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Today, we’re giving something that goes along with the last item in that series: a camera lens. But hey, this certainly isn’t just a camera lens. We’re giving away a special lens that lets you take super special images. What’s this lens called? Why, it’s the Lensbaby Composer Pro, of course!

Yes, we are giving away the Lensbaby Composer Pro with Double Glass Optic (Canon dSLR mount) lens to one of our readers (maybe you can meet up with whoever got the Canon T4i and put your prizes together). Overall, it’s a fantastic little lens which will allow for creative shots, but I wouldn’t use it all the time. There are several pros and cons for sure, but you won’t know about them until you read this article, right? Let’s get in there and see what the Lensbaby Composer Pro has to offer.

We’re also giving this review unit away. So stick around after the review to find out how to win this Lensbaby!

Price and the Lensbaby Composer Pro’s competition

The Lensbaby Composer Pro comes out to be a whopping $300 with Double Glass Optic Specs (which is what we have), and it goes up a little to $400 when you add on the Sweet 35 Optic Specs. Seeing that it is incredibly unique, it was actually a little hard to find any competition. Based entirely on the Lensbaby system, this particular lens is priced a tad steeper than the Composer ($200), the Muse ($150), and the Scout ($250). However, the Double Optic Specs model is a little cheaper than the Lensbaby Control Freak ($350).

lensbaby composer pro review

Now, seeing this is a lens with creative distortion, where it allows you to focus on a specific area, blurring out other parts; there is a limited market.However, there are a few other companies like Lomography that offers products which provide other creative effects. With Lomography, you end up buying entire toy cameras without interchangeable lenses. One such camera is the Diana F+ ($89) which creates actual Instagram-like film photos. Another one is the Fisheye No. 2 ($75) which provides photos in a similar style, but in this case, it comes with a lovely, bulgy twist. However, they still do not offer the type of image that the Composer Pro creates.

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Understandably, there may be a little bit of confusion as to whether or not the Lensbaby Composer Pro is a tilt/shift lens or not. However, you’ll notice that Composer Pro blurs and stretches the image inward, while a tilt/shift lens selectively focuses portions of the image (similar to the Composer) and creates a “miniaturing” effect. Along with a few other visual and mechanical distinctions, one can tell that the Composer Pro isn’t a tilt/shift lens at all. However, if you add on the Lensbaby Optics Edge 80 to the Composer Pro ($300), the Composer Pro can be transformed into a relatively inexpensive tilt/shift lens.

Initial Impressions

The packaging of the Lensbaby Composer Pro with Double Glass Optic was quite professional – small and simple, but definitely professional. In no way did it feel cheap. Furthermore, when I first opened the package, I felt that the Composer Pro itself was quite sturdy. It has metal pieces, and its swiveling components felt long-lasting. In all truth, I was fairly pleased with my initial hands-on interaction with the lens.

lensbaby composer pro review

However, after diving into the Composer Pro a little more, I was a little uneasy. For instance, the lens is manual, and when I mean manual, I mean that in order to switch the aperture, you literally have to take out aperture rings with a magnet to change them. Not the “clicky-clicky” vintage lens kind of manual. This is “let’s take apart the lens and see what kind of cool things we can make” kind of manual. Right off the bat, I immediately thought of how that could be problematic. Losing pieces was the main issue that came to mind.

Granted, it would have been unfair for me to base my entire view of the lens off this. So after looking at the lens and then setting it aside, I decided that I simply just did not know what to think.

Lensbaby Review

The Lensbaby Composer Pro is not made with practical photography in mind at all. Do not expect to be taking it to family get-togethers or vacations simply because it will not provide the types of photos that you want. I mean, unless you want photos with half of Grandma’s face blurred out, then be my guest… Additionally, its practicality goes out the window with its need to change aperture rings using a magnetic stick. Do you really want to have to do that whenever the light changes outside at the 25th annual family reunion? No. No you don’t.

