PetaPixel

Lensbaby Venturing Into iPhoneography, Unveils New Sweet Spot Lens

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iPhone lens attachments are nothing new, but soon there will be a new company vying for the attention of smartphone shooters: Lensbaby. The decade-old selective focus lens maker has unveiled a new patent-pending Sweet Spot Lens, which is designed specifically for giving iPhone photos Lensbaby’s trademark look.

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The lens lets you focus your images on a certain point in the frame, with the rest of the scene gradually falling off into blurriness. This type of effect can be imitated using photo editing programs, but Lensbaby believes that optically altering the image as it’s being captured “is one of the best and most engaging ways” to create the look.

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Attaching the new Sweet Spot Lens to an iPhone will first involve adhering an adhesive-backed stainless steel ring around your phone’s camera. The lens itself is then securely attached to this ring with the help of thick magnets on each end of the lens.

While the back magnet is used for mounting the lens, the front magnet allows you to attach various other mobile lenses (e.g. wide angle, fish-eye, macro, telephoto lens) to customize the resulting look of your pictures.

One quirk with the Sweet Spot is that it flips the image upside down. If you don’t want to have to flip all of your images in post, Lensbaby is releasing a free app with the lens that (among other things) can display the world right-side up:

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Lensbaby is currently holding a fundraising campaign for the Sweet Spot Lens on Kickstarter, where a pledge of $50 will preorder one. Orders will ship starting in July and August.

The crowdfunding campaign is a test to see if there exists a market for this lens, so there’s no guarantee that it will materialize if the target of $20,000 isn’t met. However, 130 backers have already contributed over $6,000 toward the project at the time of this post, so we’re guessing the company will be moving full speed ahead with the Sweet Spot soon.


Image credits: Sample photos by Lauren Wilcox, Caitlyn Crislip, Keri Friedman, and Ben Hutchinson.


 
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  • Chun K

    Wow, that DOF. Speechless!

  • Richard

    It’s not actually a true DOF lol

  • Jordan Butters

    Looks like someone smeared Vaseline on the lens.

  • Martin Nilsson

    I would say that the answer is both YES and NO. Part of the effect comes from tilting the lens, which gives an angled DOF i.e it doesn’t go left to right with out of focus being further forward/backwards.

    But yes, some of of the effect comes from the “sweet spot” where the lens is only sharp in the middle.

    Lensbaby creates a nice effect, for a low price. I love my Lensbaby Muse. It doesn’t make the sharpest pictures, but I can get some really amazing pictures with some work =)

  • docholliday666

    “Lensbaby’s trademark look” – you mean “crap”? I didn’t know that cheap, uncontrollable distortion can be patented! Oh, wait…they’re just trying to rip off TS lenses and LF camera movements, but without the thought, since their user’s wouldn’t know what to to with a mm scale! Awesome. I think I’ll have to get one and take a “sweet spot” photo of a pile of sh*t in the toilet to be fitting to the lens!

    Then again, I think I’ll just stick to making real, sharp, repeatable photos with my TS lenses.

  • docholliday666

    More like somebody smeared sh*t on the lens…nothing says suck like a LensScabbie

  • Maciej Pietuszynski

    Sometimes is better when we dont share are diy projects..

  • docholliday666

    That’s quite acceptable – it’s a real lens, and it’s a repeatable process! There’s always the 4×5 modified with a rear plate with a DSLR lens mount, ala Cambo X2-Pro. Then, you could even use barrel lenses!

  • Leonardo Abreu

    This is actually disgusting…

  • http://www.chrismontcalmo.com/ Chris Monty

    Hmmm….$50 for a lens attachment or use Aviary app which is free. Tough call.

  • Jonathan Maniago

    I’ve owned and used a pair of Lensbabies for over 2 years now. Used in moderation, the effect is interesting at best and tolerable at worst. Unfortunately, they definitely went overboard with this iPhone attachment.

    For comparison, below is a sample image taken with a Sweet 35 optic on an APS-C Canon. Even at its widest aperture, the blur isn’t even close to being as extreme as in the samples shown above.

  • Maciej Pietuszynski

    I will sell my lens for $20…

  • docholliday666

    ^^^^ Hipster in training

  • Jonathan Maniago

    It should be noted that the blur of Lensbaby optics is primarily due to the orientation of their plane of focus rather than their depth of field. Most of their optics also have curved planes of focus, unlike standard lenses which are designed with a flat plane of focus.

    The result is what I personally refer to as “the poor man’s forced bokeh”.

  • Omar Salgado

    Pura porquería para toda la hipsteriza.

  • C Sab

    Looks like crap.