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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 23 Jul 2018 (Monday) 04:47
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An old photographer buys a gadget...

 
twoshadows
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Jul 23, 2018 04:47 |  #1

...in the form of a lensbaby composer pro II w/a 50mm edge. :eek:

That this lens, on paper, fit my needs was a surprise to me. I was looking at old/vintage lenses and somehow found this. After some thought I figured it made sense. My work has taken a heavy turn to surrealism, so a lens that does tricks should be right at home in my kit. Should be...

My requirements/preferenc​es were:

Close focusing (18" or less if not actual macro)
Manual, mechanical aperture.
I am less concerned about image quality, unless it's a dud. (I don't pixel peep)
Filter size, prefer =<58mm.

(Lensbaby has an mfd of 8", 46mm filter thread, mechanical aperture)

Instead of testing the lens, I put it to work as soon as I received it. Ergonomically, Lensbaby has a lot to learn. Controls/dials are stiff and difficult to access/actuate. Focus ring has no markings of any kind. Permanent marker fixed that. Regardless, the lens is useable. For those who don't know, the edge 50 creates a slice of in focus area across the frame. Since I am currently working with water and its surface, the edge 50 makes sense. I have included the first edited photo (self portrait) from this lens. It is not a keeper, as the focus is on my left hand and not my face (and the water line is not well represented). At this point I consider the missed focus a part of the learning curve as I am still figuring out just how the lens does what it does. But this gives a good idea, I think. (For the record, my right hand is on my upper stomach. ;) )


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For the purposes of this image and series, I believe this lens will be very effective. It will be interesting to see what other applications I can find for it. I may get the Sweet 35 or 85. But imo, for it's limited use and poor ergonomics it is overpriced.

xgender.net (external link) Miss Julia Grey - please refer to me as she/her/Miss
Nikkor 28/2, 35/2.8-PC 55/1.2, 55/3.5 - Voigtländer 50/2.8 - Tamron SP 28-80, SP 60-300 - Pentax SMC Takumar 135/2.5, 200/4 - Lensbaby Composer Pro II w/Sweet35mm & Edge50mm | Canon 5DII | Sigma 12-24 - Canon 28-105 II, 85/1.8

  
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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Jul 23, 2018 06:55 |  #2

I understand that "technical" testing might not say much about how the lens performs for your intended use, but setting up a "still life" test scene might give you a better idea of the lens' focus plane results/changes.

Thanks for the review I hope that good or bad we can get an update after some more work with it.


PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Not in gear database: Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

  
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twoshadows
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Jul 23, 2018 17:04 as a reply to  @ Left Handed Brisket's post |  #3

I would like to update, but lack of time time is usually the reason why I can't. Regardless, I intend to. At the very least, I will post finished photos from the lens, hopefully they will be helpful.

Kindness,

~Julia

:)


xgender.net (external link) Miss Julia Grey - please refer to me as she/her/Miss
Nikkor 28/2, 35/2.8-PC 55/1.2, 55/3.5 - Voigtländer 50/2.8 - Tamron SP 28-80, SP 60-300 - Pentax SMC Takumar 135/2.5, 200/4 - Lensbaby Composer Pro II w/Sweet35mm & Edge50mm | Canon 5DII | Sigma 12-24 - Canon 28-105 II, 85/1.8

  
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John ­ from ­ PA
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Jul 23, 2018 17:14 |  #4

Since you have a purpose for a Lensbaby you might be interested in the Lensbaby Composer Pro with Sweet 35 Optic for Canon EF. Normally $380, now $250. See https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com …o_Composer_for_​Canon.html (external link).




  
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twoshadows
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Jul 23, 2018 17:27 |  #5

John from PA wrote in post #18668989 (external link)
Since you have a purpose for a Lensbaby you might be interested in the Lensbaby Composer Pro with Sweet 35 Optic for Canon EF. Normally $380, now $250. See https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com …o_Composer_for_​Canon.html (external link).

