Lensbaby: A special SLR special effects lens with selective focus to be manipulated.
Did you notice I haven't had any new toys in awhile? I've been saving up for a Lensbaby Kit. (The kit was available through Lensbaby via Amazon). It's the closest thing to a Tilt shift lens I could find. I've been wanting a tilt shift lens for some time and even though it's ideal, a Lensbaby is literally over thousands of dollars cheaper and so far, a much more fun investment. As much as I'd love to answer each and every question on this, this post is just for what the kit contains.
The kit has three different optic lenses (pinhole, plastic, and single glass), a composer, a macro lens, the wide angle, the telephoto, and the different filters for bokeh. It comes with so much, and the possibilities are endless (it seems) and I'm still in the early stage of familiarizing myself with a Lensbaby.
Lensbaby with wide angle attached
I'm using the Composer with the heart shaped bokeh filter more (fun and addicting), and I attached the wide angle for a couple shots.
Now, what's the difference between the Diana lenses for SLR and the Lensbaby optics? I noticed there is more control to the Lensbaby. With the Diana lens, there's a light leak, overexposure very much like an original Diana, but you can't do much with the focus, and once the Diana lens interlocks, you can't adjust the mechanism to shift focus or much of anything, really. I'll still be using my Diana lenses, and I'm glad I purchased them, but I wish I would have just invested in the Lensbaby sooner. They each have their unique differences, but if we're talking technical differences, Lensbaby is the way to go. You get more bang for your buck, or whatever that saying is.
The Lensbaby also has the option of a "sweet spot"- one focal point of the photo. The rest can be distorted, have a tilt-shift effect or anything you'd like really with the other lenses (yes, it's a vague statement but keep in mind, this is in the early stages, remember?) Below is a good example of the "sweet spot". Similar to a 50mm, but obviously not as sharp and more dramatic.
This is the magnetic apparatus to change the discs. It's a bit weird looking, but comes in handy to not scratch your lens, discs and pick up the discs without our greasy hands all over our lenses.
Overall, I love the kit. I'm glad I saved up for it. I'm a little overwhelmed with it at times, there's SO much. However, there are fun effects you can make with the kit without having to purchase from other brands. I need to figure out what I like best in this kit; I have a ton of cameras I'd love to take traveling with me. The reality is, taking the time to change a filter/lens/optic/composer/filter disc to get one good shot may be worth it but not at the sake of convenience. I have a poor habit of losing myself behind the lens, worrying about capturing each moment, rather than just enjoying it, allowing my memory to do it's job. That is my only complaint. It's so fun, I can't put it down. I'll be back with more on this, but this is just a small start.
You can purchase the kit here, for Canon.
For Nikon users, you can get it here.