Lensbaby Composer review: Lensbaby Composer

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Typical Price: $399.00
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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Challenges the way you see the world. A lot of fun to use. Innovative system in a relatively inexpensive package.

The Bad Steep learning curve.

The Bottom Line Is it toy or is it a proper photographic tool? Despite the steep learning curve, based on the pictures the Lensbaby produced it definitely falls into the latter category. If you're prepared to get into the nitty gritty of fiddling with manual exposures, the Composer will inject a whole lot of fun into your photographic practice.

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8.3 Overall
CNET Editors' Choice Jan '09

Let us establish something straight away — the Lensbaby Composer is a lot different to any other photographic tool you have used before. It certainly looks quirky, and given the resurgence of lomography and toy cameras you would be forgiven for relegating the Composer to the same pile. Façade aside, it's capable of producing some astounding images with a bit of effort, practice and luck — and will undoubtedly make you question the way you approach photography.

Design and features
The Composer is one of three new Lensbaby models which we reported on last year. It's available for a variety of mounts for most brands of SLR cameras. This lens in particular rotates 360 degrees around a ball and socket structure, with a focus ring around the outer portion of the unit.

Essentially, the Composer works by tilting the lens to adjust the "sweet spot". The Composer, like the rest of the Lensbabies, is a selective focus lens. This means that while one area of the image is in focus, the rest will be heavily blurred — this effect is also called bokeh.

It comes supplied with a selection of aperture plates, from f/2 to f/22. These are magnetised, and can be dropped into and lifted out of the lens itself using the aperture changer tool (which also doubles as the storage case for the plates). The focal length is approximately 50mm, which is generally considered to be equivalent to how the human eye sees the world.

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