Lensbaby Sol 45mm F3.5 E-mount lens review by QuietOC

reviewer#45827 date: Jan-27-2022
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.2
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 40 F1.7
Konica AR 40 F1.8
Sony FE 40 F2.5 G
Canon EF 40 F2.8 STM
Pentax-M 40 F2.8
Pentax-DA 40 F2.8 XS
Rokinon 45 F1.8 FE
Tamron SP 45 F1.8 USD (VC & non VC)
Minolta MD 45 F2
Sigma 45 F2.8 DG DN C
Lensbaby Velvet 56 F1.6
Konica AR 57 F1.4
Minolta MC 58 F1.4
Lensbaby Twist 60 F2.5
price paid:134 USD (used)
Sharp near the center when focused
Size and weight
Axial CA
No normal aperture control
Very concave field
comment:The pictures online made it look quite small, so I was surprised by how bulky it is. It actually seems a bit better made than the Velvet and Twist--maybe since it doesn't accommodate an aperture control. The tilt control uses a large plastic piece. The locking mechanism for the tilt feels very secure. The focus action is smooth and lightly damped. Like other Lensbabies there is no sealing anywhere.

The focal cone is very concave like the Mini $35 35mm F1.6 and $18 25mm F1.8 C-mount lenses. The extreme corners at furthest focus only are in focus at about a meter, if you can call it focus. The corners only get somewhat less blurred. There is axial chromatic aberration which shows up anywhere that is slightly outside the focal cone. Lensbaby calls this the Sweet Spot effect. I am sure it is possible to modify other lens to create a similar effect.

There looks to be a fixed aperture placed in front of the rear element. The front movable arms cut the light up to about half. The tilt effect is more subtle than what can be achieved with tilt adapters for SLR lenses. The angle-of-view is a bit wider than the Minolta MD 45 F2. The center is about as sharp as the Minolta.

I wouldn't recommend this as your first or only normal prime, but it does what it does fine. It is fun toy. It is less expensive than the Twist or Velvet.

The length is database must be for the SLR version. I measure the E-mount one to be 60 mm.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 1
  • sharpness: 4.00
  • color: 5.00
  • build: 4.00
  • distortion: 4.00
  • flare control: 4.00
  • overall: 4.20
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