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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good times!
Lensbaby composer is a step up in terms of utility and quality from earlier models though some may feel it deviates from that original concept. I have found it to be far more user-friendly and faster too. You can use the lens swap system to change your optic; plastic,single glass, wide angle... I stuck with the double glass optic the composer retails with...
Published on 18 Feb 2011 by Al Miles

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun, nicely packaged, but a bit hit and miss
This is a nice package. Not only do you get the lens/lens cap, you also get a pouch, plus a set of aperture rings and a magnetic tool for removing the rings.
Why do you need aperture rings? Because this is a simple device and doesn't have an aperture control. You simply slot in a little ring (looks like a washer) to get various apertures from a max of f/2.0 to small...
Published 25 days ago by Androo


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good times!, 18 Feb 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Lensbaby Composer Canon Lens (Electronics)
Lensbaby composer is a step up in terms of utility and quality from earlier models though some may feel it deviates from that original concept. I have found it to be far more user-friendly and faster too. You can use the lens swap system to change your optic; plastic,single glass, wide angle... I stuck with the double glass optic the composer retails with.

The moveable sweet spot is, as Lensbaby promise, tack sharp. The fall off in blur from there varies depending on which of the removable aperture disks you insert (f/2.8 to f/22), or none (f/2.0 approx). Changing aperture disks is easy but could be fiddly on the street or in inclement weather so it's best to plan ahead. That said the creative opportunities are near endless and I've had many hours of fun re-photographing familiar objects and locations as well as portraits. Some pro's use these lenses so rest assured they are high quality. See Lensbaby's website for more info.

Pros: price, very sharp sweet spot (double glass optic), beautiful blur, enless creativity

Cons: manual focus, fiddly aperture change
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for getting back to the basics, 9 Jan 2010
By 
GCW "scullsxx" (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Lensbaby Composer Canon Lens (Electronics)
The box is quite small compared to some of the other lenses I have bought recently. Once you empty the box you have the lens (with the optic in place), a holder/tool for the aperture rings, a soft pouch for the lens and an instruction booklet.

The aperture ring holder/tool (see pic below) has a magnetic end that is used for removing the aperture ring from the lens and also an area for storing the rings that has a plastic cover that snaps into place. The plastic cover reminds me of the cover from a 35mm film canister (I will need to find one to see if they are the same size).
The lens itself has a metal mount for (Pentax/Samsung in my case) the camera and then a metal ring followed by a ribbed plastic ring that is used to tighten the ball joint of the optic mount. The optic mount has another ribbed plastic ring that is used to focus the lens. No optic removal tool is included in with the basic lens. Minimum focusing distance for the glass optic is about 18 inches or 460mm.

As I said there is no optic removal tool included but when you get an additional optic a removal tool is included. The tool is actually the lid of the case in which the new optic is packaged/stored. Quite a good idea as it means it would be very difficult to lose it. To swap an optic you just need to twist the focus ring until the optic is as near to the front of the lens and then use the tool to release the lens. Pop in the new optic and tighten up. Really quite a simple process.

Once on the camera there are a few things that are different from a "normal" lens. Aperture is changed by replacing a magnetic disk in front of the glass of the optic. The disk is dropped in to the front of the lens and it is held in place by three small magnets. To remove the disk, the removal tool with it's magnetic tip is used to grab the disk. The disks provided are in the range of f2.8 to f22 with the basic lens having an aperture of f2.

The other obvious difference is that the optic can be moved away from the straight ahead orientation in any direction. This has the effect of moving the "sweet spot" towards the edge of the image.

Using the lens

If you have always used a kit lens or modern lens the chances are that you will have always had access to autofocus, auto exposure, etc. If you have used older lenses with your DSLR then you may have had to use it manual focus and you may also have had to set the aperture using the ring. If you are the former then using the Composer will be really different, if you are the latter then you shouldn't be too surprised at what you need to do!

With my Pentax and Samsung DSLR bodies, once switched on you have to set the focal length of the lens if you are using an older lens or the Composer. This setting is only used by the camera for the shake reduction function and I have been setting this to 60mm for the composer.

The lens instructions say to have the optic straight on, focus the lens as required, then move the optic to get the effect you are after and then refocus the lens and take the picture. I tried this a few times but found that the focus point once the lens was moved was so different from the straight on that I couldn't see the point of focussing and moving. I have found that it is quicker to move the lens to where you want it and then compose the image and focus.

