Achieve Beautiful Bokeh with Lensbaby’s New Velvet 85

July 5, 2017

By Theano Nikitas

Regardless of how you pronounce it, we're all looking for the perfect bokeh, especially when shooting portraits. And, thanks to Lensbaby, we now have a wonderful alternative for velvety softness, lovely skin tones and a look that's just a little bit different from other 85mm lenses. Enter the new Lensbaby Velvet 85.

Like the Lensbaby Velvet 56, you'll get a film-like feel with the new 85mm version but with a focal length that's a staple for professional portrait photographers. The lens offers an aperture range of  f/1.8 to f/16, providing plenty of room to move from luxurious blur to the perfect amount of sharpness when you stop it down to f/5.6 or smaller.

Image courtesy of Lensbaby/Photo © James Eldridge Photography

The lens focuses from 9.5 inches to infinity and easily achieves 1:2 macro shots when capturing wedding bouquets and ring photos.

Image courtesy of Lensbaby/Photo © Anne Belmont Photography

Available for most cameras, the Lensbaby Velvet 85 comes in Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony E, Sony Alpha A, Fuji X, Micro 4/3, Pentax K and Samsung NX mounts. It accommodates 67mm filters and weighs about 1.7 pounds. Mirrorless models come with a metal lens hood, while the hood is built in on DSLR versions.

Mirrorless models measure a little more than 4 inches at infinity focus to about 5.7 inches at minimum focus while DSLR lenses are slightly smaller at 3.5 inches when focused at infinity and 5.2 inches at minimum focus. Both have a 3.1-inch diameter.

The lens can be pre-ordered now and will be available on July 11 for $500. Lensbaby has partnered with photographer Kevin Kubota on the Velvet 85, so if you want to check out his video about shooting portraits, head over to Lensbaby University (registration is free). I have a collection of Lensbaby lenses, going back to the original, but I can't wait to try out the Lensbaby Velvet 85—I have a feeling this lens is going to be a star.

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