Lensbaby Sol 45 Review

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The Sol 45 is a new lens from Lensbaby, which is aimed at first-time users of the brand. It’s available in a range of DSLR and mirrorless camera mounts, with a retail price of under $200.

As you’d expect from the name of the lens, it offers a 45mm focal length. Aperture is fixed at f/3.5. A special 22mm edition will also be available for Micro Four Thirds users (giving you an equivalent focal length of 44m if you’re using a Panasonic or Olympus camera).

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Lensbaby Sol 45 

Other specifications include a minimum focusing distance of 14 inch (35.5cm), a 46mm filter thread, and “bokeh blades” which add texture to out-of-focus areas.

Like other Lensbaby optics, the Sol 45 relies purely on manual focusing. It will be available to buy from the middle of August, while you’ll have to wait until September to get hold of the Micro Four Thirds version.

Ease of Use

Lensbaby Sol 45

We have been using the Lensbaby Sol 45 with the Fuji X-E2S mirrorless camera. Along with the Fuji X mount, you can also get the lens in Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony A, Pentax K, Sony E and Samsung NX, as well as the special Micro Four Thirds 22mm version.

Lensbaby Sol 45

The lens has a small red dot on the barrel of it, which you can use to line it up with the red dot on the camera’s lens mount, twisting it into the correct place.

Lensbaby Sol 45

Relatively compact in size, the Sol 45 shouldn’t take up too much space in your camera bag, making it a good option to pack as a bit of fun. Despite being quite small, it’s weighty enough to balance quite well with the X-E2S. We haven’t seen the lens used on other mounts, but it certainly works well with smaller cameras.

Lensbaby Sol 45

If you’ve never used a Lensbaby before, the Sol 45 is a great one to experiment with. It has a tilting mechanism, something you usually find on much more expensive lenses. With it, you can tilt the point of focus around the frame to create unusual effects – a miniature effect is the most common type of thing that a lens like this is used for. That said, it takes quite a bit of time to get used to using something like the Sol 45 – you’ll probably need quite a bit of patience before you start seeing results that you really like.

Lensbaby Sol 45

If you’ve ever used a Lensbaby Composer lens, the Sol 45 works in a similar way to that. It creates a spot of focus, surrounded by blur. A fixed aperture means you can’t control the amount of out of focus areas, but since you can tilt the lens around, you can bend to move the focus around the frame.

Around the middle of the Lensbaby Sol 45 is a ring which you can lock into place. To do this, twist the ring around in the direction of the arrow next to the lock. If you do that, then you won’t be able to tilt the lens. It’s good to keep it in the centre position, especially when you’re first starting out with the lens as you get to grips with focusing. Once you want to unlock it, simply push the ring in the opposite direction and tilt the lens as you see fit.

Lensbaby Sol 45

When it comes to focusing, there’s a smaller ring at the front of the lens which you can use to fine tune the focus. We’ve found that it’s helpful to use a camera which offers focus peaking to help you to quickly see when something is in focus. With a camera like the Fuji X-E2S, you can do this either through the viewfinder, or via the LCD screen on the back of the camera.

Lensbaby Sol 45

Another creative aspect of the Sol 45 is the “bokeh blades”. These small plastic arms can be hidden away when not in use, or flicked into position when you want to use them. You can use both the blades at the same time, or just one, if you prefer. The blades mean that the “bokeh” (out of focus area) will take on texture – it works best when you’re photographing a subject fairly close to the lens. You can also rotate the entire blade mechanism to place the texture in different directions in your images.

Lensbaby Sol 45

It’s worth noting that, like other Lensbaby lenses, there are no electronics. This means that no EXIF information will be recorded from the lens – in this instance it’s not that much of a problem since both the focal length and the aperture is fixed. Since there are no electronics, you may find that you need to set your camera to shoot as if it has no lens attached to it. On the Fuji system, that’s called “Shoot Without Lens”, but it may be called something on your camera system if you’re using something else.

Like other Lensbaby optics, the Sol 45 doesn’t offer autofocusing. That means that you use the rotating front ring to adjust focus. There are hard stops at either end of the ring, which lets you know when you’ve reached the maximum or minimum focusing distance. Perfect focus is difficult to achieve with this lens – but it’s not designed to offer that, instead the emphasis is on creative blur and so on.