I have not had the lens long enough to be fluent with its use and the weather has been less than helpful when trying outdoor photography. When using the lens with a small aperture ring in place, say f16, the image in the view finder is very dark as it is the equivalent of using the aperture preview switch to check depth of field. The dark view makes it (for me) very hard to focus the lens accurately. I am confident that with a decent amount of light it will be easier to use because things are a lot better when using a flash (see the keyboard pictures below).

Once you get use to the effects you get from moving the lens around it does become easier to predict the type of image you will get and that does remove the need to compose with the optic straight before moving it.

The camera does indicate when the lens is focused but this does contradict what the eye can see. Most of the time the whole image would be blurred even though it was suggesting it should be in focus.

With my camera bodies, whilst aperture priority mode did work I felt that it wasn't the best option and have been using them in manual on most occasions. Obviously the aperture was fixed which meant that the exposure required either a shutter speed change or the ISO to be altered. The in-camera light meter appears to work OK with the lens. Adjust the shutter speed until the camera said the exposure was OK and hit the shutter button.

To repeat myself again, I have not had that much practice using the lens, but I think using this lens requires extra thought and time. If you take this lens out with you I would probably plan on going alone or if you do go with someone you are likely to be alone when you get back! The reason for that is that it isn't a lens to just point and shoot. You need to think more about the composition especially if you are going to use it to create effects. Even just changing the aperture will take more time than usual.

Start taking any of the alternate optics and you will certainly find your time being eaten away as you see what effect each has on your chosen subject. I think this lens provides a strong argument for having a second body (or a third if you already have one for the wide-angle zoom lens and another for the telephoto zoom lens).

The lens would be great for a person new to photography or someone moving up from a point and shoot. My first camera was completely manual except for an in-camera light meter. Being only manual does provide a good basis for knowing what is happening when you do move to something more automated. I had a good understanding of what changing the aperture did in terms of depth of field and being able to gauge what will be in focus at a particular aperture. Manually setting the shutter speed also illustrated the effect it had by either freezing any motion or by creating blur, panning is a good example.

Having to use the Composer in manual mode and physically changing the aperture gives you much more of a feeling of having created the image. Thinking about each of the settings before pressing the shutter button puts you fully in charge of the camera and not just it's operator.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lensbaby Composer, 24 Feb 2009
This review is from: Lensbaby Composer Canon Lens (Electronics)
This is a beautifully made and packaged item with very impressive build quality. It is easy to use and enables you to shoot dreamy photos whose the out of focus areas exhibit a charming old fashioned character, this due to the simple design of the lens's optics. However, this is not a criticism, because this the whole point of this special effects lens.

To change the aperture you have swap over the small aperture rings inside the front on the lens barrel, which is easy to do using the magnetic tool provided.

This lens is completely manual, so leave the cameras in aperture priority and focus by hand. Look at the manufacturer's web site for example photos.

