Gear + Equipment

Lens Line Intros Its Newest Baby [Tech Tuesday]

April 7, 2015

By RF Staff

We all have our favorite lenses, adored for their sharpness, speed and overall incredible optics. But sometimes we want something just a little different.

That's when it's time to look at alternatives, including the just-announced  Velvet 56 from Lensbaby.


Lensbaby is long known for its funky little lenses that have an adjustable sweet spot surrounded by a pleasing-to-the-eye blur. Photographer/inventor and Lensbaby's chief creative officer Craig Strong began the company with an idea; he cobbled together the first Lensbaby from optics purchased on eBay and vacuum cleaner hoses, and has turned into a line of lenses that produce beautiful and unique images.

Today, Lensbaby announced another addition to its line—the Velvet 56. A 56mm, f/1.6 portrait lens, the Velvet 56 doubles as a 1:2 macro lens with a minimum focusing distance of five inches.

The Velvet 56, as its name implies, delivers beautifully smooth bokeh surrounding a sharply focused sweet spot and features 9 diaphragm blades and 4 elements in 3 groups. The lens measures a mere 3.34 x 2.8 inches, although its all-metal body weighs adds a little heft at 14.46 ounces.


A special silver edition, which features a clear anodized finish as well as engraved aperture and focus markings, is available in limited quantities for Canon EF and Nikon F mounts for $600. The more versatile black version, which features the same smooth dampened manual focus as its silver sibling but lacks the engraved aperture and focus markings, is compatible with Canon EF, Nikon F, Pentax K and Sony Alpha A mounts.

Check out some image samples here to see the "velvety glow," that the lens produces, then place your order. The lenses start shipping on April 13 just in time for spring flowers and the upcoming wedding season.

$500 (black)
$600 (special edition silver)