Lensbaby Spark: Selective Focus On The Cheap - Lens Review
A few weeks ago we got a pre-availability unit of the Lensbaby Spark. Guy Prives took it for a ride and came back with fantastic images and a detailed report. Final verdict: for the price, it rocks! While Guy is a Canon guy, the Spark is available both with Nikon or Canon mounts. Read the full post for the first online review of the lens.
I was very curious when I got the lens for the review, it came in a fancy black case and it looked like nothing I have seen before. The minute I got the lens I started figuring out how it works. And the first thing was getting to change the aperture.
So I took my 5d mark II body with the new lens for a coffee place, Sat for an hour and tried focusing on everything that was in the area. Having received no manual on that pre-availability unit, I was a bit disappointed that I have no control on the focus and the depth of field. I have to admit, it wasn't Love at first sight.
Well, it didn’t take long to fall in love with the "spark" and for the next 10 days, I found myself walking with this lens welded to my camera (usually I am not "a one lens guy", more of "24-70 & 70-200" one and I never loved prime lenses).
So, after that spoiler, back to the coffee place.
My favorite field in photography is concert photography so it was obvious to me that this is the first place I going to check the Spark. I found myself at 2:00 PM with a glass of beer in a dark bar, ISO 6400 & my new lensbaby trying to capture the moment.
The magic word is simplicity
After 10 minutes with the lens you understand the idea and it become so simple.
The aperture is fixed f/5.6 and the selective focus is easy. It didn't take long to figure out that all I need to do is to "squeeze" the lens in order to put the "sweet spot" in focus and then tilt to move the "sweet spot" to a different location in the frame - as easy as it sounds.
Fun is the name of the game
Using this lens is fun, you don’t need to think too much and you can just try and see what you can get from this lens. During this last week, I found myself taking photos in more situations than I usually do, and playing with the point of focus.
As you can see from the photos below you can have your focus set on one spot while other objects in the same distance will be out of focus.
- This is a highly creative tool, it makes you think in new way and set your mood to "explore"
- It is very easy to use
- IT makes you think for each frame about what is important to be in focus and what not.
- Super lightweight
- At $80 it is definitely rated cheap
Things To Consider
- If you are a heavy iPhone user, you'll notice you can get a similar effect with Instagram. (Just sayin')
- Your subject or part of it can easily run out of focus
- As with any tight focus - a-la shooting at F/1.4 - it can get frustrating when you don't nail the focus (or discover it later on the computer monitor)
- There is no control over the size of the sweet spot.
My bottom line is two-fold. For the amateur photographer, it is a great lens if you've already mastered the technical aspects of your camera, and want to focus on the creative side.
For either heavier or lighter photographers it is a great way to rediscover the fun & light side of photography, without worrying about "pro" equipment.
For $80 It is an awesome add-on to your photography bag.
About The Author
Guy Prives is a photographer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. Guy discovered his love of photography during a long trip to South America, and now this passion to capture the moment with a click of the camera has been with him ever since. Check out more of his work at his website and Facebook page.
[Disclosure: Lensbaby is a sponsor of DIYP, we still think they do awesome stuff and had no bias on the review]