The Edge 80 Optic is the newest addition to the Lensbaby Optic Swap System. It’s a tilt-shift optic that, when tilted, creates a sharp area of focus through the photo that’s bordered by a blur. Move the lens left or right to create a vertical area (or slice) of focus, up or down for a horizontal area, and diagonally for, well, you get the point. It takes some practice to consistently achieve the desired results. When pointed straight ahead, it can be used as a traditional lens.
Edge 80 is an 80mm f/2.8–22 lens with an aperture ring on the optic itself, as opposed to the washers that you manually change on other Lensbaby optics. It’s compatible with Lensbaby Composer Pro, Composer, Muse, Scout, and Control Freak lens bodies.
The quality of the optic is very good and Edge 80 shouldn’t be thought of as a novelty lens. The aperture ring shifts securely between f-stops and the focus ring is smooth. Lensbaby claims a minimum focusing distance of 19″ (17″ when tilted). To achieve this distance, manually pull the end of the lens, the part that looks like a filter, to extend it and enter close focus mode. The transition from sharp focus to blur is subtle, yielding pleasing results. To get the full effect of a tilt-shift-type lens, you need to use larger apertures. When at f/16 or f/22, the effect is not too pronounced; however, at f/2.8 or f/4, the results are much more dramatic.
Tilt-shift lenses are expensive; very expensive. The Edge 80 optic is a solid option for photographers who are on a budget, especially if you already own a Lensbaby lens body.
Company: Lensbaby Inc.
Hot: Quality; built-in aperture ring; price
Not: Learning curve