The Lensbaby 3G that I purchased on eBay last week arrived yesterday — just in time for me to have only a few minutes to play with it before heading off to Zen. I spent all of today looking forward to having time with my Lensbaby this evening… then found myself fresh out of ideas for still life setups in my house after only an hour (which, honestly, didn’t seem like that long).
Two more photos and some product commentary after the jump…
The first thing I learned about my new Lensbaby is that my Nikon D50 will only work in Manual mode with this lens attached. On top of that, the metering system won’t even work, due to how Nikon cameras communicate with their lenses in Manual mode. I can’t just tell my camera what the aperture on the 3G is, so Manual mode turns into Very Manual mode. No in-camera light meter.
This will be good practice for me, though. I have film cameras (the Voigtländer in particular) that I don’t use often because they don’t have built-in light meters, and I’d hate to waste film on poorly-exposed images (no, I don’t have a handheld light meter). Now, I can practice digitally and get a feel for light conditions without wasting expensive film. (The histogram display was particularly helpful to me this evening; I’d never really used it before, but it was a handy tool, since I had no light meter whatsoever.)
It’s been a long time since I regularly used manual focus. My old Minolta was manual, but I haven’t busted out that axe for over three years. It’s a little bit of a learning curve, getting used to manual focus again — not just seeing it, but manipulating the lens to achieve it. I’m getting a feel for how the lens handles and how to get it to do what I want.
See, the focus on the Lensbaby isn’t just a ring that turns; it’s a tilt-shift lens of sorts, and you manipulate the barrel with your fingertips. I chose the Lensbaby model that has a locking mechanism and options to fine-tune the focus — other models require the photographer to hold the focus steady with the middle and ring fingers while pressing the shutter with the index finger. I wasn’t down with that.
I’ll be posting more Lensbaby 3G photos to my Flickr over the next few days. I got some decent images, but it’s going to take some time before I feel really comfortable with the lens.