I’ve been really lucky to have had a loan of a beta version of the brand new Lensbaby Edge 35 for the last couple of weeks and although the weather has meant that I’ve not managed to use it as much as I would have liked I’ve really enjoyed shooting with it.
If you aren’t familiar with the Edge optics they are very different to the rest of the Lensbaby range and totally different to shooting with a standard lens! The Edge optics have a slice of focus that can be manipulated by tilting the composer, it can be a horizontal, vertical or even a diagonal slice. You can manipulate the blurred areas in a way that’s just not possible with anything else, you can have parts of the foreground and background in focus and out of focus at the same time.
Not the greatest of pictures but it does show how the slice of focus works with the boats & buildings on the right in focus and the left a lovely blur ….
And below is a series of images all shot at the same aperture (f4) but with the optic tilted in different directions to create subtle changes in the areas of focus and blur.
It’s also possible, in the right circumstances, to create a miniature effect with the Edge 35 (and Edge 50). This is most effective shooting from a slightly raised position and unfortunately I’ve not had the opportunity to test this effect. I’d really hoped to head out again this week but we currently have the sort of weather that feels like it might blow you right of your feet, not ideal for photography!
So since I can’t head out I had a little play with a still life set up this morning. I shot this at the Edge 35’s widest aperture which is f3.5 and was reasonably close (the bottles are only about 2″ tall). By tilting the composer upwards I was able to focus on the flower and blur the bottles. With any other Lensbaby the bottles would be almost on the same focal plane as the flower, they may appear slightly soft but they certainly wouldn’t blur to this degree.
A small selection of the places I’ve been shooting with the Edge 35, hopefully you can see the unique way this Lensbaby blurs things in these shots….
When I’m out and about with my camera I’m not aiming to create images that are an authentic document of a place, there are lots of photographers that do that really well but shooting that way just doesn’t appeal. I’m always trying to create my own interpretation of a scene, something that’s more unique and captures an element of how I feel. That process starts in camera, and although it sometimes ends in Photoshop with a creative edit, getting something individual and unique in the original image is really important to me. The Edge 35 gives me the freedom to play around with focus and blur to create something that feels like “me” – I’m not sure if that even makes sense to anyone else but some images just feel right, if I put a normal lens on my camera nothing really feels right!
Would I recommend the Edge 35?
Yes I would, but then again I’ve never tried a Lensbaby that I haven’t loved!