The Lensbaby 3G in action

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David Kilpatrick
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The Lensbaby 3G in action

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Sun May 20, 2007 12:41 am

I've been testing the Lensbaby 3G, which I thought was a bit of a rip-off for a magnifying glass on a rubber bellows. How wrong I was! It turns out to be a cemented low-dispersion doublet designed to produce a really sharp image core even at f2, the maximum aperture. I will be posting a review of this accessory once many more photos have been taken, and I'll be putting an article in the Summer 07 Photoworld.

Here is a sample image, snapped while waiting for watch repair service, through a cabinet, with SSS on, auto white balance, A100, aperture priority, at full f2 aperture:

Image

and here is a section of another shot exported to 5120 pixels wide - on a typical 96dpi screen, the whole image should be 4 foot 6 inches wide - and it is not sharpened at all:

Image

It's not a magnifying glass on a tube, that's for sure. Even at f2 there is a core of exceptional sharpness, and the deliberate aberrations are something you never copy in Photoshop.

David

Hobbitofny
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Impressive

Unread postby Hobbitofny » Sun May 20, 2007 1:20 am

Impressive for close ups. Does it work also for portraits? :D
Dale

David Kilpatrick
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Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Sun May 20, 2007 1:34 am

It can be pushed back to focus on infinity, the main problem with portraits is to keep the focal plane more or less right - easy to get it skewed, not so easy to make it parallel. I am suggesting in my first review, which appears in Master Photo Digital, that Lensbaby should make multi-perforated aperture discs like the Imagon. All they supply is a set of Waterhouse stops from f2 to f16. Since these are magnetic-plastic discs, easily cut, they could make special aperture shapes like slits or stars, and also patterns of central sharpness and outer flare like old soft focus lenses.

I plan to make some myself to test the idea. Even as it stands, the Lensbaby can be used for portraits. On my A100, it needs +1 over-ride on Aperture Priority to give correct exposure. This is typical of manual T-mount optics. It comes with a well made A-mount and a rear lens cap with the Lensbaby name, moulded in dedicated A-mount. I reckon that is good. Many companies would just ignore our mount and do nothing but Canon and Nikon. Now you have just seen how my c*nsorsh*p - gotcha! works! For fun, but also to prevent invasive Canon and Nikon weeds.

David

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They sell different shaped Aperture Disks

Unread postby Hobbitofny » Sun May 20, 2007 1:51 am

"LLC introduced its new Lensbaby Creative Aperture Kit for use with the Lensbaby 3G and Lensbaby 2.0 Single Lens-Reflex (SLR) lenses. Each Lensbaby Creative Aperture Kit contains one star shaped aperture disk, one heart shaped aperture disk, and five blank disks. Photographers can fashion the blank disks into their own custom shaped apertures using a shaped paper punch (which can be found in craft stores) or a sharp knife.

With the Lensbaby Creative Aperture Disks, points of light in out of focus areas of the photo take on the shape of the hole in the aperture disk. If the photographer uses the star shaped aperture disk, points of light behind the subject appear as glowing stars, giving photographers one more tool to be creative with their cameras.

These new aperture disks are made of the same metalicized plastic and work the same way as the aperture disks that come with the Lensbaby 3G and Lensbaby 2.0. Photographers simply drop the disks into the front of their Lensbaby lens, where they are held in place by a magnetic field. "




Adorama in New York sells them for $9.95
Dale

David Kilpatrick
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Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Sun May 20, 2007 1:58 am

What date? Intro2020, the UK importers, have not released any news of this. I guess I should have searched, as I have gone to print suggesting this and they have done it already. I did this about 30 years ago, using a Komura 105mm f2.5 lens which could be easily dismantled and have custom apertures dropped in. They did not intend this!

I'll now have to contact Intro2020 and get the kit. I have a leather punch, but finding it might take me about a month...

David

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copy of news release

Unread postby Hobbitofny » Sun May 20, 2007 2:50 am

PRESS RELEASE: Lensbabies™ Introduces New Creative Aperture Kit


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

These new aperture disks provide additional profit opportunity for specialty retailers

Portland, OR (February 8, 2007) - Lensbabies, LLC introduces today its new Lensbaby Creative Aperture Kit for use with the Lensbaby 3G and Lensbaby 2.0 Single Lens-Reflex (SLR) lenses. Each Lensbaby Creative Aperture Kit contains one star shaped aperture disk, one heart shaped aperture disk, and five blank disks. Photographers can fashion the blank disks into their own custom shaped apertures using a shaped paper punch (which can be found in craft stores) or a sharp knife.

With the Lensbaby Creative Aperture Disks, points of light in out of focus areas of the photo take on the shape of the hole in the aperture disk. If the photographer uses the star shaped aperture disk, points of light behind the subject appear as glowing stars, giving photographers one more tool to be creative with their cameras.

"These new aperture kits were designed with creative Lensbaby users in mind," said Craig Strong, the inventor of the Lensbaby and Co-Founder of Lensbabies, LLC. "The attraction of Lensbaby lenses is that photographers can place a precise point of sharp focus anywhere in a picture's composition. These new Lensbaby Creative Aperture Kits now let photographers easily enhance the appearance of their pictures' out of focus areas."

These new aperture disks are made of the same metalicized plastic and work the same way as the aperture disks that come with the Lensbaby 3G and Lensbaby 2.0. Photographers simply drop the disks into the front of their Lensbaby lens, where they are held in place by a magnetic field. The new Lensbaby Creative Aperture Kit is available now for $9.99 on http://www.lensbabies.com , by calling 877-536-7222 / 971-223-5662, and from select specialty photo stores.