The Composer Pro is ideal for creative, artistic shots where the user would want to highlight a specific part of a frame. For instance, consider pictures of fruit. You could focus on the fruit while the rest of the photo is blurred out. However, this seems to be about the only trick that the lens can pull off (or at least this is it’s only intended trick). I can see where it could be used every once in a while, but for an entire photo session? Eh. I don’t know.

lensbaby composer pro review

I want to reinforce the fact that this lens is totally manual. This means that there is no electronic communication with the camera body whatsoever. Although this goes without saying (and I doubt you would even want to use it) there is no autofocus with this lens. With that said, the autofocus would kind of defeat the purpose of the lens, wouldn’t it? Below, we have some specs:

  • Available in mounts for these SLR cameras: Canon EF (EOS), Nikon F, Sony Alpha A / Minolta Maxxum, Pentax K / Samsung GX, Olympus E1 cameras.
  • Available in mounts for these mirrorless cameras: Samsung NX, Panasonic Lumix G Micro System, Olympus PEN, and Sony NEX digital cameras.
  • Refined metal ball design delivers ultra-smooth focus and tilt control
  • Ships with either the Sweet 35 Optic or Double Glass Optic installed
  • Compatible with the Lensbaby Optic Swap System
  • Focus Type: Manual
  • Size/Weight: 2.25” (5.71cm) high x 2.5” (6.35cm) wide / 4 oz (113.4g)
  • Tilts from zero to 17.5 degrees

Don’t get me wrong – this is a nifty lens for creating artistic shots. It could be used in a variety of ways (because every trick can be modified). Furthermore, it has a great sharp image. However, I wouldn’t say that this is for the hobbyist photographer.

Living With The Lensbaby Composer Pro

You wouldn’t bring a knife to a gun fight, but that isn’t to say a knife isn’t great for other things. Like chopping onions… or maybe even spreading butter on bread. (Let’s ignore the whole “gun fight” statement.) The same goes for this particular lens. The Lensbaby Composer Pro just isn’t practical, but it is great for specific purposes.

lensbaby composer pro double glass review

Usage of this lens is simple. After putting in the appropriate aperture (based on the current light situation and depth of field desired, of course), you should point the lens at the subject in frame. When I say point, I don’t mean point your camera like you usually would. The Lensbaby Composer Pro has a swiveling mechanism that allows you to aim it at certain angles. This is a pretty nifty feature, actually.

lensbaby composer pro double glass review

For instance, there a few types of photos you can take with this. You guys know what shallow depth of field is, right? Great! With the Lensbaby Composer Pro, using one of the wide aperture rings, you can get a shallow depth of field of your subject, and then after that, you can distort that already-blurred portion of the screen. With proper lighting, that can create a beautiful photo.

lensbaby composer pro double glass optic review

After pointing the lens at the the in-frame subject (dubbed the “Sweet Spot”), you should focus on it. Seeing how this lens purposefully takes nearly half the image (distributed into different parts of the frame) and puts it out of focus, that may be a little troublesome. However, I’m sure that you’ll get the hang of it.

lensbaby composer pro double glass optic review

Should you buy it?

Overall, I would say this is a great lens… for specific purposes. You should get it only if you want a specific style of shot. I think it’s a great item to keep in the camera bag, but you should only pull it out when you really need it. But paying $300 for a piece of equipment that you’d rarely use is less than ideal.

MakeUseOf Recommends: Don’t buy it (unless you want to use it for uber-creative shots).

Well, it might not have worked out for us but the Lensbaby Composer Pro with Double Glass Optic is still a great, creative lens to own. So if you’d like to give it a go, join the competition below!

How do I win the Lensbaby Composer Pro?

Step 1: Fill in the giveaway form

Please fill in the form with your real name and email address so that we can get in touch if you are chosen as a winner.

The giveaway code required to activate the form is available from our Facebook page, Twitter stream and Google+ page.

 

The giveaway is over. Congratulations, Patrick Danforth! You would have received an email from jackson@makeuseof.com. Please reply within 48 hours to claim your prize.

Step 2: Share!

You’re almost done. Now, all that’s left to do is to share the post!

Like it

Tweet it

+1 on Google


(Note: no points will be awarded.)

By participating in this giveaway, you agree to the giveaway rules.

This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, August 24th. The winners will be selected at random and informed via email.

Spread the word to your friends and have fun!