Lensbaby Sol 45

Focal Range

The Sol 45 is a fixed focal-length lens, at 45mm. When used on something like the Fuji X-E2S, it offers an equivalent focal length of 67.5mm. The same will be true when it is used on Sony APS-C E mount cameras, Nikon APS-C DSLRs and Samsung NX cameras. For Canon APS-C DSLRs, the equivalent focal length is 72mm. If you use the lens on a full-frame camera, then the 45mm will remain as 45mm. A special 22mm version of the lens is also available for Micro Four Thirds users, giving you a 44mm equivalent.

Lensbaby Sol 45

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations are usually characterised as blue or purple edges along high-contrast edges. Although this lens is not designed with perfection in mind, it has actually been quite difficult to find too much evidence of particularly bad chromatic aberration occurring.

Lensbaby Sol 45

Light Fall-Off

There is noticeable vignetting in the corners of the image – but this is almost certainly intentional and adds to the “creative” and “quirky” nature of the lens. Since you can’t change the aperture of the lens, there isn’t the opportunity to use a narrower aperture to reduce the effects of drop-off.

Lensbaby Sol 45


Distortion, in the traditional sense of the word, is not a particular problem with a lens – something we’d expect to be the case from a 45mm focal length lens.

Lensbaby Sol 45


The Lensbaby Sol 45mm is not a macro lens, but you might want to use it for typical macro type subjects, such as flowers. It has a minimum focusing distance of 14inches (35.5cm).

Lensbaby Sol 45


Usually described in qualitative terms, such as creamy, or pleasing, bokeh is the term used to describe the out of focus areas of an image. Since the point of the Lensbaby Sol 45 is to create blur in a large portion of the image, then bokeh is particularly strong. Out of focus areas are rendered quite pleasingly, and you can see the difference between using the bokeh blades, and not using them, in the images below. Since an assessment of bokeh is usually subjective, we have included the pictures for you to judge for yourself its quality.

Lensbaby Sol 45
Lensbaby Sol 45
Lensbaby Sol 45

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.

Sharpness at 45mm

For these sharpness tests the Lensbaby Sol 45 lens was attached to a Fujifilm X-E2S body, which in turn was mounted on a sturdy tripod. Slight tonal changes are due to slight changes in natural light during the session.

The full frame at 27mm

The full frame at 45mm

Again, there is only one aperture available with this lens, and sharpness is not what is intended. The sharpest part of the image will be the centre, or whatever you’ve pointed the tilting mechanism at. The centre is fairly sharp, but if you look at 100%, you’ll notice that it’s not perfect – again, that is not the point of a lens like this, though. At the edges, the image is intentionally blurred.

Aperture Centre Crop Edge Crop
f/3.5 f3_5.jpg f3_5.jpg


Kết quả hình ảnh cho Lensbaby Sol 45 Kết quả hình ảnh cho Lensbaby Sol 45 Kết quả hình ảnh cho Lensbaby Sol 45 Kết quả hình ảnh cho Lensbaby Sol 45 


Best For: Special Effects
Dimensions: 1.5 x 2.9 inches
Weight: 5.3 oz
Type: Lens
Lens Mount: Nikon F, Pentax K, Sony A, Sony E, Fujifilm X, Canon EF
35-mm Equivalent (Wide): 45 mm
Image Stabilization: None

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Lensbaby Sol 45 


A Lensbaby is not for everyone. There will be those who love the lo-fi effects that using one creates, while others will not really see the point of it. If you fall into the former camp, then the Sol 45 is a great option for you – especially at the price.

At under $200, the Lensbaby Sol 45 a good option for those who like the idea of experimenting with a different type of lens, but don’t want to spend too much.

Be prepared to spend quite a bit of time getting to grips with how to get the best from the Lensbaby Sol 45 and you’ll be rewarded with something which produces interesting images that won’t look like anything else you’re likely to get from the rest of your kit bag.

This lens is also a good option for those who want to experiment with tilt photography, but don’t have thousands to spend on an expensive Tilt Shift lens. The results aren’t amazing, but give you an idea of what it’s like to create miniature type effects and so on.

Manual focusing, especially with a lens like this, is something which takes a little bit of work. If you’ve got a camera which can display focus peaking, that can be a big help. It’s also a good idea to shoot using the rear LCD screen to help you get a better idea of what is, and what isn’t in focus. Bringing in the bokeh blades adds an interesting texture to your images that can be quite fun, especially for close-up work.

The Lensbaby Sol 45 can be firmly categorised in the “good if you like that kind of thing” genre, but at $200, it’s something that even those that are on the fence about it might want to consider. Being available in a variety of mounts also makes it particularly appealing.

(photographyblog.com, http://bit.ly/2OtFZ2o)



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