Macro without a Macro 3 – Lensbaby Lenses

Here is the third part in this series about how you can do macro photography if you don’t have a macro lens. This post is about lenses, but they are ones from Lensbaby.  They are most definitely a lot cheaper than macro lenses, but they also have characteristics that are also different from your usual macro lens.

Let’s begin this story with how I first learned about them.

Learning about Lensbaby

I wish I could say I learned all about them from people and wanted to go out and try them, but honestly, it wasn’t that great. I found out about Lensbaby when a box of their products arrived on my doorstep. Actually, maybe that was good, a great surprise.

I opened the box and thought, huh, what is this? I did have a good idea where it had come from.

A photography distributor that I used to deal with was going out of business and they sent what Lensbaby gear they had for Nikon to me. I sent an email asking if it was them and they responded by saying enjoy.

The first thing I had to do was work out who Lensbaby was and what I had in the box. Then I had to find out how to use them. It was a very interesting introduction to them. I remember at the time telling people and I seemed to be the only one who had never heard of the company. I have now and I love their products.

The thing I got in the box was the Composer Pro and it went on the Nikon camera. It had, what they call, optics that you swap in and out of it. I didn’t find it easy to use, but with practice, I started to enjoy playing around with it.

There were some things missing, but I soon got more things for it and away I went.

Last Christmas I got the Composer Pro II for my Fujifilm cameras. I purchased the Sweet 35 Optic for it and I also have the Sweet 50 which I also purchased a few years ago. I have other optics that came with it, but I mainly use these.

Basically, you can move it around to where you want your point of focus to be. The different apertures give you different effects.

It is manual focus, as are all their lenses, but it is something that you get used to I think.

Here are some photos that I have taken with it.

Composer Pro II

I did contact Lensbaby to find out more information. I was also curious about being an ambassador for them. I was told they didn’t have them, unfortunately, they do now, but I missed the boat and was never asked. That was frustrating.

They contacted me in 2016 and wanted to know if I would be part of a promotion they were doing. It involved their lens, the Velvet 56mm. I said yes, of course. They sent it to me and I had to take photos with it and do at least two posts. I did a lot more than two because I loved it. They ended up letting me keep the lens which was great.

Lensbaby Velvet 56 and Velvet 85

The Velvet 56  doesn’t really do the same sort of things as the Composer Pro, but it does give you some interesting results with the wide apertures that it has.

It is more like a normal lens really. Again it is a manual focus lens, but I have found that to be okay.

Lensbaby also has a Velvet 85 which I did purchase, but in the end, decided I like the 56 more and sold the 85. That was just a preference for me.

Here are some photos taken with both of those.

Switching to Fujifilm

When I was switching to Fujifilm I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get a macro lens for the camera so I had to work out how I was going to do macro photography with it. My solution was to buy a Lensbaby Velvet 56mm for Fujifilm.

It was a great alternative and I have used it a lot. I often take it with me when I am going to do other photography, you know, just in case I see something I want to photograph that needs a closeup lens.

They are more expensive than the other options we have talked about, but still a lot cheaper than many macro lenses. I would highly recommend checking out the Lensbaby site and seeing just what they have.

I should also mention that they aren’t strictly for macro and many people use their lenses for portraits and other sorts of photography. It is all about getting one and just playing around with it to see what you can do.

Mmm, I think I need to take my own advice. Do any of you have any Lensbaby lenses? What do you think? Would you recommend them?

Take care everyone and I will see you soon.

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  1. Those are stunning photographs shot with that Lensbaby Camere Leanne. This must be very interesting for you and I am sure you are over the moon with your present

    Happy Holidays🌲🌲👏

  2. Ooooo! Beautiful!!👏👏👏 Enjoy your Lensbabies! They’re so cool – I got the Composer group in 2009 (I think) & very much enjoyed them. However, I was also developing cataracts at the time & didn’t know it, so focusing was an absolute nightmare. EVERYTHING was blurry! One of my goals for 2023 is to work with those Lensbabies again. This post of yours made me go get them out of the cabinet where they’ve been hiding. Thank you! 🤗

    1. Thank you Robin, I do love them. Wow you must have been an early user with them. Yeah the focusing would be hard under those conditions. I hope you do and find the love for them again. You’re welcome and thank you for sharing your story with us.

    1. I know what you mean Marilyn, though I have done a lot to get more flowers in my garden, so I photograph them the most now. Thank you.

  3. Ah yes, this brings back memories! I purchased the Lensbaby 2.0 many years ago for my Nikon D70… I still have it. It was a bit fiddly to use but created some really interesting bokeh and zoom style effects. About a year ago I dug it out again and tried it with my Fuji XT3 using a lens converter. It worked fine, giving the same weird but interesting effects. I have no intention of getting rid of it. I haven’t seen the new Lensbaby lenses but they seem to allow more control over the effects you can generate. Great post!

    1. I agree the results can be really amazing. I wouldn’t get rid of mine either, it is too much fun really. The Velvet is probably the best, you don’t get the really weird effects, but it is a good lens to use. Thank you so much Stuart.

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