If you’re serious about the Lensbaby system, the Composer Pro ($300 direct with Double Glass Optic, $400 with Sweet 35 Optic) is the lens you’ll want to get. Unlike the less-expensive Spark and Muse lenses, the Composer Pro gives you fine control over how much tilt you’ll introduce to your images via a locking ball-and-socket mechanism, and focus is achieved via a standard focus ring rather than a pushing and pulling action. This makes it possible to take the time and set up a shot exactly as you want it, or to use the lens in a more free-flowing fashion as you would with the less refined Lensbaby lenses. Even with its price tag, the Composer Pro’s flexibility, ease of use, and build quality earn it our Editors’ Choice award for toy and special effects lenses.
The Composer Pro is available for cameras that use Canon EOS, Nikon F, Sony A, Pentax K, Four Thirds, Sony E, Samsung NX, and Micro Four Thirds lens mounts. It is available for purchase with either the Double Glass Optic or Sweet 35 Optic installed. The former has been the standard for Lensbabies for some time. It captures a 50mm field of view on a full-frame camera and has a maximum aperture of f/2. It can be stopped down using included magnetic discs and produces the classic Lensbaby look that is characterized by a sharp area of focus surrounded by blur. The smaller you set the aperture, the less pronounced the Lensbaby effect will be.
The Sweet 35 Optic is more refined. It produces a wider 35mm field of view on a full-frame camera and has a maximum aperture of f/2.5. You won’t need to adjust the aperture using magnetic rings as it features a standard internal 12-blade diaphragm controlled by twisting the front of the lens. This gives you a bit of freedom in controlling the amount of blur you’ll get in your photos, as you won’t have to remove and drop in aperture discs using a magnetic wand in order to change its setting.
Using the Composer Pro is a different experience than shooting with the Spark or Muse, as it allows you to choose whether to take your time and set up shots on a tripod, or go with a more spontaneous approach and freely adjust the tilt and focus for handheld shooting. If you aren’t generally a tripod shooter, you may feel more comfortable using the Muse; it lends itself well to spontaneous shooting and is half the cost. But if you can afford it, the Composer Pro will give you both the creative freedom of the Muse and the ability to take your time when fine tuning your shots. Because of this, it earns our Editors’ Choice award for toy and special effects lenses.
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