In my prior review of the Lensbaby 3G, I said "Every once and a while a product comes along and you really misjudge it. It may be that you are too hasty, or that you just don't understand the potential that it really brings. It also just may be that it, over time, has matured into a really great product." Well the Lensbaby line continues to mature and grow. They have released a number of new lenses and accessories that I am planning on looking at. This third one is the Lensbaby Optic Kit.
Unlike the prior two reviews, this one is not so much about a lens, but rather about a set of accessories for the prior two lenses as well as upcoming Control Freak, the evolution of the Lensbaby 3G. In this kit you get three different items: a single glass optic, a plastic optic, and a pinhole/zone plate.
These are available as a kit as I am testing, but they can also be purchased separately. As a set they really add to your toolkit of specialty tools ranging from a dreamy look, to a rough and raw, to a vintage camera feel. As with everything Lensbaby, they are easy to use.
Since my Composer and Muse came installed with the Double Glass optic (the green stripe) I used the extraction tool to remove it from my Composer. To do this, you extend the lens till it is flush with the body, insert the extractor's feet into the slots and turn counterclockwise which loosens the Double Glass lens. Tilting it forward it slides out easily. I then put the replacement optic into the housing, again using the extractor, tightened it clockwise and was ready to go. You can also see a demo video on how this is done by clicking on the "how-to-use" link and then "watch video".
Like the Double glass system, the plastic and the single glass system also are capable of using the aperture rings for adjusting the aperture. The Pinhole/Zone lens, as one would expect by name, has its own preset apertures and therefore do not accept the rings.
Single Glass Optic is similar to the primitive optic that you would find in an antique camera. It is great for doing fine art, portraiture, black and white images, and any kind of shot that requires a subtle, soft, dreamy effect. This lens is 50mm focal length, it is an uncoated double convex optical glass singlet, ships with a clear plastic case, is compatible with the Composer, Muse, and Control Freak, and sells individually for $34.95.