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Lensbaby Introduces Velvet 56 Portrait Lens Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

7 April 2015

Lensbaby introduced the Velvet 56 portrait lens with macro capabilities at Shutterfest in St Louis today. The new lens, available in both black and silver, provides "a velvety, ethereal start with a smooth finish, from the big picture to the smallest details," the company said.

Velvet 56. Black model and SE version.

The 56mm focal length is a long normal, shorter than the typical portrait focal length of a short telephoto. But the fast aperture promises to provide the soft background isolating a portrait that the more traditional focal lengths deliver.

In addition, the lens can focus as close as five inches, with a 1:2 magnification ratio.


The company described its new optic:

Inspired by classic portrait lenses from the mid-20th century, this manual focus portrait lens delivers a soft, glowing effect at brighter apertures and beautifully sharp yet subtly unique images as you stop down. The gorgeous, velvety-tones give your digital images a film-like, organic quality. This incredibly versatile lens enables photographers to move seamlessly from shooting an environmental portrait, to capturing the finest details with focus as close as 5 inches from the front of the lens. Velvet 56 features a black all-metal body and smooth, dampened manual focus.

"Velvet 56 is the result of our tireless efforts to offer a brand new lens design that combines the best qualities of classic lenses while eliminating the negative aspects of classic lenses," said Craig Strong, Lensbaby co-founder and chief creative officer.

"Utilizing a never before used singlet-doublet-singlet optical design, we have combined a variable glowing highlights with tack sharp latent details even at the maximum, f1.6, aperture," he explained. "This groundbreaking design, combined with macro focusing, gives photographers one of the most versatile lenses ever made, helping them create images of any subject matter with unique heart and soul. Portrait photographers can now add a new must-have lens to their bag of most-loved equipment. Nature and macro photographers will appreciate the subtle variable, buttery-smooth aesthetic."


Included in the retail box are:

  • The Velvet 56
  • Metal Front Lens Cap
  • Rear Mount Cap
  • User Guide

Lensbaby said a metal lens hood would be included for mirrorless cameras only.


Specifications of the Velvet 56 include:

Focal Length 56mm
Construction 4 Elements/3 Groups
Maximum Aperture f1.6
Diaphragm Blades 9
Focus Manual Focus
5 inches to infinity
Macro 1:2
Filter 62mm
Mounts Black: Canon EF, Nikon F, Pentax K, Sony Alpha A
Silver: Canon EF, Nikon F only
Mirrorless: Micro 4/3, Sony E, Samsung NX, Fuji X
Weight 14.46 oz.
Warranty One year


Lensbaby said it will start shipping the $599.95 SE silver edition of the lens and the $499.95 black version on April 13. Adorama and B&H both list them now and they can also be preordered directly from the company.

Mirrorless mounts including Micro 4/3rds, Sony E, Samsung NX and Fuji X will be available in early May, the company said.

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