Lensbaby lenses are a whole heap of fun, and whilst they don't exactly break the bank, I can understand someone forgoing one in favour of putting the money towards a serious wide-angle or a shoulder-crunching telephoto. The latest addition to the Lensbaby lineup, however, might change that. It's the Spark. It's a 50mm selective focus lens with a fixed aperture of ƒ/5.6 and a retail price of $80, available for Canon and Nikon mounts.
It's dead simple to operate: you squeeze to focus and then tilt the lens to place your sweet spot and get the blur where you want it. Spontaneity and selective focus are go!
Lensbaby might feel that the Spark is 'designed to help young creative photographers express themselves,' (the words 'young' or 'youthful' are used three times in a three paragraph press release) but at $80 I reckon that it's ideal for anyone who'd like to play around with a tilt-shift lens. If you're on a budget, you're not going to find many lenses cheaper, let alone a tilt-shift; if you're toying with the idea of investing in a fully-fledged tilt-shift but aren't sure how much use you'd get out of it, what's to lose with a Spark?
Sure, you might regard the fixed aperture of ƒ/5.6 as a limitation, but really and truly, when you head out with a Lensbaby, you make the choice of which aperture you'll shoot with that day and be done with. It's no fun fiddling around with magnetic aperture rings in the street.
If you fancy one you can head over to the store on the Lensbaby website and purchase directly, Spark went on sale today. If you're not convinced that a Spark is for you, take a look at the gallery of images. They're pretty, regardless.