Out of Focus

For several years, I have toyed with the idea to get one of Lensbaby’s odd experimental lenses. Against good advice, I have purchased the Velvet 56. This is a full frame 56mm lens, with maximal aperture 1.6. It is my most specialized lens by far. It excels at not being sharp.

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Even when stepped down, it is blurry near the edges of the frame. I decided to take it to its other extreme, and use it wide open. Then, the shallow depth of field and the radial decay of sharpness join forces. There are other artifacts, too. The glow around edges for instance is possibly caused by drastically exaggerated chromatic aberration. People have claimed that all this can easily be achieved in Photoshop.

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Maybe so. The images have a strange depth that might be hard to achieve. But even if somebody comes up with a Velvet 56 filter, this is not the point.

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For me, the most exciting aspect about photography is the moment when I take the picture. I transforms what I see and feel at this moment into a rather selective image that I hope will represent what I have seen and felt in some way. Improving the outcome in post processing is of secondary importance.

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The Velvet 56 is the most limiting lens I have used. No filter will make these images sharp. Some might view this as a fundamental flaw. I view this as a creative challenge. You have been warned.

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