Lensbaby Lensbabies are unique optics that come with a flexible “barrel,” allowing you to twist, shift and tilt them to achieve precise selective-focus effects. The latest Lensbabies feature a new design that makes it easier than ever to put focus and depth of field just where you want them. The Lensbaby Composer is based on a ball-and-socket configuration that allows for one-handed operation, and features interchangeable optics. It comes with the 50mm multicoated optical-glass doublet Double Glass optic that was used in the Lensbaby 2.0 and 3G lenses. Available as accessories are the 50mm Single Glass uncoated optical-glass singlet similar to the one in the original Lensbaby, but one stop brighter (ƒ/2.0), the 50mm ƒ/2.0 Plastic singlet that maximizes blur and diffusion, and the Pinhole/Zone Plate, an optic cup with an ƒ/177 aperture for pinhole photography and an ƒ/19 Zone plate opening. Estimated Street Price: $270 (with Double Glass; the Single Glass, Plastic, and Pinhole/Zone plate are $35 each). Contact: Lensbaby, (877) 536-7222, www.lensbaby.com.
Angle Of View What makes a lens wide-angle? Or telephoto? The format with which it’s used. A 28mm lens on a 35mm SLR is a wide-angle. It takes in a 75º angle of view, much more than the 46º angle of view of the format’s 50mm “normal” lens. Put the same 28mm lens on a D-SLR with an APS-C sensor, which is much smaller than a full 35mm image frame, and it’s no longer “wide-angle”— the smaller sensor “sees” much less of the image produced by the lens, cropping the image to about the area taken in by a “normal” lens on a 35mm SLR. Put a 28mm lens on a compact digital camera, with a much tinier sensor, and it becomes a “telephoto,” equivalent to maybe 157mm on a 35mm camera.
Incidentally, a true “telephoto” lens employs a specific design in which the focal length is longer than the lens’ physical length. But photographers have a habit of referring to all long lenses as “telephotos,” and from a practical standpoint, that’s fine. It’s just not always technically accurate.
Really Long Lens On A Budget If you want to try long-lens landscapes at very little cost, Adorama offers the Pro-Optic 500mm ƒ/6.3 mirror lens for $159.95, which can be fitted to a wide variety of 35mm and digital SLRs via a supplied T-mount. Of course, it’s not going to compete in sharpness with a $7,000 500mm ƒ/4 prime lens, but the manual-focus Pro-Optic lens is compact (4.6 inches long and 24.9 ounces), focuses down to 6.1 feet, and you can’t beat that price. Contact: Adorama, (888) 991-6599, www.adorama.com.