Lensbaby Edge 50 ~ This Is Not A Review

Before I bought the Edge 50 optic earlier this year I did a bit of online searching to find out how people were using it, what their thoughts were and what sort of images they were creating with it. I found a few “proper” reviews but struggled to find any “this is what I’m doing and how I’m feeling about it” sort of posts.

If I’m honest “proper” lens reviews send me to sleep. Once I know the widest aperture and closest focus distance I just want to know what I might be able to create with it. Instead I find I’m reading phrases such as “eight elements in six groups” or “nine blade aperture diaphragm” and my attention rapidly starts to wander.

So if you are like me and just want to know about the experience of using the Edge 50 this post is for you but it’s not a review! I haven’t yet used it extensively but I don’t expect my initial thoughts are likely to change.

The bits that you might need to know are that it’s a 50mm focal length with a widest aperture of f3.2. There’s a pull out bit on the front that lets you focus closer when you need to, with that pulled out you can focus at about 8 inches away. It has a slice of focus rather than the more common Lensbaby sweet spot and it can create a miniature effect. And then there are the magical powers. They don’t seem to get a mention in other reviews but the Edge 50 definitely has magical powers that can transform the very ordinary into something a little different.

Lensbaby Edge 50 Landscape photography

I have to confess that I’m the sort of person that can find themselves in a beautifully scenic location but not feel photographically inspired. It’s almost as if that beauty has stifled me, all I can do is show that beauty exactly how it is and somehow that leaves me feeling unfulfilled.

The Edge 50 has totally changed that. The two pictures below are taken in a location I love and often visit but rarely photograph. I feel like I’ve finally been able to photograph it in a different way, in a way that feels more “me” than I can with a normal lens.

Lensbaby Edge 50 Landscape photography

Lensbaby Edge 50 Landscape photography

The miniaturisation effect can be really interesting, I haven’t yet had the chance to shoot somewhere busy and make lots of people look tiny so instead I’ve experimented with empty spaces. Below the effect isn’t so obvious but it has changed the feel of the scene completely, it’s a vast open space but the Edge 50 has sort of pulled the sky down and made it feel heavy and oppressive – or maybe that’s my imagination in overdrive!

Lensbaby Edge 50 seascape

And I love the effect on Blackpool Tower, even though I couldn’t fit it all in! I’m a big fan of 50mm as a focal length, I’m not naturally a wide shooter so this is the only time I might have found a wider lens useful.

Lensbaby Edge 50 Blackpool

So far I’ve been shooting mostly at f3.2 or f4.0, as I would with any lens. However tilting the composer allows the direction of the slice of focus to be changed, changing from a horizontal to an almost vertical slice of focus (below) transforms the image without changing the aperture.

Lensbaby Edge 50 Blackpool

Alternatively you can leave the direction of the slice of focus unchanged and simply shift the focus along to a different part of the image.

(Which is especially useful for giant plastic parrots)

Lensbaby Edge 50 Blackpool

Lensbaby Edge 50 Blackpool

Some things I’ve worked out and you should be aware of…..

If you bend the composer too far you can get a heavy vignette to one or two corners depending on the bend direction. You soon learn to avoid it but sometimes the dark shading in the blur just adds to the moodiness. I’m shooting on a full frame and I’m guessing it wont be as bad on a crop sensor.

You can get some distortion in horizons in the blur, this doesn’t bother me in the slightest but I can imagine some people might be frustrated by it.

Shooting into the sun can produce some interesting lens flares, if you are a fan of flare you will love it.

Lensbaby Edge 50 Landscape photography

In contrasty light there’s a sort of haziness that can make focusing a bit tricky, the portraits below were in a dark barn with light streaming in through a couple of openings. The haziness isn’t too obvious in the final images but it did make it difficult to focus and there is a softness about them.

Lensbaby Edge 50 portrait photography

You need to be really aware of where your slice of focus is falling in portraits, you might have focused on the face but because it’s a slice and it can be angled you might also have some unwanted background in focus. Like the hinge below!

Lensbaby Edge 50 portrait photography

The same problem arises with still life photography, it’s tricky to separate subject from background and so far I’ve only managed one or two images that I’ve been happy with. I’ll keep on experimenting but I might decide that it’s just not a still life lens.

Lensbaby Edge 50 Still life photography

 

And one final thing you must be aware of…

Those magical powers.

With the right light and a sprinkling of Lensbaby magic something that looks quite ordinary can suddenly look a little bit more special. So be prepared to shoot lots, and photograph things that you might normally ignore because you might just see it in a totally new way.

Lensbaby Edge 50 Blackpool

{For anyone that’s interested all the images were shot on a Sony A99}

 

 

 

2 Comments

  • Clare Reply

    So interesting and helpful Janet. I love your lensbaby shots. I have felt a profound need for an Edge and an LM10 for a long time now. Something has to be done!

    • Janet Broughton Reply

      Thanks so much Clare, I really do love my Lensbaby!! I do have an LM10 but I tend to only use it in fits and starts! I think you should tackle the need for an Edge first 😉

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