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Lensbaby 2.0 offers sharper sweet spot, quicker aperture changing than the original  
Wednesday, March 23, 2005 | by Rob Galbraith

Lensbaby 2.0, a revised version of the all-manual, selective focus specialty lens for film and digital SLR cameras, improves upon the original Lensbaby in several respects.

Most notably, the sweet spot, or the area of the image that is rendered in sharp focus, is obviously sharper in photos taken with a Lensbaby 2.0.

A quick comparison of the two versions (we have both original and second-generation Lensbabies here) on a Canon EOS-1D Mark II shows the difference clearly. The sweet spot improvement is a result of a change in the optical formulation of the lens: it now employs a coated low dispersion optical glass doublet in place of the single uncoated optical glass element in the original.

Full-resolution photos on the Lensbaby web site show well how much of an improvement there is in the sharpness at the point of focus.

It's also easier to change the aperture now, thanks to a magnetic arrangement that forces the aperture disc into the correction position inside the lens. And the aperture discs themselves come in a holder whose top appears to be a lid from a Kodak film canister.

The Lensbaby 2.0's aperture range has also been extended by one stop, with the addition of f/2 to the existing f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6 and f/8 of the original Lensbaby.

lensbaby_2.jpg

Lensbaby 2.0, invented by Portland, Oregon-based photographer Craig Strong, will ship starting on March 31, 2005 direct from Lensbabies for US$150, and by mid-April it's to be on the shelves of certain pro photo retailers also. The original Lensbaby continues to be sold, for US$96.

Both versions of Lensbaby selective focus lenses can be purchased in mounts for Canon, Nikon and other brands of SLR cameras.

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