Lensbaby Sweet 35 Optic review

The Lensbaby Sweet 35 Optic produces a wider field of view than standard Lensbaby lenses, and offers internal aperture control.
Photo of Lensbaby Sweet 35 Optic

The Lensbaby Sweet 35 Optic ($180 direct) is the widest available lens for the Lensbaby system. It produces a 35mm field of view on full-frame cameras, and is compatible with most Lensbaby lens bodies that support the optic swap system. These include the Muse and Composer Pro. It will fit in the Spark, but due to the weight of the optic it is not something that Lensbaby recommends you do—the Spark’s plastic construction just isn’t up to the task.

The Sweet 35 is like other Lensbaby lenses in that it is able to capture a sharp “sweet spot” of focus, surrounded by blur. When used in conjunction with the tilting mechanism of the Muse or Composer Pro, this spot can be moved around your frame, allowing you to focus on a subject at the edge or corner while leaving the rest of the frame blurry.

It costs twice as much as the standard Double Glass Optic, but offers some improvements to justify that. The internal aperture features a 12-blade design, varying from f/2.5 all the way down to f/22, so you can quickly adjust it. Stopping down a bit increases the size of the sweet spot. To do the same with a standard Lensbaby optic you’ll have to use a magnetic wand to remove and insert aperture discs into the lens—this doesn’t lend itself for quick changes in the field. The lens design is also more refined—the Double Glass Optic is constructed from two glass elements, while the Sweet 35 uses four elements arranged in three groups. This improves image quality, but doesn’t take away from the dreamy image quality that the Lensbaby system is able to capture.

If you’re a Muse shooter and are interested in the Sweet 35, you may want to try it out before purchasing. Adjusting the aperture while holding the Muse in the desired position is a little bit tricky, and you’ll likely have to recompose your shot after adjusting the aperture. Because of this, I found the Sweet 35 to be much more enjoyable to shoot with when mounted in the Composer Pro. If you are serious about getting a Sweet 35, you may want to buy it bundled with the Composer Pro if you are currently shooting with a Muse—you’ll likely enjoy shooting with that combination, and you’ll be able to use the current Lensbaby optics in the Composer Pro, just as you would in the Muse. 

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Verdict
The Lensbaby Sweet 35 Optic produces a wider field of view than standard Lensbaby lenses, and offers internal aperture control.
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