I would like to introduce you the Lensbaby Edge 80 Optic. It’s a lens that has been around for just a few years. Its primary purpose is to give a slice of good focus, surrounded by a beautiful fall-off of softness to each side. Last year I used a simpler lensbaby lens as a supplement to my main photography at a wedding. Two of my wedding photographer colleague later commented that they had never seen that lens used in their work. Odd really, because in the States this range has a strong following with proms, portrait and landscape photographers. Others in the Lensbaby range are the Edge 50, Twist 60, Velvet 56, Sweet 35 and Sweet 50 Optics.
At Damon Murgatroyd Photography I am constantly looking for new ways to express my wedding photography in new and exciting ways. It allows me to personalize the images for my clients and keeps my creative side buzzing. It is wonderful to be a wedding photographer in the glorious sea-side town of Bournemouth. We have great beaches, many wonderful hotels, churches and alternative wedding venues. The Dorset countryside and New Forest is a photographer’s dream, including as it does nearby Poole, Christchurch and Lymington.
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The Lensbaby company sells a wobbly lens holder into which one can place different ‘optics’ to produce exciting or subtle fantasy effects. The Edge 80 produces the Tilt effect, as seen in the much more expensive technical Tilt & Shift lenses as used by Architectural photographers. The Edge 80 gives me the ability to have a very thin slice ranging to a thick finger of good focus in any angle. The ‘toy’ type images of high viewpoints are an extreme example of this. Better still, that beam of good focus can stretch, unlike a normal lens, from right in front of you out to the very far distance. This is a great way to focus the viewer’s attention on the usual main subject – the happy Bride and Groom!
Good Things about the Lensbaby Edge 80
Superb dreamy soft focus.
Highly adjustable for amount and direction of effect.
Light to carry and easy to fit.
Good ‘prime’ (fixed focal length) 80mm lens when in the straight forward position.
Less Good Things
Fiddly to get the effect right. It takes practice and a ‘feel’ for what one is trying to achieve.
The tilt on the lens can fool the camera’s exposure leading to an over bright image.
Good focus can be harder to see if the aperture is small and the image therefore dark.
Image edges can get color fringing – the glass produces slight green-purple on black lines.
So what does this mean to me?
I need to be selective in using this optic. It really would not be used for a whole wedding. I plan to put it, or other s in the Lensbaby range, on my second camera on my hip during some parts of the day. It will add to the wedding album for shots of the couple together, candids of friends and family, and details (tables, flowers, hair etc).
Many of the limitations mentioned above can be easily overcome. Viewing images on the rear lcd of the camera will assist with correct focus, darkness and exposure. Simple tweaks in editing can abolish edge fringing.
I look forward to developing the use of this lens as part of my overall personal ‘look’ as a wedding photographer. It will be fascinating to hear back from my wedding couples – to gauge their impressions, and to fine-tune the artistic use of this exciting lens.