby 3G looks like a Lensbaby 2.0 that took an unexpected detour to Frankenstein's Lab. The 3G can be locked into position and even fine focused via those bolty knobby jobbers.
This is a different breed of Lensbaby -- the original and Lensbaby 2.0 have a certain spontaneity with the simple springy bellows. This is both the strength and weakness of the original design -- it is tough to get exactly repeatable results, but it is quick and responsive to the touch for on-the-fly shooting.
It is also a different shooting experience with the 3G; it takes some practice to adjust to pushing, pulling and bending around the boltyknobs before locking in your settings. It is more methodical, less spontaneous, but best of all, repeatable.
You can lock the LB3G into position and experiment with deeper and shallower depth of field for a product shot. The fine focus adjustment allows you to shift the sweet spot's sharp focus location ever-so-slightly from the front of a bouquet of roses, to a petal towards the back with just a slight spin.
You can position a model in the studio and experiment with lighting ratios, knowing that the focus of the LB3G will be exactly where you left it.
Long exposures of flowing water and night scenery with shutter speeds longer than a fraction of a second are now possible, without worrying about having to hold the LB perfectly still all the while to keep it sharp.
It's a different breed of Lensbaby, but the 3G is a Lensbaby nonetheless. Just for fun, we attempted to analyze the distortion of the Lensbaby 3G using DxO 2.0, and the results were off the chart! (We've included several DxO dot-pattern target shots, to give the reader an idea of some of the distortions possible with the 3G.)
The Lensbaby 3G is compatible with the company's adapter lenses announced last week. We did notice some edge vignetting with the 0.6 Wide Angle/Macro Lens at maximum aperture at really bent positions in our field tests.
It should be pointed out that the 3G is not a replacement for the 2.0, but rather an addition to the lineup for those who crave a bit more control over their Lensbaby photos. The Lensbaby 3G has a suggested retail price of $270, is available in Canon EF, Nikon F, Olympus 4/3rds/Panasonic, Pentax K/Samsung, and Sony Alpha/Minolta Maxxum mounts, and should be available in mid-October.