Although there’s an almost infinite number of effects that can be added to already-taken photos using software, there’s definitely something to be said for the on-location creativity that comes with good ol’ optical in-camera effects. That’s why Lensbaby designed the Spark, a new lens that it announced today. Spark is intended to capture images “that have a sweet spot of focus surrounded by beautiful artistic blur.”
The somewhat accordion-like 50mm lens, which is available in versions for Nikon or Canon DSLRs, has a fixed aperture of f/5.6. Focus is adjusted fore and aft by squeezing the front of the lens in toward the camera, or allowing it to push itself back out. That area of focus can then be moved within the frame, however, by hand-tilting the lens’ optical glass surface, independent of the rest of the lens.
The result will be a shot in which the selected area is in focus, with everything else kind of smearing away from it.
Lensbaby previously released a similar product, the Composer Pro. It can accept interchangeable optical surfaces, making a wider variety of effects possible. The f-stop can also be adjusted, by swapping in aperture discs of various sizes.
While the Composer Pro starts at US$300, however, the Spark is priced at $80.