It is no secret that I am a huge Lensbaby fan.
I especially love to pull out my Lensbaby lenses at the beach. I love to be creative with these lenses and create images that look different from what any other lens in my bag can produce.
When I was asked if I would like to try out the new Velvet 85mm, I was ecstatic. They literally couldn’t ship this lens to me quick enough, as I was just days away from a week at the beach. The timing was perfect to play with a dream lens at my favorite place on Earth.
Well, I have a new best friend, and that is the Lensbaby Velvet 85mm. Let me share everything I love about it!
The way this lens reads light is what I have found to be the Velvet 85’s strongest attribute. With my daughter and a sun setting behind her, I literally saw fire in my lens.
These images were amazing SOOC and editing them was effortless. The way it rendered the color and the light had me instantly hooked. I found myself staring at the images on the back of my camera in awe of the colors I was seeing.
When you choose a longer focal length lens like an 85mm, you are usually in for some creamy backgrounds, and this lens does not disappoint. My subject really popped with the soft bokeh and color in the background. This created a beautiful, polished portrait. I would definitely pull this out during my client sessions as well.
It’s no surprise that this lens is sporting the word “velvet” in the name. It has that indescribable texture to its images that you can’t get anywhere else unless you are applying it in post processing. I still don’t think you can find any preset or action that creates an effect as natural as this lens produces.
It creates a look that will make your portraits rock. People will be questioning how you achieved this unique and magical look. The velvet effect is stronger at wider apertures.
I chose a sand castle/shell creation my kids made to show the differences in the final product at the various aperture settings. This really gives you a great idea how much versatility you have with this lens.
With kids comes movement. I can only make my kids stand still for so long to get a portrait and then they are on the move again. These images can speak for themselves as to how I was able to achieve sharp images with the aperture between f/2 and f/4.
I love to see how I can freeze motion with any lens and it is definitely a deal breaker for me if my images are too soft. I love the professional look of a sharp image. It’s obvious that this lens is fully capable of producing sharp images no matter how fast your subject is moving.
Using this lens
This lens is manual focus lens like the other Lensbaby lenses I have in my bag. I used it the same way I use my other ones, on live mode with a Canon 5D Mark III.
I change my exposure on live mode and manually focus on my subject using the focus ring on the lens. This method is more of a challenge than using a fully automatic lens but this is what makes it so rewarding. Creating powerful images using a manual lens is a creative outlet for me and with the Velvet 85mm I consistently produce satisfying results.
Words & photographs by Marcie Reif