Lensbaby, a company known for its special-effects lenses, such asand fisheye models, gets a little more serious with its new Velvet 56, a 56mm f1.6 manual-focus macro lens that produces a bit more stylistic look than other standard macro lenses.
The Velvet 56 will be available for $500 in Canon, Nikon, Sony A and Pentax mounts in mid-April; there will also be a $600 Velvet SE version in silver. Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds, Sony E, Samsung NX and Fuji X mount versions will follow in May. Directly converted, those are £335 and AU$655.
The lens is very nicely constructed. It's completely metal with a clicky aperture ring on the body side. Apertures run from f1.6 - f16 in whole stops (except for the first step, which is 2/3 of a stop). There's also a knurled, strongly dampened focusing ring. The distance range runs from 5 in/13cm, the closest it's able to focus from the front element, up to 21 ft/7m before making the jump to infinity; a full rotation of the lens takes it to 12 in/0.3 m.
On one hand, the long rotation makes it easy (and necessary) to get very granular focus adjustments at small distances. However, it also means that from beginning to end requires 1.5 rotations, which can be frustrating if you accidentally turn the lens the wrong direction while you're getting used to it.