The New Lensbaby Soft Focus 2 Optic

March 08, 2022  •  12 Comments

Today Lensbaby launched a new product, the Soft Focus 2 Optic. As a Lensbaby Ambassador, I've had the privilege of beta testing this optic since early October, and I have to say it is high on my list of Lensbaby favorites. I can quite honestly say that I love this optic! The optic has spent a great deal of time on my camera since I received it. The Soft Focus 2 Optic produces a dreamy soft glow with subtle sharp detail beneath. The glow is 2 stops stronger than that produced by the Velvet lenses. I found myself drawn to the glow in the wider open apertures, but by increasing the aperture, you can achieve more and more sharpness. This gives the optic wonderful versatility. The dreamy softness is a beautiful effect that fits my style of flower photography perfectly. It didn't take long to fall in love with this optic and the ease of its use. I feel so fortunate that I was able to capture the end of dahlia season last fall when I first received the optic.

The optic is a 50mm focal length with a minimum focusing distance of 15 inches, and can be used with the Composer Pro II system, and paired with the 46mm macro filters or the macro converters to enable you to photograph closer to your subject. It is recommended that you use this optic straight ahead rather than bending it the way many of the optics in the optic swap system are used. If you already own the Composer Pro II (or any of the older Composer Pro systems), you only need to buy the optic. The Composer Pro II comes in all camera mounts. You can also buy the optic in a stand-alone lens holder - the same as is sold with the Twist and the Obscura optic, optics that are also used straight ahead. The stand-alone lens is sold in Canon DSLR, Nikon DSLR, and Sony Mirrorless versions. Hop on over to lensbaby.com to see product images of the optic with the Composer Pro II or the stand-alone lens. 

I own the original version of the Soft Focus optic, purchased on eBay many years ago. If you are familiar with this version, you remember that you use it with the drop-in aperture discs. So what's different about the new optic? The new optic features a 12 blade internal aperture system - f/2.5-f/22. You control the aperture by setting it on the optic itself, not by using the drop-in discs. It is all-metal, beautifully made, and a much more sophisticated version of the older optic. It comes with four additional drop-in discs, but these have a different function than controlling aperture - 3 multi-hole discs (a small, medium, and large hole disc) and a sunburst disc. The discs are used to create bokeh effects/shapes in the background as well as serve to balance the sharpness and glow in the optic. You drop them in and take them out with a small magnetic tool that comes with the disc holder.

I'll be sharing lots of images taken with the new Soft Focus 2 optic on social media over the coming weeks, so be sure to find me on Instagram at @annebelmontphotography. For now, I'll share some favorite images made with this optic with you here! These images were all photographed in f/2.5-f/4 without the discs, and with macro filters. I fell in love with the effects in this range, but I will be experimenting with the discs more as the spring season unfolds. I can hardly wait for the spring blooms to appear because this optic is going to be amazing for capturing all my favorites - magnolias, tulips, crabapple blooms, and all the flowers of spring! 

     


Comments

ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY
Thank you so much, James! I hope your new optic arrives soon. Yes, the Soft Focus 2 is wonderful for landscapes. I have used it for garden scenes at Chicago Botanic and really liked the result.
ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY
Sam, you just totally made my day and made me smile! You will do beautiful things with the optic! I can't wait to see. Keep me posted! #blameitonannebelmont - I wear that hashtag proudly!
James(Jim) Sulester(non-registered)
Hi, Anne. Beautiful photos and more tips on the soft focus. Number 2 and 7 are my favorite photos though they are all outstanding. I can see the difference in what can be achieved with the velvets, though I am impressed with my latest, the velvet28. Cant wait to get my soft focus. I got order confirmation last night but they probably have lots of orders to sort through.. BTW, I saw some beautiful scenics using it.
Sam Gray(non-registered)
You are once again to blame for making me buy another Lensbaby!
Ordered the Soft Focus 2 and Composer Pro II for my Z7 yesterday. I can see a place for it in my image making!
Love the Velvet 85 and 56 and am looking forward to playing with the Soft Focus 2.
#blameitonannebelmont
ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY
Abby, so nice to hear from you! I think you would really love this optic, and by buying the Composer Pro II, you can later add any of the optics in the optic swap system. So many are wonderful for flower photography. Please reach out to me if you have questions. You are always welcome to use my Lensbaby discount code WBELMONT for purchases. It doesn't work on new releases like the Soft Focus 2 Optic but it will for the Composer. I'm always here if you need guidance. Thank you for your kind words!
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