Lensbaby introduced last year the Composer Pro with the sweet35 optic which allows you to change the Aperture from the lens itself without the need to change the aperture disk. I was interested in it and thought of giving it a shot. I bought it from adorama.com at $400.
I have received the lens last week, and today I tested it in the field as it's the first day I go shooting in Muscat Festival, as it's a place where I love to shoot portraits and people. And here are my PROS & CONES of the lens from my personal perspective.
- Well built and easy to tilt around in a smooth motion
- Light and compact which makes it easy to go around with
- Easy way to change the aperture from the top ring of the Sweet 35
- The selective focus along with the wide aperture give a new experience in isolating the object. which makes it easy to shift the viewer's eye to your subject.
- Overpriced for its optic quality, which for me I think the quality at F2.5 is not usable as you can never get a very sharp image, that's why I use it at F4 and F5.6 most of the time.
- All manual function, the camera couldn't give me any readings and I had to use the Manual mood and the light meter doesn't even help you, thankfully in the digital era you get to experiment.
- Dim Viewfinder : While you go to F8 the viewfinder becomes dimmer and it will be difficult to use, that's why I had to move the the Liveview mode.
- Evil focus and sweet spot: It's really hard to focus and set the sweet spot and it takes real effort to do so, shooting people is not practical with it unless the model/person is willing to cooperate and stay still for 5 minutes till you get it right. (I wear glasses and I almost got headache after half an hour of shooting)
I would say the lensbaby is a great lens to play around and have fun with or to produce a theme in your mind. It works well, at F4 and F5.6 the sharpness is not an issue as long as you get the focus right. I would prefer it on static objects rather than shooting people since it will be very hard to focus while people are moving. And I think by time you get used to it. Finally, it's a lens that you either like it or not, there's nothing in-between.