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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Lensbaby Twist 60 review:

Lensbaby's terrific new twist on background blur

The Good The Lensbaby Twist 60 is easy to use and delivers great results.

The Bad The aperture ring could use more tactile stops.

The Bottom Line The Lensbaby Twist 60 lens can add some well-rendered novelty to your photos and video.

I love a new Lensbaby: having an oddball lens to shoot with while neck deep testing cameras with "normal" lenses really makes a nice break. And I had a blast with the Twist 60, designed to reproduce the idiosyncratic characteristics of the 1890s-era Petzval lens. It makes the center pop and renders out-of-focus areas with a lot of curvature, vignetting and color contouring. The resulting photos are fun and funky.

Unlike the other resurrection of the Petzval lens from Lomography, Lensbaby's has a more conventional design (for them, at least) which just tries to reproduce the look of the photos rather than the feel of using it. That makes it really easy to use and a lot cheaper; plus, it's available in full-frame Canon, Nikon and Sony E mounts, while Lomo's is only Nikon-compatible.

It runs $180 without a Lensbaby mount (£160 in the UK, or when directly converted AU$235 in Australia) or $280 with a mount (£250; directly converted AU$360). As far as I can tell, though, it's not yet announced for availability in Australia.

As the name denotes, the Twist 60 has a 60mm focal length, with a 12-bladed aperture that ranges from f2.5-f22 and a minimum focus distance of 18 inches/45.7 cm. The mount that comes bundled with it is basically a metal tube. If you buy it without, you can drop it into any of Lensbaby's Optic Swap mounts. If you have a tilting version of the latter, Lensbaby says that you'll get the best results with it in a nontilted position.

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