Lensbaby Composer – Part 1

Lensbaby Composer is a DSLR lens that is made up of a ball and socket configuration that gives you the ability to selectively set the point of focus. You simply tilt the Composer to the desired position to move the focus point. It comes with a Double Glass Optic as standard optic but you can swap the optic with others such as Single Glass Optic, Plastic Optic and Soft Focus Optic.

I ordered my kit and got it about 3 weeks later. Found it cheaper to buy direct from Lensbaby then buying it from a local store in Sydney, and with the strong Aussie dollar makes sense to buy it direct from the US.

First Impression

Looking at Composer, the first impression is it’s made of very cheapish plastic. The quality of the rubber tightening ring on the mount and the focus ring is very ordinary for the price tag attached. The tightening ring also isn’t very smooth when you tighten or loosen, it feels quite rigid. I was expecting a better quality build from this specialised lens. For a product made in china, you should be able to get good quality product at affordable costs. The quality of the rubber and the plastic used to manufacture the Lensbaby should be improved.

Anyway now that we have talked about the quality of the Composer build, lets look at the quality of photos we can get. Does it give us the same results as depicted by some of the gallery photos at Lensbaby?

Test Run – Double Glass Optic

All the composer lens are fixed at 50mm with an aperture of 2.0 (without any aperture disk) and a lens diameter of 37mm. The Double Glass optic gives some really sharp images where the focus point is directed. Everything else starts to blur away as soon as you move away from the focus point. Depending upon the aperture used this can be little to moderate to extreme. The results are quite amazing although the manual focusing does require some practice and you will have to shoot your camera in Manual mode while using the Composer.

Test Run – Double Glass Optic with Macro Adapter

The Macro adapters +4 and +10 allow you to get really close to your subjects and achieve almost life like magnification. You can also combine the two adapters and get even closer to the subject. However, when using Macro adapter your depth-of-field is very shallow therefore you should use f 8 or f11 so that your subject can be in focus. Otherwise you will only get a tiny portion of the subject in focus.

In the next and final Part 2 we cover the Soft Focus optic test, Wide angle (0.4x), Telephoto (1.6x) tested and Creative Aperture kit results.

Test Results

3 comments Add yours
  1. Nice photos! I’m glad to see you’re enjoying your Lensbaby Composer. If you’re looking for a smoother tilt and locking mechanism check out the new Composer Pro. It sounds like you’d appreciate its metal construction and upgraded design. Also, just FYI: Lensbaby lenses are all assembled in the US (right here in Portland, Oregon!) – not China.

    Thanks for reviewing the Composer; I’m looking forward to reading your impressions of the Soft Focus optic!

    1. Thanks Michael for your comments. I will be posting my review of Soft Focus optic soon. Regarding the Composer Pro, yes I would probably enjoy that more but its a pity that it wasn’t available when I ordered my Composer.
      Assembled or Made are two different items. Are you saying that it’s made in US also? Or just Assembled?
      Regardless of this I still love using it!!

      1. Hi Harmeet,
        You’re totally right – “made” and “assembled” are two different things; thanks for clarifying.
        We assemble the lenses here in Portland from parts that are made all over the place. Most of our metal parts are machined in Oregon or Washington and some of our plastic is molded in the US as well. Our glass and some of our plastic is made in Asia: typically China but we’ve sourced it from other countries too. Keep having fun with your Lensbaby!

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