How to Use the Lensbaby - dummies

By Doug Sahlin

When you look at the Lensbaby Composer for the first time, you may frown and wonder what it’s all about. Nothing on the lens is automatic. You have to set your shot. But after the initial fumbling, you start to get the knack of it and use the lens more frequently. In a nutshell, here’s how you use the Lensbaby Composer:

  1. Put the lens on your camera.

    When you change lenses, always power off the camera. A sensor with current is a dust magnet. Make sure you change lens optics in a relatively dust-free environment. That’s right, you can’t change lenses in the Sahara Desert during a dust storm.

  2. Switch to Aperture Priority mode if you own a Canon camera, or manual shooting mode if you own a Nikon.

    A Canon camera will meter and automatically set exposure when you shoot in Aperture Priority mode. When you use a Nikon camera, you have to manually adjust the shutter speed to yield a properly exposed image.

  3. Point your camera at the subject that you want to photograph.

  4. Twist the focusing dial until the center of the viewfinder is in clear focus.

  5. Take the picture.

  6. Review the image on your LCD monitor.

    The Lensbaby is a different breed of cat. Your camera may underexpose or overexpose the image, depending on the lighting conditions. If either scenario occurs, you’ll see it on the LCD monitor or on your histogram. Use exposure compensation to increase or decrease the exposure and rectify the problem.

This list doesn’t include moving the sweet spot of focus. It’s better if you get used to focusing the camera with the sweet spot set in the center of the image. After you get some good images, you can experiment with moving the sweet spot of focus.

To move the sweet spot of focus, loosen the locking ring at the rear of the lens and then move the outer part of the lens to move the sweet spot. After you move the sweet spot to a different part of the frame, twist the focusing ring until that part of the image is in focus.