Lensbaby Edge 80 For Pleasingly Blurry Portraits

The latest Lensbaby in the lineup is the Edge 80 optic, a plug-in 80mm blur-tastic chunk of glass for your existing Lensbaby body. It offers the same movable sweet-spot of all other Lensbabies, but in a portrait-friendly length.

Did you ever take a portrait of somebody using a wide-angle lens, only to have them complain that their nose looks big, or that their face is just a weird shape in your picture? If that person was me, then it would be because I have a big nose and weird-shaped face, but for most people it’s a legitimate complaint. Wideangle lenses exaggerate the distance between things, making the nose appear disproportionately closer (and therefore bigger) than the face it sprouts from. This makes for an unflattering portrait.

Telephotos, on the other hand, have the opposite effect: They make things appear closer together. An extreme example is a photo taken through a telescope. Snap a picture of the moon behind a skyscraper and the moon will appear like a huge halo around the tiny building.

Somewhere between these is a a focal length perfectly suited to the human face, flattering the features and letting you work at a comfortable distance from your subject. This is somewhere in the 70mm–110mm range (for 35mm film and full-frame sensors). Thus, the 80mm Edge 80 will work on both full-frame and modestly cropped cameras as a perfect portrait lens.

You also get the trademark edge-blur, with a clear sweet spot, and this sweet spot can beloved around by physically tilting the front element of the lens. And the Edge optics all have an actual aperture ring to let you affect both exposure and the size of the sharp spot without taking the lens apart like you have to do with some of the optics.

The Edge 80 will fit the Composer Pro, Composer, Muse, Scout and Control Freak lens bodies, and goes for $300. Not cheap, but not crazy either. In fact, writing this post makes me sad that my otherwise awesome Fujifilm X100S won’t accept Lensbaby optics (and I have a few stashed away somewhere, complete with a Composer Pro for a Nikon I no longer own. Sad emoticon face).

Available now.

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Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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