Lensbaby Velvet 56mm F1.6 A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 1   
reviewer#45624 date: Dec-22-2020
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 3.8
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:Minolta 40 F1.7
Konica AR 40 F1.8
Canon EF 40 F2.8 STM
Pentax-M 40 F2.8
Pentax-DA 40 F2.8 XS
Pentax-FA 43 F1.8 Limited
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
Rokinon 50 F1.2
Yongnuo 50 F1.4
Zeiss C/Y 50 F1.4 Planar
Canon EF 50 F1.4 USM
Sigma 50 F1.4 EX DG HSM
Minolta MD 50 F1.4 & AF & Sony (D)
Minolta MD 50 F1.7 & AF & RS
Sony FE 50 F1.8
Canon EF 50 F1.8 STM
Fotasy 50 F1.8
Konica AR 50 F1.8
Vivitar 50 F1.8
Sony DT 50 F1.8 SAM
Sony E 50 F1.8 OSS
Minolta MD 50 F2
Neewer/Meike/Vivitar 50 F2
Konica AR 52 F1.8
Minolta MC 55 F1.7
Sony FE 55 F1.8 Sonnar
Minolta SR 55 F2
Minolta MC 58 F1.4
price paid:300 USD (new)
positive:Center sharpness wide-open
Full-frame-ish
Smooth backgrounds
Full-stop aperture clicks
350 degree focus throw
Sony focus and aperture directions
negative:Price, size, weight
Low contrast
Curved field(s)
Focus ring extends
Busy foreground rendering
62mm filter thread
f/16 minimum aperture
comment:This is not a general purpose normal prime and definitely not a normal macro lens. This is a lens for centered subjects and all kinds of blur. The most similar lenses I've had were the 25mm "F1.8" and 35mm "F1.6" mini C-mount primes. Those also had simple 4-element optical designs. Those cost less than $25 each, while this lens cost more than a brand-new Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM. It has no electronics. Small print on the bottom of the box states: "assembled in the USA, made in china"

The thin cardboard box has four credited photos on four sides ostensibly taken with the lens. The lens came with a felt-lined slip-on alloy front cap, a screw-on circular alloy hood with internal ribbing, and an old style plastic rear cap. The white lettering seems be painted on top of the black finish without any embossing.

The focus action makes some scraping noises. Grease is visible through the rear of the lens with nothing but air between it and glass elements. There is no sealing to speak of. The focus throw is about 345 degrees. The front of the lens extends to focus but does not rotate. Oddly the focus grip extends at half this rate.

Velvet or soft are sort of misnomers. Point light sources show a large defined halo when in focus which creates a glow over the image. This haloing makes it difficult to focus, but when focused accurately (using magnification) the lens still shows fine detail near the center at least. The focus plane is curved toward the camera. Focusing on the edge of the frame creates doubled images. The lens seems well-aligned, but the halos and field curvature may hide some misalignment.

Images have mild simple barrel distortion. The lens has mild focus breathing for a unit focus prime. A digital filter can probably simulate the haloing effectively and allow more control of the effect. I might try a higher quality soft focus lens in the future. Those which allow varying the strength of the halo separate from the aperture control.
reviews found: 1   

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 1
  • sharpness: 4.00
  • color: 5.00
  • build: 3.00
  • distortion: 4.00
  • flare control: 3.00
  • overall: 3.80

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