Updated: Feb 16
Why More Lensbabies ?
Going back to what I said in a previous post about Pentax and the lack of lens support, It was obvious from my purchase of the Velvet 56 that I needed to act quickly if I wanted to secure any more K-Mount Lensbaby lenses.
I decided I would like a Velvet 85 and the only place I had seen one in Pentax fit was on the Wex site. It turned out to be the last one ! As soon as I had placed my order, they removed it from their website. At the same time I had a conversation with Lensbaby and enquired about a special order for a Composer Pro II with the Sweet 50 optic. This was then ordered then ordered through Wex at the same time as the Velvet 85. At least with the Optic Swap System, once I had the Composer Pro, I could add different optics at a later date.
This is a manual stand-alone lens. Focal length 85mm; f/1.8 and is very similar to the Velvet 56 I described in my post last month. The differences are the focal length (obviously), the maximum aperture of f/1.8 (versus f/1.6) and the minimum aperture of f/16 (versus f/22).
The Optic Swap System
The Composer Pro II is not a lens, it's basically a pair of hollow tubes connected by a ball joint. The first tube mounts on the front of the camera. The other tube has a focus ring and accepts plug-in (or rather push and twist-in) lens units or optics. The individual optics each have their own aperture ring. The purpose of the ball and socket design is to shift the point of focus; up, down, left, right or anywhere in-between. Lensbaby don't supply the Composer Pro II on its own. You have to buy it with one of the optics. I chose the Sweet 50.
Sweet 50 Optic
This is a 50mm plug-in lens (optic) which fits into the Composer Pro. It has a round "sweet spot" of focus in the centre surrounded by blur. This has the effect of directing the viewer’s eye to a certain part of the photo and creating a sense of movement.
This behave like extension tubes in that they are hollow, with no glass. They fit between the Composer Pro body and the Optic. They come in a set of two - a 8mm and a 16mm - which can be stacked together to give a 24mm extension. So far, I have tended to use them stacked together as it's suited my close-ups of flowers and the like. I find them a bit awkward to use to be honest, Lensbaby also make a set of "Macro Filters" which screw into the front of the optics. these are probably less fiddly in use but will come at a cost of losing some light transmission.