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Lensbaby Velvet 56

Updated: Feb 16, 2020

First Impressions

I’ve had this lens just over a week now and if it wasn’t for the great people at Lensbaby I wouldn’t have it at all. Read on ...

Being a Pentax camera user is beginning to be made to feel like a second class citizen these days. Pentax lenses are way overpriced and the likes of Sigma and Tamron are tending to aim their new lenses solely at Canon, Nikon and Sony users.

I’ve known about Lensbaby as a lens manufacture for a few years but haven’t kept up-to-date with their product range so I still associated them with the “twisty turny” tilt-shift type lenses that made everything look like a scene from Postman Pat.

It it wasn’t until I did a short online painterly flower course at CreativeLive run by Cathleen Clemons that I became aware of a whole new world of creative possibilities. I’m not going to go into any more detail here but I’ll include the Lensbaby website link at the end of this article. Suffice to say I was attracted by the “Velvet 56”. The problem came why I tried to buy one with a Pentax K Mount. Amazon (UK) had one which was being imported from Germany and was ridiculously expensive. Wex had a Velvet 85 but when I asked them about getting a Velvet 56 with a Pentax mount they said that Lensbaby were no longer making them. At that point I contacted Lensbaby direct and was told they could do me a custom order while they still had some K mounts left. They contacted Wex for me and Wex gave me a price which was comparable with Canon or Nikon fit lenses.

This is not a technical review, in fact it's not even a review as such. You'll find plenty of those on the web and also on YouTube.

What Is The Velvet 56

Be warned, if you absolutely hate any kind of soft focus photographs then you probably aren't going to get the most from this lens.

This is a 56mm prime lens with manual focussing and aperture, so you'll need to be comfortable with sticking your camera on Manual and using the aperture ring on the lens. It has a maximum aperture of f/1.6. It's sometimes advertised as a Macro Lens but at 1:2 it isn't true macro. Nevertheless it can get you some good closeups.

You won't get any EXIF information regarding the lens make or model, nor the selected aperture so you'll have to invent something during or after importing into Lightroom or whatever processing software you use. Adding keywords at import time will help ident