Portland, Oregon-based Lensbaby has been making specialty lenses for professional photographers for years. When the iPhone came out, they recognized a good thing and started designing lenses that would work with the most popular camera in the world. One of the latest is the LM-10 Sweet Spot lens (US$69.99), which works with an iPhone some amazing visual effects with the help of an app.
So what is a "sweet spot lens"? Think of an image with a single spot of focus that is surrounded by blur. Why would you want to do that? It directs the viewer's eye directly to the point that you want them to look at. It also can create a dreamy mood or even add a feeling of motion to your photos.
I had a chance to put one of these lenses through its paces along with the accompanying free Lensbaby Mobile app. You'll want to download and install the app prior to doing any photography with the LM-10 Sweet Spot lens, as the two go together hand-in-hand.
The Lensbaby LM-10 was created through a Kickstarter project. So let's take a look at their pitch video:
The lens itself is really well made: no cheap plastic for these guys. The lens barrel is anodized aluminum, and the lenses are glass -- other magnetically mounted lenses will stick to the LM-10, so you can use your other wide-angle or telephoto lenses to create some very special effects. As you can see in the photo at the top of this post, it comes with a double-ended rubber lens cap.
To install the lens, you need to attach an adhesive-backed magnet to the iPhone. Note that at this time, the Lensbaby LM-10 doesn't work with the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, which both have that little protruding lens. It will work with an iPad - all of the photos taken for this review were done with the app and lens on an iPad Air.
It's quite simple to use the app to set a fixed or movable sweet spot, auto-focus lock or exposure lock, white balance, and even add filters. Pro or dedicated amateur photographers will appreciate the fact that you can add a rule of thirds grid to the app for setting up your shot.
While the Lensbaby LM-10 isn't a special effects lens that everybody will want or use, it and the accompanying app do a wonderful job of allowing photographers to do sweet spot photography. It's nicely constructed and should make a nice addition to the kit of any advanced iPhone photographer.
Rating: 3-1/2 stars out of 4 stars possible
If you've ever wanted to take sweet spot photos like those you see here, be sure to enter our giveaway of this Lensbaby LM-10 lens. Here are the rules for the giveaway:
Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
The entry must be made before October 10, 2014 11:59PM Eastern Standard Time.
You may enter only once.
One winner will be selected in a random drawing and will receive a Lensbaby LM-10 lens valued at US$69.99