The Lensbaby 3G and Lensbaby 2.0 SLR lenses are compatible with a range of popular SLR camera bodies from Canon, Nikon, Olympus/Panasonic, Pentax/Samsung, Sony/Minolta and Leica. For more information about these lenses please visit http://www.lensbabies.com .

About Lensbabies
Lensbabies, LLC is a Portland, Oregon based manufacturer and marketer of award-winning selective focus SLR camera lenses. Lensbabies was launched in February 2004 by Craig Strong, a professional photographer and the inventor of the patent pending Lensbaby selective focus SLR lens. Lensbabies sells to photographers all over the world through its website, http://www.lensbabies.com , at tradeshows, and through specialty photographic equipment retailers.

# # # #


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(First posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 at 01:55 EST)
Dale

David Kilpatrick
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Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Sun May 20, 2007 10:40 am

The on-line prices seem very good especially for spare parts. The UK price of the 3G is £179 including tax which is approx $304 before tax. Importing would also attract a handling charge. Looks as if the cost of buying direct from their site would be about the same as UK retail. I've corrected the URLs which were not working. Seems like if you put a comma after a URL this BB system will try to include the comma, so a space must be left after the URL.

David

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Unread postby pakodominguez » Tue May 22, 2007 6:30 pm

Hi,

David Kilpatrick wrote:The on-line prices seem very good especially for spare parts. The UK price of the 3G is £179 including tax which is approx $304 before tax.

David


I got my G3 during the PhotoExpo Plus, here in NY, last November. And I had the chance to met Craig Strong, the inventor/founder. Really nice guy. The G3 is almost the definitive version of this lens. Adorama and B&H sell the whole system since last january. I thought they have a distributor in EU... here the prices at Adorama:

http://www.adorama.com/Search-Results.tpl?page=searchresults&searchinfo=lensbaby

regards
Pako
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Have you tried the

Unread postby GaryFriedman » Wed May 23, 2007 8:31 am

David,

Lensbaby is great, but have you tried the (slightly more serious) system from Zoerk?

http://www.zoerk.com/pages/p_mfs.htm

It's a bit pricey, but the lens is quite sharp!!

-Gary
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Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Wed May 23, 2007 10:24 am

Back in the earliest days on my pro career, I bought the Swiss-made 'Vario' PC/shilt tilt lens which had a 90mm Super Angulon mounted in it. Even on 35mm full frame, this was limiting, because physical vignetting from mirror box components in an SLR began to get in the way and the angle at which the lens had to be tilted/swung to get altered planes for macro work was too extreme even for the very thin S-A lens.

Later on, I got a Kenlock bellows system with full view camera movements and used a range of different lenses on this - 80mm CA Rokkor, 120mm HS-Nikkor (an opthalmic lens intended for 1:1), 100mm macro lens-head, head unit of 135mm f4.5 Leica screw lens etc. All the lenses which could be used with tilts were just to long to be of practical value.

I then got the Minolta Auto Bellows III system with 100mm f4 auto-iris lens head. This offered less contortions than the manual bellows, but still it was too easy to go beyond the circle of illumination or end up with parts of the bellows shading the image. I was working at this time with 6 x 9cm and 5 x 4" monorails, with lenses from 47mm (later on, the 58mm Super Angulon XL which was incredible) to 300mm and really the 35mm 'fixes' could never do the same job.

The Zork uses an 80mm Apo Rodagon. I have a 75mm f4 Apo Rodagon, and it's OK for macro work - as Zork comment, it would not focus to infinity on their adaptor.

Lensbaby, you may note, uses its shortest available focal length for the Alpha mount (approx 50mm). This is still pretty long for tilt/swing Schiempflug control. Some systems have to put up with 60mm. For the APS-C format, I really would like a 20mm tilt-shift lens. That is not a physical impossibility - the optical unit of a Pentacon Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 20mm f4, narrow enough to fit the Exakta mount, could probably be stripped down and installed in a sort of gimbal-ized M42 adaptor.

In the meantime, we have reported in Photoworld magazine on the Russian PC control adaptor which will fit the 30mm or 45mm Kiev lens (I only have the 80mm, watching for a dirt cheap 30 or 45) - and in the last issue, on the Loreo 'PC Lens in a Cap' which with a 35mm focal length and only 3mm of shift is next to useless.

The Lensbaby is next in line for this series of reports on oddity optics, maybe I'll line up a Zork kit to follow. Any other suggestions are welcome. I'll get round to adding articles on the various things we've covered so far. My last venture was to attempt to get the 8mm Peleng fisheye to focus on infinity and I regret to say I ended up chucking it into the bin.

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MC Flecktogon 2.8/20 Carl Zeiss Jena DDR on my A100

Unread postby Hobbitofny » Wed May 23, 2007 12:01 pm

I have mounted my MC Flecktogon 2.8/20 Carl Zeiss Jena DDR on the A100. The sensor design did not like this lens nor any of my 35mm and mf CZJ mc lenses. The flare is high and image was not sharp. I do not know sensor designs. I do know the results were not close to using those lenses on Reala film.

I do not think the Flecktogon would do what you want.

By the way the USSR m42 single coat lenses did not work well either. I had picked up a nice f2/85mm which was the pre-WWII Zeiss Sonnar lens for the Contax I and II. The USSR got the design as part of war prize. The lens was mounted in the 1960s for m42. The lenses had poor quality control, but a good example would perform at the level of the older Zeiss.

I do wish they did perform better on the A100.
Dale

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I had a feeling you would reply like that...

Unread postby GaryFriedman » Wed May 23, 2007 8:34 pm

Hi, David!

Why did I instinctively know that you not only knew about the Zoerk, but you also had mountains of experience with other earlier competitors as well? :-)

-Gary
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http://www.FriedmanArchives.com/ebooks


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