Lensbaby 3G (Olympus 4/3 Mount)

Concept: 2 out of 5
Execution: 1 out of 5
Yeah, but: For Sale By Owner - $135, Cash only.

The Long Version: For sale is one Lensbaby 3G in Four-Thirds mount, which will fit all Olympus and Panasonic SLRs. Also included in the sale are all of the aperture disks, from f/2.8 to f/22; with no disk it's a fast f/2.0. I wrote the f/stop numbers on each disk, but new ones have it on them already. The lensbaby aperture changing tool has a magnetic tip and stores the disks under a retro film-canister lid. I'm also including the Heart and Star apertures from the Lensbaby Creative Apertures Kit, which add special effects on bright highlights. The CAK doesn't include a Unicorn aperture, but check eBay to see if anyone has made one.

Some people think the lensbaby is a waste of money, and that they can do the same effect in photoshop. But why waste your time and effort mimicking it when you could own the real deal? Save your creative energy for making new effects. Photos with bold saturation, vignetting, and inverted tone curves look awesome on Flickr and Photosig. It's a perfect diving board for going off the deep end. Not included in the sale is the little 'case' that originally came with the lens, but while the Baby is supposed to be stored in it, it was barely stronger than typical plastic packaging.

A lens that shifts and tilts isn't always a tilt-shift lens. The Lensbaby 3G is focused by squeezing and stretching it, and the 'sharp' portion is moved around the frame by wiggling the lens around. No matter how many people say it on the forums, this is not a tilt-shift lens. It can't change perspective or angle the plane of focus. It doesn't even have a normal plane of focus, it has a focus spot. Know what you're buying ahead of time to avoid disappointment.

The amount of blur is controlled by the aperture, with the smaller disks reducing the edge effects and increasing the depth of field. A film-sized sensor will include more of the edges and has less depth of field, so if you really want the full toy-camera look, you'll need a much more expensive Canon, Nikon, or Sony to make the most of it. The Olympus version for sale has a more moderate effect, which is at f/2.8 for these pictures. It's still not really possible to blend Lensbaby photos into a series shot with a typical lens.

The Lensbaby 3G is the older model that looks like it's wearing a neck brace. You can see it clearly in the photo that I took with my phone. It's most like the current 'Control Freak' model. There's a movable front part for the final focus control when the three braces have locked the bouncy part of the lens. The threads on the braces let the 'sweet spot' be moved around, but I've never quite gotten it to work. It takes a new way of thinking, but it can create some cool effects.

I'm selling my Lensbaby 3G because I've barely used it in the last two years. It's a cool camera toy and can be fun, but it needs a more experimental creative type to really get into it. The 3G is the last one they made before they came up with the idea for the "Composer" model, which is the best one to get for an easier Lensbaby look. Its blur and focus control is better than the 3G, and it's also more robust and easier to carry. Since the Composer is so much better for $270, I'm asking only $165 for this barely-used 3G.

Cash and local sale only.


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