Thanks John. :)

The lenses in the composer pro II are interchangeable, meaning I can purchase just the sweet 35 (or, more likely, the Sweet 85) for under $200 US and plug it into my composer II. I am yet undecided if I want to.


xgender.net (external link) Miss Julia Grey - please refer to me as she/her/Miss
Nikkor 28/2, 35/2.8-PC 55/1.2, 55/3.5 - Voigtländer 50/2.8 - Tamron SP 28-80, SP 60-300 - Pentax SMC Takumar 135/2.5, 200/4 - Lensbaby Composer Pro II w/Sweet35mm & Edge50mm | Canon 5DII | Sigma 12-24 - Canon 28-105 II, 85/1.8

  
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twoshadows
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Post edited 7 months ago by twoshadows. (2 edits in all)
     
Jul 26, 2018 08:00 |  #6

Okay, so admittedly the edge 50 is an odd fit for a portrait photographer. Nonetheless, I have spent eight hours or so working with it. But most of that time was spent working on the above shot and not with the lens. Still, it is difficult to set up. Things to know about the composer pro II and its interchangeable lenses:

The lens can be mounted upside down, leaving the aperture markings below and out of sight.

The tension ring is a train wreck and any attempt to tighten it after setting up the lens will result in having to readjust the lens. It is flush against the camera body, hard to get at and turns grudgingly and roughly. I have found a medium setting with regard to the tension. As long as I work gingerly with the front of the lens after setting it up it doesn't move. What up PITA.

I'm not sure if it's learning curve or not, but this lens is very difficult to work with. The lack of decent controls makes working with an already fickle focus plane damned near impossible. And for the record, I'm shooting tethered and looking at it on a 24 inch computer monitor...

For this photo the in focus area is set to the right side of the frame. I think the aperture was set to 3.2 though it's difficult to tell as it's not recorded in the exif. I'm still trying to figure out how aperture affects the field of focus. I may have to break down and do some testing just to figure out how this damned thing works. vmad

I'm pretty disgusted at this point, but I am aware it may become easier to work with as I get used to it. So I will keep trying.

Barely noticed amidst the crappy ergonomics, is that the image quality is actually pretty decent.


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xgender.net (external link) Miss Julia Grey - please refer to me as she/her/Miss
Nikkor 28/2, 35/2.8-PC 55/1.2, 55/3.5 - Voigtländer 50/2.8 - Tamron SP 28-80, SP 60-300 - Pentax SMC Takumar 135/2.5, 200/4 - Lensbaby Composer Pro II w/Sweet35mm & Edge50mm | Canon 5DII | Sigma 12-24 - Canon 28-105 II, 85/1.8

  
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davesrose
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Post edited 6 months ago by davesrose.
     
Jul 30, 2018 19:07 |  #7

I notice you've started another thread for vintage lenses with a similar composition as your last one here (makes it even more interesting to compare those two photos). My main experience with manual lenses was when I was shooting with film SLR. I've embraced digital and like doing artistic effects with post processing. But with your series here, I can see some nice effects going on with your first attempts: your first photo especially has a nice ephemeral quality (and an example of how "portrait" isn't just longer FLs for head-shots). IMO, a "portrait" photographer should have a 50mm and wide angle for showing shots with the environment. We're our worst critic...you say it's been PITA to get used to the system, but I'll toss in my likes because this seems like a good in camera effect you should keep at. Some of the bokeh balls on the first photo may not be popular in today's age....but I think the rendering is very appropriate and grand. IQ wise, the lens does seem capable of resolving power and a contrast that does seem like film. Don't give up: from other series I've seen from you, I think this method can be very fruitful.