Interested in sponsoring a giveaway? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us via the form at the bottom of this page.

  1. Panji Hitam
    September 10, 2012 at 2:32 am

    nice luck for the winner...

  2. tarzan2001
    August 25, 2012 at 3:44 am

    I hope I win this! :D

  3. Kevin Fegan
    August 23, 2012 at 10:05 am

    This would be great to have.

    Thanks for rmaking it available!!

  4. Luvrockz Ariph
    August 20, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    awwsome

  5. Karen Ang
    August 19, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    This is sweet!

  6. sachiny009
    August 18, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Got camera Need this Baby

  7. Jeffrey S
    August 16, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    I'm in!!
    Good luck to all!!

  8. Artur Rzhiskiy
    August 15, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Interesting, but honestly useless. Can do better job with photoshop.

  9. Mila Kun
    August 15, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    squee!! I want this!

  10. Mani Ahmed
    August 15, 2012 at 4:25 am

    I am not a very avid photographer but still want to understand how good this performs on a nikon d5200 (err wait, if i get an adapter) then photoshop !

  11. Phill Johnson
    August 13, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    This is a great give away

  12. Phill Johnson
    August 13, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    this lens can make a picture 20 times clearer

  13. Mina Li
    August 12, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    This is a really interesting lens! I really like the swiveling mechanism they described.

  14. Dmitriy Sukhanov
    August 12, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Thanx for the chance!

  15. Enn Ellandi
    August 12, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Couldn't get a code from facebook ;(

  16. Beh Han
    August 12, 2012 at 4:57 am

    Weird lens.... o.O

  17. Carolyn Cline
    August 12, 2012 at 3:01 am

    Good luck to me!

  18. dan
    August 11, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    If I use my Facebook page does that mean MAKEUSEOF now will bug me and all my contacts with their postings?

    • Saikat Basu
      August 12, 2012 at 7:33 am

      Dan, we aren't a spam site. We are selective with the information we send out. Our information will come to your news feed just as others from your friends do. Unless and until you share it with your friends or like it, they won't be aware of it. There are alternate methods of joining too. Check them out above.

  19. blivitlurad
    August 11, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Good luck, folks!

  20. Jack Keller
    August 11, 2012 at 2:57 am

    I'm not sure how I'd work this into my daily workflow, but I'm certain I'd find something fun to shoot with it. My T4i may want to play with it!

  21. Victor Hurtado
    August 10, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Great lens, I have been wishing for one of this babies for a while!!!
    Hope lady luck is on my side:-)
    Thank you guys!

  22. Bing Hau Yap
    August 10, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Ah, hope I can get this baby.

  23. Kim Connors
    August 10, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Is this a USA resident draw only? I'm in Canada.

  24. Thomas Nord
    August 10, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    I've been able to play with one of these a bit and they are super fun, but I totally agree with the Don't Buy recommendation here. Unless you have the cash to plop down for a lens you'll probably not use very often, it's just not worth the money.

  25. Bj Reilly
    August 10, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    Very interesting

  26. Anh Tao
    August 10, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    I was just reading about this lens the other day, and wish I can have one. Can't believe you guys are giving it away for real. I WANT THIS!

  27. paula
    August 10, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Hope I'm lucky! What a great prize!

  28. Nezlo
    August 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Very nice, good luck to those that entered!

  29. Jill Mobley
    August 10, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Looks like fun!

  30. Brian Stone
    August 10, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Remember the 'old days' when it was fun to enter your contests. Didn't need Twitter, Facebook or +1 on Google. Only thing needed was to be a subscribing member of makeuseof. Now the only way it seems to be able to enter is to AWARD Likes, or Tweets or some other crap and Buy The Entry. Are you people so unsure of yourself that the only way you can feel good is to BUY your LIKES etc.

    How sad for you.

    • Joshua Lockhart
      August 10, 2012 at 5:21 pm

      Hi Brian. I'm terribly sorry for the inconvenience.

    • Jackson Chung
      August 11, 2012 at 8:36 am

      Hi Brian,

      When have we NOT incorporated social networking into our giveaways? There have been none, as far as I can remember.

