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Original Lensbaby flexible SLR lens

Ralf Jurrien
PMA 2010 Report
Monday 5th, March 2007
Posted by: Ralf Jurrien

Lensbabies, show-cases The Original Lensbaby, a flexible camera lens that creates a `sweet spot' area of focus that photographers can move around the image area by bending the flexible lens tubing. The Original Lensbaby brings the imperfect Holga look to digital and film SLR photography, but with greater versatility and new effects. While Lensbabies have broad appeal, the unique imagery is particularly attractive to portrait, wedding, product, and fashion photographers. "A Lensbaby allows me to interpret a scene and gives me the ability to go back in time and shoot digitally the way that Coburn and the other greats did with the box cameras," said professional photographer Jerry Hart.

Original Lensbaby

Flexible SLR camera lens
An image created by a Lensbaby lens has a circular area of sharp focus. The photographer can move that in-focus area by bending the flexible lens tubing in any direction. The farther from this sharp area, the greater the blurring and prismatic color distortions. Photographers can control the size of the sharp area and the overall level of blur by using one of four aperture settings: f2.8, f4, f5.6, and f8. "The beauty of these lenses is in their calculated imperfection," said Craig Strong, the inventor of the Lensbaby and Co-Founder of Lensbabies, LLC. Strong invented the Lensbaby in an effort to create a digital equivalent to his Holga camera.

Original Lensbaby - Flexible SLR lens
The Original Lensbaby combines several vintage camera technologies into a novel, patent-pending combination. The shooter focuses a Lensbaby using the same general principle used with a bellows camera - by moving the focusing collar in and out with the fingertips. The photographer moves the `sweet spot' of focus around the picture plane by bending the glass optic out of a parallel position to the image capture plane, like a tilt-shift lens. Finally, reminiscent of Waterhouse stops, the photographer swaps apertures by removing one aperture ring and replacing it with another. This operation takes less than 10 seconds.

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Flexible SLR lens - Original Lensbaby
The Original Lensbaby is easy to master. Most photographers get rewarding images within a short practice period. Using a digital SLR camera, a photographer can take experimental shots and get immediate feedback to hone in on the look they want. While technologically rooted in photography's early history, The Original Lensbaby addresses the creative needs of today's often completely digital photographer. The Lensbaby creates tantalizing and gorgeous effects, but does the work in the lens rather than the photographer later applying software filters to add a creative look to their images.

Original Lensbaby flexible SLR camera lens
"With a Lensbaby, you can do things you can't do in Photoshop," said Jerry Hart, a professional photographer. Photographers have found that using a Lensbaby enhances their creativity by giving them a fresh look and a new way to create interest within their photos. "I love my Lensbaby! It gets me out of the box and allows me to capture my images the way I feel them. I can selectively focus in, and highlight the things I like in a composition," said Peggy Irelan, a professional photographer from Colorado. Creativity may be the decisive reason that most photographers add a Lensbaby to their camera bag, but nostalgia is also a draw. The Original Lensbaby is available for sale now at the Lensbabies website and camera supply stores for $96.

About Lensbabies
Lensbabies, LLC is a Portland, Oregon based manufacturer and marketer of award-winning selective focus SLR camera lenses. Lensbabies was launched in February 2004 by Craig Strong, a professional photographer and the inventor of the patent pending Lensbaby selective focus SLR lens. Lensbabies sells to photographers all over the world through its website and at tradeshows, and through specialty photographic equipment retailers.

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The PMA show, or Photo Marketing Association, continues its yearly tradition of maintaining a network of photo imaging as well as the experience and know-how of the industry. The PMA represents 20,000 members from over 100 countries, who are all active within the imaging industry. As a reflection of the changes in the market, the PMA organization has also changed and has become more diverse. Nowadays, the member group consists of representatives coming from photo retail, manufacturers, commercial photo labs, professional sports and news photography, in addition to small album print suppliers and photo processing centers. The PMA 2012 Trade show focuses on an industry which is heavily affected by the unstable situation of the global financial economy. However, whether the latter will also stand in the way of the innovation and product introductions, remains to be revealed by the PMA International Convention & Trade Show in Anaheim Convention Center (California, US).