The Lensbaby Double Glass Optic ($90 direct) has been the standard optic for the Lensbaby Muse since its introduction, but it is also available for purchase separately. It features a maximum aperture of f/2, which can be stopped down using a magnetic disc system, and produces an image circle that is large enough for use with full-frame cameras.
It’s an upgrade worth considering if you own the entry-level Lensbaby Spark or a supplement to the company’s top-end Composer Pro, if you bought that lens bundled with the Sweet 35 Optic.
The Double Glass Optic is, as its name implies, a two-element lens with a 50mm focal length. At maximum aperture it produces a very small circle of sharp focus that quickly gives way to blurriness. Inserting the included f/2.8 or f/4 aperture disc increases the area of sharpness, as well as overall image contrast. Depending on which Lensbaby lens you are using it with, you can tilt the lens to change this sweet spot of sharpness. The disc system can be a bit awkward to use in the field, as you’ll need to use a magnetic wand to remove and insert discs to change the f-stop. The more expensive Sweet 35 Optic ditches it in favor of a standard internal aperture control. That lens delivers a wider field of view, which isn’t always desirable, and its maximum aperture is about half an f-stop slower at f/2.5.
Depending on your subject matter, you can use the optic to create different looks. Shooting an object with bright lights behind it can create incredibly impressive highlights behind your subject. For portraiture, you can use the optic to isolate your subject’s face and create a swirly, blurry background.
The Double Glass Optic is the one lens that every Lensbaby owner should have access to. The large aperture produces more compelling images than the f/5.6 optic that is included with the Spark, and its magnetic aperture ring system allows you to stop down when desired. Its images are rougher in quality than the high-end Sweet 35 and Edge 80 optics, but that’s part of what gives the Lensbaby system its charm.
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