Lensbaby has just revamped its line of creative bendable "distorting" lenses at Photokina, and added a new type. This new Composer disposes with the bellows bend/focus system of earlier Lensbabies and has ball-and socket twisting with a focusing ring at the front to let you select the in-focus sweet-spot in your photos. It's also got a new Optic Swap system which lets you swap out the lenses inside for different options: these include standard lenses and a Holga-alike plastic lens. The Lensbaby original is replaced by the similar Muse, with the new swap system, the Control Freak which replaces the Lensbaby3G has it too. Both Composer and Control Freak will cost $270, while the Muse is $150. Check out the press release below.
On September 23, 2008, Lensbaby, LLC (formerly known as Lensbabies, LLC) is launching an entire new system of selective focus lenses at the Photokina tradeshow in Cologne, Germany (Hall 5.2 C021). Three new Lensbaby lenses – The Composer™, The Muse™ and The Control Freak™, – make up the new line of products. Each features the new Lensbaby Optic Swap system. The new Muse and the new Control Freak replace the current Original, Lensbaby 2.0, and Lensbaby 3G lenses, which will be phased out immediately. With the Composer, Lensbaby introduces a completely new lens, based on a ball and socket configuration that delivers smooth selective focus photography with unparalleled ease of use and greater precision. All Lensbaby lenses provide photographers with a new way to control depth of field by bringing one area of a photo into sharpest focus with that Sweet Spot™ surrounded by graduated blur. By bending the Lensbaby lens, the photographer moves the sharp area around the photo for customized creative effects. The new Composer retains its position after being bent and is easy to use even with one hand. Photographers do not squeeze the lens to focus, but can simply tilt the lens to a desired angle and then focus with a barrel focusing ring. The Composer stays in the desired bent position without requiring a locking mechanism and features the new Lensbaby Optic Swap System. The Composer's barrel focusing ring has a unique design that becomes more sensitive (requiring greater rotation to move the optic in and out) as you approach infinity, making it easer to focus on subjects from 10 feet to infinity. "The Composer introduces a new level of ease and precision to selective focus photography," said Craig Strong, Lensbaby president and co-founder. "We developed the Composer because our photographers are interested above all in creating powerful, interesting photos. With its greatly enhanced ease of use and more reliable results, the Composer will make it more intuitive for photographers to realize their personal creative visions." The Muse replaces the Original Lensbaby and Lensbaby 2.0 lenses while being very similar in appearance and functionality. Photographers will still focus by compressing the lens and move the sweet spot by bending the flexible lens tubing. The key update for the Muse is its new Lensbaby Optic Swap System. The Control Freak updates the Lensbaby 3G by adding the Lensbaby Optic Swap System. With The Control Freak, photographers compress to focus, bend to move the sweet spot, and then push a button to lock the lens in place. Once locked, photographers can adjust the fine focus with a barrel focusing ring and fine tune the tilt by rotating its three metal posts. "While we expect the new Composer, with its smooth and precise operation, to be our most popular lens, we continue to offer the Muse and the Control Freak because each photographer has their own shooting style. The Muse is for photographers who shoot fast and loose and The Control Freak is best for shooters who have a step-by-step approach," said Strong. All three lenses - the Composer, Muse, and Control Freak – feature the Lensbaby Optic Swap System and will ship with one optic installed. Additional optics are available as optional accessories. When a photographer wants to change the optic in their Lensbaby, they will simply pop the optic out and drop in a different optic using an Optic Swap Tool supplied with the new optic. Each optic has different features and image qualities, allowing photographers to choose the look that fits their creative style. At launch, the Lensbaby Optic Swap System will include four interchangeable optic options: 1) Double Glass: A 50mm multi-coated optical glass doublet that is the same optic that was in the Lensbaby 2.0 and Lensbaby 3G lenses. Retail price: US$85.00 2) Single Glass: a 50 mm, updated, uncoated optical glass singlet similar to the optic that was used in the Original Lensbaby. At f/2, the Single Glass Optic is one full stop brighter (2x as bright) than the previous Original Lensbaby Optic. Retail price: US$35.00 3) Plastic: a 50 mm f/2 plastic singlet that maximizes blur and diffusion in a dreamy way that Holga™ and Diana™ camera lovers will especially appreciate. Retail price: US$35.00 4) The Pinhole/Zone plate: an optic cup with an f/177 aperture hole to allow for pinhole photography and an f/19 Zone plate opening. Users can slide a toggle inside the optic to change to back and forth between Pinhole and Zone plate mode, allowing further artistic exploration. Retail price: US$35.00 The first three optics listed above are all 50mm fixed focal length. They all feature magnetically levitating interchangeable aperture disks that allow aperture settings from f/2 to f/22. The Single Glass, Plastic, and Pinhole/Zone plate optics will be sold individually as well as in an Optic Boxed Set to retail for $95.00. Lensbaby President and Co-Founder, Craig Strong, stated, "Lensbaby photographers tend to be very creative. The new Lensbaby Optic Swap system will give photographers greater freedom to take photos that reflect their unique visions." Strong continued, "With the new Composer lens and the Lensbaby Optic Swap System, photographers will be able to choose a lens body that fits their bending style: fast and loose, smooth and precise, or step by step. Then photographers can choose an optic that expresses their individual artistic vision." Product Pricing and Specs: The Composer – Smooth and Precise * Priced at US$270 * Ships with the Double Glass optic installed (a multi-coated optical glass doublet) * Features the Lensbaby Optic Swap system * Focal Length: 50mm * Focus Type: Manual * Features a unique barrel focusing ring that becomes more sensitive (requiring greater rotation to move the optic in and out) as you approach infinity, making it easier to focus on subjects from 10 feet to infinity. * Aperture Type: Interchangeable levitating aperture disks * Apertures: f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22 * Minimum Focus: about 18" (46cm) / Maximum Focus: Infinity * Size/Weight: 2.5" (6.35cm) high x 2.5" (6.35cm) wide / 5.5 oz (155.9g) The Muse – Fast and loose * Priced at US $150 with the Double Glass optic installed; US $100 with the Plastic optic installed * Ships with either the Double Glass optic installed or the Plastic optic installed. * Features the Lensbaby Optic Swap system * Focal Length: right around 50mm * Focus Type: Manual...Fingertip, actually * Aperture Type: Interchangeable levitating aperture disks * Aperture: f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8 * Minimum Focus: approximately 12" (30 cm) / Maximum Focus: Infinity and beyond * Size/Weight: 2" (5.08cm) high x 2.5" (6.35cm) wide / 3.7 oz. (104.9g) The Control Freak – Step-by-step * Priced at US$270 * Ships with the Double Glass Optic installed * Features the Lensbaby Optic Swap system * Focal Length: 50mm * Focus Type: Manual/Fingertip, with barrel fine focus * Aperture Type: Interchangeable levitating aperture disks * Aperture: f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22 * Minimum Focus: approximately 12" (30 cm) / Maximum Focus: Infinity * Size/Weight: 3" (7.62cm) high x 3" (7.62cm) wide / 5.7 oz. (161.6 grams)