Picture Soup Blog

The online destination for your [photo] imagination.

What is a select focus lens that isn’t always a select focus lens? A Lensbaby with the Fisheye Optic!

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By Diane Berkenfeld

Lensbaby Fisheye Optic.

One of the newest optics for the Lensbaby Composer is the Fisheye Optic, which isn’t select focus, but it does let you capture images with 160° field of view. At its ultra-wide 12mm focal length, the Fisheye Optic is an f/4 optic with aperture disks that range from f/5.6 to f/22. To use the aperture disks, you simply unscrew the front element and switch the aperture disk with the Optic Swap Tool; the aperture disk rests just above the bottom element. The lens itself is a six element multi-coated lens. Owners of the Lensbaby Muse can utilize the Fisheye Optic with an optional adapter. The Fisheye Optic is not compatible with the Lensbaby Control Freak lens.

One of the coolest features of the Fisheye Optic is that its minimum focus is only 1.3 centimeters (that’s a half inch) from the front of the optic to infinity. This means your subject can practically lean over and touch the optic. Because your subject is so close to the Fisheye, you really get a lot of great distortion. When you place the subject further away from the camera, you end up with the image inside of a 360° circle. Depending upon how close you are to the subject, part of the circle may be cropped out of view.

I love using this new Lensbaby optic, partly because I can now say I have a Fisheye lens, for much less than the cost of an actual Fisheye lens. Depending upon your aperture, you’ll have more or less depth of field. However by being only centimeters away from your subject, even at a wide aperture you can really see depth in your image—to the point of unreal distortion—but the effect can be way cool.

This image of Gracie, a four month old kitten was taken with the Lensbaby Composer and Fisheye Optic on a Nikon D300s DSLR. You can see that I was almost close enough for the edges of the circle to be cropped out of view (see corners of the image). Photo © Diane Berkenfeld.

A second view of Gracie, also taken with the Fisheye Optic, at f/4, with the Lensbaby Composer on a Nikon D300s. Note the depth in her face almost makes this little housecat look like a baby tiger. Photo © Diane Berkenfeld.

If you were reinvigorated as a creative photographer when you first began shooting with a Lensbaby, give the Fisheye Optic a try—it will give you yet another boost of creative energy to experiment capturing photographs of all manners of subjects in yet another new way.

For more information on the Lensbaby system of lenses and optics, check out the website www.lensbaby.com.


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