As part of our testing of a Lensbaby 3G, we could not resist putting a Lensbaby on our infrared converted Canon 350D digital SLR camera.
The Lensbaby is an interesting tilt lens that many photographers are really enjoying and that solves some real photographic problems in a very inexpensive way. We have been testing a Lensbaby 3G and as part of that testing (to be reported in a separate article) it seemed obvious to me to try the Lensbaby on my camera, a Canon 350D, which I had converted for IR by MaxMax.com.
As a brief introduction to the Lensbaby, for those not familiar with it, it is a two element lens (in the 3G model) mounted on a flexible tube so that you can use your fingers to both focus the lens by pushing or putting it an tilt it to shift the plane of focus. The 3G model adds a locking mechanism using the clever three threaded rods that allow careful adjustment of the focus and tilt. There is also a focusing ring that allows ready fine-tuning. The aperture is changed by removing and replacing the aperture ring with the one you have chosen from a set of alternate ones.
So, how does the Lensbaby handle infrared? Extremely well, in fact. This is really part of our very initial testing with the Lensbaby, so we kept it simple for the IR work thus far and did not really use the special features of the 3G. In the photos shown here and on the linked gallery, I was shooting handheld with the locks off and my middle fingers doing the focus and tilt movements. I used the default f4 aperture for all these shots as it offers a bit of depth of field to cover the focus differences between visible and IR.
Given the focus differences between what I see through the viewfinder and what the sensor sees, it is surprising how good the results were. For IR I recommend shooting a lot of the same scene with slight adjustments, as the focus will not always be predictable, at least not until you have done a lot of shooting.
This composite shows the ready adjustments in focus that is just a finger movement away
As I said, I have only just started experimenting with the Lensbaby 3G. Next job is some studio work in visible light. If you have an IR converted camera, the Lensbaby is certainly a possible option that you might want to explore. More soon.