First off, I am very impressed with the Lensbaby system. It's put a lot of fun back into my photography and allows me to take impressive shots of subjects that other lenses would not show well. It can make something simple look extravagant and beautiful. The system is very flexible and fun to use. If you are the artsy type than it is a dream come true! I like the manual settings and really enjoy composing and creating beautiful shots with it. Lensbabys really are fun!
This type of lens is better suited for certain styles of photography than it is for others. I love the results that I've captured of skiing action, but am somewhat reluctant to pull it out of my bag for any shot that I need in perfect focus of fast moving action that can't be repeated twice (powder skiing shots). The composer is very simple to nail focus with, but can be difficult to capture a fast moving action subject in perfect focus in the right spot. This is not the lenses fault, the gear is well made, easy to use, and perfectly engineered. It's more the style of lens that is not best-suited for that type of work. If it's an action shot where I have multiple attempts, I will definitely be willing to shoot the Lensbaby, come mountain bike season it is game on!
For slow-moving or still photography, or for very predictable motions, the lens will work flawlessly and produce beautifully soft-focused (with the main subject sharp) images. The results I have achieved have been super unique and stylish. I could not recommend it enough for lifestyles, slow-moving action, or wedding/portrait work (especially on assignment).
The lenses are built very solidly, and have survived everything that several months of my shooting provides: water, snow, ice, wind, and drops on the ground(not often but sometimes things happen...). I even launched off a 25 foot cliff today on ski's with the lens and accessories in my pack with absolutely no damage (DISCLAIMER: Don't try this at home!). Not to mention that the lenses look great! The composer by itself fits beautifully on my D300 and does not look cheap. My only complaint is that the wide angle or telephoto adapter look like too many segments of lens. It kind of has to be that way, but maybe if the base of these were a little wider if would look less awkward.
The lenses exceeded my expectation, for such a great price they really do provide beautiful and (perfectly sharp where it counts) images. I feel very comfortable selling images created with the system because the quality is great, and will bring the gear on certain assignments with me. It will also be a great tool for stock imagery to help create more surreal and unique images.
I've enjoyed playing around with the fisheye, and love the way the barrel surrounds the image. Sometimes though, it would be nice to not see the barrel in the image, and still get a full range of tilt. The soft focus also creates great images, and has some very cool effects that comes with custom aperture discs. It would be great to shoot portraits and weddings with, or for a dreamy and romantic style shot.
The more time I spend using the Lensbabys, the more fun I have with them, they really will ignite a passion to go out and shoot more. I didn't notice any chromatic aberration and saw very little light falloff in the corners.
It's tough getting the subject of the image sharp at first, but with a little practice, and adjusting your diopter control, it becomes fairly quick to aim the lens the right way and create a sharp image. It's also really fun using the magnet stick to pull the aperture disc out and swap in a new one.
Everyone that I have shown the lens is blown away by how cool the selective focus is. It inspires my subjects to work harder with me to make sure we capture that perfect shot. The composer can, and has, set my work apart from most other professionals. Any device that will give me a leading edge and make my style different is a dream come true, and the Lensbaby composer does just that!
Overall, I would have to say that the Lensbaby system (including the adapters) is a great addition to any professional wedding/portrait, lifestyle, or slow-motion photographers bag, and a fun addition for all other types of photographers. I don't leave home without it, and am always looking for new and exciting ways to use the gear. It's perfect for those times when you just want to have fun with your camera and feel like a little kid again. Even subjects around my house become interesting when shot with a Lensbaby.
That's the BUZZ for Today! Please check back soon for more.