  31. Shing
    August 10, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Cool!

  32. Eric
    August 10, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    I have a Cannon camera so this would be great if I won.

  33. MT C
    August 10, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    I've been looking at this sweet setup for over a year now and just can't justify the purchase. The base price isn't really too bad for what you can actually do with the lens (purely from reading of course) and the people who have one say its the best of its kind. Be sure to check out some of the other products on their site. They do awesome things with lenses.

    I'm not entering as I have an Oly PL 1 and it won't do me any good. So good luck to you others out there!

  34. W Bonham
    August 10, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Good review. I would have entered but thought I'd let someone win who would actually use the lens.

  35. Joses Lemmuela
    August 10, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Whoa, this thing is really expensive for its features, and it's fully manual too. Still would love to win it though :D

  36. Darren Donohoe
    August 10, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    whats the best way to score points?

    • Tina
      August 10, 2012 at 4:50 pm

      Darren,

      The best way to gain points is to share our articles via social networks and to write thorough comments. Obviously, sharing is the easiest way.

  37. SerJ Agheev
    August 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    super!!

  38. VS Vishnu
    August 10, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    costly

  39. Sam Davie
    August 10, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Have suitable camera, love new toys, lets play!

  40. Va Du
    August 10, 2012 at 5:04 am

    Can I have the N64 and smash bros as the consolation prize?

    • Joshua Lockhart
      August 10, 2012 at 5:34 am

      You'll have to ask my roommate about that.

  41. Ron Morrow
    August 10, 2012 at 4:33 am

    Pretty cool. I've been telling myself I need to get a "grown up" camera for a while now lol.

    • Joshua Lockhart
      August 10, 2012 at 4:52 am

      Too bad the T4i giveaway ends today. : )

  42. Jón Bjarnason
    August 9, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    I will try to be creative if i win.

    • Joshua Lockhart
      August 10, 2012 at 4:51 am

      I'd love to see pictures.

  43. Yang Yang Li
    August 9, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    A better use of $300 is to purchase Adobe Photoshop. One can get the same blur effect and much more using software.

    • Joshua Lockhart
      August 10, 2012 at 4:51 am

      Perhaps. But if you can get this (just if you can), I think it's pretty cool.

  44. Aditya Roy
    August 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    It would be a perfect gift for my friend...

    • Joshua Lockhart
      August 10, 2012 at 4:52 am

      Does your friend do a lot of photography?

      • Aditya Roy
        August 10, 2012 at 3:54 pm

        Yup... He started photography as a hobby but has now turned professional.

  45. Cathy Horner
    August 9, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Wouldn't be the first lens I'd buy but could be creative with it! Wish it was a nikon mount too though.

    • Joshua Lockhart
      August 10, 2012 at 4:52 am

      Right. It's a nice extra, I think.

  46. Ty Neal
    August 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    I agree, why pay $300 for something you can do in Photoshop? It'd be nice to win it though.

    • Joshua Lockhart
      August 10, 2012 at 4:53 am

      That's pretty much my stance.

  47. Yudono Ra
    August 9, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    wicked awesome giveaways .. cool

  48. Bruce Thomas
    August 9, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    I can't justify the purchase, but would love to have for retail product shoots.

    • Joshua Lockhart
      August 10, 2012 at 4:53 am

      Great idea for usage.

  49. Hoku Sarroca
    August 9, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    tried to enter but it is giving me "This field requires a unique entry and this value was already submitted." when at first I used FF and it told me that I did not have enough points... I'm so confused.....

    • Tina
      August 9, 2012 at 2:55 pm

      Hoku,

      If you see this message, you probably have already entered the contest.
      How many points did you have when you tried with Firefox? 25 are needed.

  50. Will W
    August 9, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    this is a pretty sweet lil piece of glass! hope i win!

  51. Bulilit Toralballa
    August 9, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Fingers crossed

  52. Âdil Farôôq
    August 9, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Entered :)

  53. Lambvolution
    August 9, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    no code on twitter yet

    • Lambvolution
      August 9, 2012 at 12:57 pm

      edited.. i have the code... hope i'll win this..thanks MUO

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