The Lensbaby 56mm f1.6 usability?

donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,725Member
edited November 2023 in Other Manufacturers
We all tend to lust after the more expensive latest and greatest lenses. However, fun can be had with lesser and often ignored optics. I picked this lens up for $200 in an F mount sellout. So how can this lens be used for fun and for special effect? Is it usable for landscape special effects? Is it usable for portraiture, or is it just "junk?" I will post some images for you to judge for yourself.
Post edited by donaldejose on

Comments

  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,725Member
    edited November 2023
    Here is a landscape special effects example shot at f1.6. Shot wide open this lens produces sort of a watercolor effect.

    Z62_0396A_70

    When stopped down a bit it produces more of an oil painting effect.

    Z62_0399A_71
    Post edited by donaldejose on
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,725Member
    This is the lens at f1.6 backlight image showing more "fuzz, blur and flare."

    Z62_0265A_37

  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,725Member
    edited November 2023
    Here is a standardized series at different f-stops so you can judge its performance in a half body portrait situation. Focus is on the head of David statue. Since that statue is on the side of the frame and not in the middle we can expect it to be less sharp than a person in the center because this lens is more sharp in the center than near the edges. The first blue/white vase is about 3 feet behind David and the flower arrangement in the corner is about 10 feet behind David. You can best see the effect of different f-stops in the flower arrangement. It is sort of surprising to me to see how much this lens changes its character at different f-stops.

    At f1.6. Personally, I think there is too much "smear" here for portraiture.

    Z80_0160A_206LensBaby1.6

    At f2.0. Personally, I think there is still too much "smear" here for portraiture.

    Z80_0161A_207LensBaby2.0

    At f2.8. Now I think we are in the usability range.

    Z80_0162A_208LensBaby2.8

    At f4.0 Looking like a normal lens now.

    Z80_0163A_209LensBaby4.0

    At f5.6 Looking like a normal lens.

    Z80_0164A_210LensBaby5.6
    Post edited by donaldejose on
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,725Member
    edited November 2023
    For a point of comparison here is the MF Brightin Star 50mm f0.95 lens shot at wide apertures

    At f0.95. At even this wider aperture I think the Brightin Star lens is far more usable for portraiture then the Lensbaby Velvet f1.6 is at f2.0. It is sharper at the point of focus and has far more bokeh. Of course the character of the bokeh is a matter of personal preference but shooting a series like this allows a person to determine which bokeh at which distance appeals most to them personally.

    Z80_0148A_192BStar0.95

    At f1.4

    Z80_0149A_193BStar1.4

    At f2. Personally, even at f2 the bokeh is fine with me. It allows both separation from the subject and still some knowledge of the environment which the subject is in.

    Z80_0150A_194BStar2.0
    Post edited by donaldejose on
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,725Member
    A point of comparison with a lens we likely all have; the Nikon 50mm Z f1.8. You can see how superior this lens is in sharpness right from the start at f1.8. But, is sharpness what you want in all portraits? Also, Bokeh is good at f1.8. Do we really need a lens with a lower f-stop or can we just move our subject further away from the background to achieve more blur? A lens could be too sharp for some people's skin.

    At f1.8

    Z80_0157A_202NikonZ1.8

    At f2.0

    Z80_0158A_203NikonZ2.0

    At f2.8

    Z80_0159A_205NikonZ2.8
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 2,444Member
    I hate Bokeh ..When I open my eyes I dont get it so I think its unnatural
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,725Member
    edited November 2023
    Member of Group f/64 Pistnbroke? You can save a lot on lenses that way since stopped down to f5.6 and f8 pretty much all modern lenses take the same picture. I have always felt that Bokeh is a passing fad pretty much of interest only to photographers; normal people look at the subject, not the background. In the above examples I gave two thirds of the frame to bokeh and only one third to the focused subject so the mid-distance and longer-distance bokeh could be compared on these three lens at different apertures.
    Post edited by donaldejose on
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,745Member

    I hate Bokeh ..When I open my eyes I dont get it so I think its unnatural

    Long exposure is usually unnatural too. But lots of people love it. Myself included.
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