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EF 135mm 2.0L, EF 70-200mm 2.8L IS II, EF 24-70 2.8L II, EF 50mm 1.4, EF 100mm 2.8L Macro, EF 16-35mm 4L IS, Sigma 150-600mm C, 580EX, 600EX-RT, MeFoto Globetrotter tripod, grips, Black Rapid RS-7, CAMS plate and strap system, Lowepro Flipside 500 AW, and a few other things...
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twoshadows
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Aug 01, 2018 09:21 |  #8

davesrose wrote in post #18673967 (external link)
I notice you've started another thread for vintage lenses with a similar composition as your last one here (makes it even more interesting to compare those two photos). My main experience with manual lenses was when I was shooting with film SLR. I've embraced digital and like doing artistic effects with post processing. But with your series here, I can see some nice effects going on with your first attempts: your first photo especially has a nice ephemeral quality (and an example of how "portrait" isn't just longer FLs for head-shots). IMO, a "portrait" photographer should have a 50mm and wide angle for showing shots with the environment. We're our worst critic...you say it's been PITA to get used to the system, but I'll toss in my likes because this seems like a good in camera effect you should keep at. Some of the bokeh balls on the first photo may not be popular in today's age....but I think the rendering is very appropriate and grand. IQ wise, the lens does seem capable of resolving power and a contrast that does seem like film. Don't give up: from other series I've seen from you, I think this method can be very fruitful.

This is wonderful. Thank you, Dave, for taking the time to write this note. And thank you for the encouragement. It always helps. This lens is a tool that I will use. Your note helps reaffirm that for me.

Kindness,

Julia


xgender.net (external link) Miss Julia Grey - please refer to me as she/her/Miss
Nikkor 28/2, 35/2.8-PC 55/1.2, 55/3.5 - Voigtländer 50/2.8 - Tamron SP 28-80, SP 60-300 - Pentax SMC Takumar 135/2.5, 200/4 - Lensbaby Composer Pro II w/Sweet35mm & Edge50mm | Canon 5DII | Sigma 12-24 - Canon 28-105 II, 85/1.8

  
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twoshadows
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Dec 23, 2018 06:05 |  #9

I've used it a number of times now. I've not posted any more example pics. That's because I haven't gotten to taking a useable pic with it. It is the most poorly designed piece of photographic equipment I have ever used. I see why the bad reputation. Mine is a piece of junk, bordering on completely unusable and not worth my time or effort. I am not going to give it to my intern. She doesn't need the headache. I'm disgusted.

vmad


xgender.net (external link) Miss Julia Grey - please refer to me as she/her/Miss
Nikkor 28/2, 35/2.8-PC 55/1.2, 55/3.5 - Voigtländer 50/2.8 - Tamron SP 28-80, SP 60-300 - Pentax SMC Takumar 135/2.5, 200/4 - Lensbaby Composer Pro II w/Sweet35mm & Edge50mm | Canon 5DII | Sigma 12-24 - Canon 28-105 II, 85/1.8

  
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Dec 23, 2018 06:42 |  #10

Sorry you're so frustrated with it. I wish I had some cash to take it off your hands, but the kids have drained the back account lately. I could probably make use of it doing some product photography.


PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Not in gear database: Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

  
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twoshadows
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Post edited 1 month ago by twoshadows. (5 edits in all)
     
Dec 25, 2018 17:13 |  #11

Left Handed Brisket wrote in post #18776493 (external link)
Sorry you're so frustrated with it. I wish I had some cash to take it off your hands, but the kids have drained the back account lately. I could probably make use of it doing some product photography.

I'm not frustrated. I know how to use the lens, but I'm disgusted and angry because the lens doesn't work well. The Lensbaby is in such bad condition that I can't honestly sell it in good conscience. This is a brand new, $400 lens. The composer itself is a joke and unusable. It's an ergonomic nightmare as well as poorly constructed, all of which add up to "useless". The lens, a 50mm edge, isn't bad, but it can only be used via the composer. So it's rendered useless as well. I will likely sell the lens and cannibalize the composer. (caps, mount plate, etc...)

This is - by far - the worst piece of photographic equipment I have yet to see.

