The Lensbaby Composer and Composer Pro - dummies

By Doug Sahlin

Digital images created with the Lensbaby have a dreamy, artistic look that can be used to good effect when photographing nature, especially flowers. Now Lensbaby offers a full product line complete with interchangeable optics and a pro lens.

The lens has undergone several iterations since it was introduced in 2004. The Lensbaby is the brainchild of Craig Strong, a wedding and journalistic photographer. He used Holga and Diana cameras to get soft, dreamy photographs when he used film. Then came digital, which, as we all know, changed everything.

Craig longed to duplicate the look of the simple Holga and Diana cameras with his digital camera. When he couldn’t find a commercially available lens to replicate this look, he decided to make his own. He started out with a Nikon mount, a simple optic, and some vacuum cleaner hose. He refined it until he had a commercially viable product.

The first Lensbaby had a steep learning curve. Actually, it was like a juggling act. You pulled on the outer ring of the lens to focus, and then tilted it to one side to change where the sweet spot of focus appeared in the image. It took a lot of getting used to, but many loved the Muse and got great images with it.

Then Lensbaby introduced the Composer. It was still manual focus, and you had to manually change the aperture disc to change the size of the sweet spot of focus — but you could focus the lens by twisting the outer barrel. And it was also much easier to tilt the lens to change the sweet spot of focus. To this day, it remains the most popular lens that Lensbaby offers.


Lensbaby introduced the Composer Pro in April 2011. This black beauty gives the photographer more precise control when focusing and when tilting the lens to change the sweet spot of focus.


The Lensbaby Composer and Composer Pro feature interchangeable optics that range from a soft, dreamy look to a tack-sharp sweet spot of focus.