I would not use this every day, but it is great fun to use for funky fun photography now and then. The only downside is that the case is not included, which is a bit rotten given that this is not a cheap lens to buy in the first place.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun, nicely packaged, but a bit hit and miss, 28 Oct 2014
By 
Androo (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Lensbaby Composer Canon Lens (Electronics)
This is a nice package. Not only do you get the lens/lens cap, you also get a pouch, plus a set of aperture rings and a magnetic tool for removing the rings.
Why do you need aperture rings? Because this is a simple device and doesn't have an aperture control. You simply slot in a little ring (looks like a washer) to get various apertures from a max of f/2.0 to small apertures that seem to defeat the idea of the lens.
You focus manually using a nice large, smooth ring around the lens. And you can point the 'sweet spot' where you want since the lens 'pivots' in the middle.
You can add a whole series of special effects lenses from the Lensbaby range to this. It's designed to accept them. Check them out.
Despite the promise, I wasn't especially impressed with how this works or the results I got. For one thing, it's a bit hard to focus and even harder to tell where the sweet spot (that's the bit that will be in focus) is, especially when it's off centre.
Results were very hit and miss, and mostly miss. But every now and then I got a cracking shot that almost made it worth the bother. However, I don't think it really is worth the bother on the whole, since even the best results don't have anything approaching decent sharpness in the sweet spot.
The out of focus areas are quite nice however, especially if you use an aperture ring with a bigger hole (or leave them out altogether to get f/2.0).
Overall I was a bit disappointed with this. It is a cheap way to have a bit of fun, but you soon start thinking a better lens with a fast aperture would be much more fun.
On the positive side, you can play with it for a while, then sell it on without losing much money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great fun, 10 Aug 2009
By 
M. Bull "gnozu" (Folkestone, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lensbaby Composer Canon Lens (Electronics)
The Lensbaby Composer is a great little lens if you want to have some fun with your camera again. In fact I haven't had so much fun taking photos since I bought my Lomo LC-A years ago.
Sometimes what you want is a bit more artistic licence and a little less technical obsessiveness. Photography is to a large extent all about creating an atmosphere around a shot. This lens really helps with that.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Fun, 2 May 2012
By 
Ms. Sharon J. Clark "S. Clark" (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lensbaby Composer Canon Lens (Electronics)
I love this lens - it is alot of fun to use! I was not sure if it was something I would use much when I purchased it but I have used it loads - I also bought the macro kit and enjoy extremely close up / shallow DOF images .. I highly recommend this lens just for a bit of something different ..
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lensbaby Composer Canon Lens, 29 Dec 2009
By 
R. Righi (Modena, Italy) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Lensbaby Composer Canon Lens (Electronics)
Wonderful item, easy to use, it makes beautiful effects. Very good and complete packaging, can be used as "stand-alone" or with all the kits available.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, 18 April 2012
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This review is from: Lensbaby Composer Canon Lens (Electronics)
what can I say its a brilliant piece of kit to play around with, have also got the pinhole lens & filter hood to go with it.
naturally its not an everyday thing & doesn`t replace your other lenses but it makes your photography that bit more interesting & is very easy to use, especially the different angles & sweet spots (sharp spots)
I think its great & would recommend it to anyone who wants something different from the norm in their photography.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something a little different, 10 Aug 2010
By 
This review is from: Lensbaby Composer Canon Lens (Electronics)
I love my Lensbaby composer. I really enjoy photography, and have used the Lensbaby for around a year on my Canon 40D, and more recently on a Canon 5D MK II.

The lens comes in a very nice little colourful box, and is well packed. Once open, you get the lens, a little pouch to keep it in, and a little magnetic tool to change the aperture rings. The tool also doubles up as a holder for the rings, which is a nice touch. The lens itself is good quality, and well made. There is a manual focus ring, and a also a plastic wheel which adjusts how stiff the tilt action is (quite lose, to locked in place).

Using the lens is good fun. It's fixed at 50mm, which is a great focal length on a full frame camera, but I find it's a little long for indoor use on my 1.6x crop 40D. If you haven't used a fixed lens, try a zoom at 50mm to see the effect.

I would recommend that you're familiar with the fundamentals of using your camera before getting to grips with the Lensbaby. As others have mentioned, it is a manual focus lens, and you also have to manually change the aperture rings. I find that I usually leave the camera in Av (aperture priority) mode, and let the camera's meter sort out the exposure (I usually dial in a little -EV though).

Using the lens is simple, just tilt the front element to move the focus point, and turn the focus ring. The results are great, a nice sharp point of focus with the frame becoming increasingly defocused as you move outwards. The effect is even more pronounced on a full frame camera as you get the full coverage of the lens. On a crop sensor you still get a great effect, although not as pronounced.

Optically I have found that the lens is a little soft wide open (f2 with no rings installed), but that's not really an issue as it's the Lensbaby effect you're after. With manual focus and a very shallow depth of field at f2, it could be my technique to blame. Regardless, if you stop down a little it's really rather sharp at the focus point.

It's not a lens I find I use very often, but it's a fun to keep in your bag and will certainly get you thinking creatively. Great fun at parties with a little flash, it really brings images to life. I would recommend the creative aperture discs (Lensbaby Creative Aperture Kit), as they only cost a few pounds, and give you some lovely effects - especially at Christmas time with fairy lights.

All in all, I am very happy with my purchase!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LENSBABY, 23 Jun 2014
This review is from: Lensbaby Composer Canon Lens (Electronics)
I'm really pleased to have this, and I'm sure that when I learn how to use it as well as my friend does I'll take photos as good as hers!
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Lensbaby Composer Canon Lens
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