Garbage.

(Tightening the tension ring so the lens front won't move, moves the lens front and defeats the purpose of having a tension ring. Once the edge 50 is placed within the composer, the aperture cannot be changed. For some reason it is so stiff you cannot turn it without removing the edge 50 from the composer and adjusting it, then replacing it. All of this upsets the front of the composer and ruins any compositional adjustments made. This is not the way the lens behaved when I first received it. It is falling apart and it's not even being used...)


xgender.net (external link) Miss Julia Grey - please refer to me as she/her/Miss
Nikkor 28/2, 35/2.8-PC 55/1.2, 55/3.5 - Voigtländer 50/2.8 - Tamron SP 28-80, SP 60-300 - Pentax SMC Takumar 135/2.5, 200/4 - Lensbaby Composer Pro II w/Sweet35mm & Edge50mm | Canon 5DII | Sigma 12-24 - Canon 28-105 II, 85/1.8

  
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twoshadows
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Dec 26, 2018 01:28 |  #12

I'll be contacting Lensbaby in the AM as it is still under warranty. In the meantime, I have again given it a shot and was able to manage a workaround for the lens' deficiencies. I managed a few simple head shots. Going to try and tackle the shot I first attempted with this lens. (the pic in the OP)


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xgender.net (external link) Miss Julia Grey - please refer to me as she/her/Miss
Nikkor 28/2, 35/2.8-PC 55/1.2, 55/3.5 - Voigtländer 50/2.8 - Tamron SP 28-80, SP 60-300 - Pentax SMC Takumar 135/2.5, 200/4 - Lensbaby Composer Pro II w/Sweet35mm & Edge50mm | Canon 5DII | Sigma 12-24 - Canon 28-105 II, 85/1.8

  
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Dec 26, 2018 05:17 |  #13

Thanks for the continued reporting. Hope the call to The mfg gets some results.


PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Not in gear database: Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

  
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twoshadows
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Post edited 1 month ago by twoshadows.
     
Dec 26, 2018 09:53 |  #14

I'm still unable to change the aperture without removing the edge optic. That means f/8 is about the smallest I can shoot since I need a bright enough VF to compose & focus. I really needed f/22 for this shot. :( I also use an open shutter and like to change aperture during the shot, but until I get the lens fixed/replaced that's a no-go. I have managed to find a medium tension setting that keeps the lens front stable enough that I can manipulate the lens during an exposure without moving it.

Image quality is good. Sharpness isn't lacking and color is on par with my vintage lenses, which is to say, good.

In G&N: POST 18779198


xgender.net (external link) Miss Julia Grey - please refer to me as she/her/Miss
Nikkor 28/2, 35/2.8-PC 55/1.2, 55/3.5 - Voigtländer 50/2.8 - Tamron SP 28-80, SP 60-300 - Pentax SMC Takumar 135/2.5, 200/4 - Lensbaby Composer Pro II w/Sweet35mm & Edge50mm | Canon 5DII | Sigma 12-24 - Canon 28-105 II, 85/1.8

  
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twoshadows
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Post edited 1 month ago by twoshadows. (4 edits in all)
     
Dec 27, 2018 10:57 |  #15

The line of defocus is better aligned with the water line in this one...

It looks like I will be keeping this lens system. I may add a Sweet 35. May...

Thank you Left Handed Brisket and Dave Rose for your support and encouragement. :love:

In G&N: POST 18778947


xgender.net (external link) Miss Julia Grey - please refer to me as she/her/Miss
Nikkor 28/2, 35/2.8-PC 55/1.2, 55/3.5 - Voigtländer 50/2.8 - Tamron SP 28-80, SP 60-300 - Pentax SMC Takumar 135/2.5, 200/4 - Lensbaby Composer Pro II w/Sweet35mm & Edge50mm | Canon 5DII | Sigma 12-24 - Canon 28-105 II, 85/1.8

  
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