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What's the main difference between the Composer and the Composer Pro?

The only difference that the reviews mention is the metal construction. Has anyone tried both? Is there any significant difference? Are the extra $50 dollars in the Pro price worth it?

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Not off-topic at all! –  mattdm May 6 '11 at 14:29
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Digital Photography Review just published a short article on the Composer Pro and Sweet 35 optic, which covers (at least some of) the differences between the two Composers. –  mattdm Jun 12 '11 at 1:14

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Lensbaby claims the focusing ring on Pro is smoother. I have the non-pro, and yes, it is a bit sloppy, but never bothered me.

The "pro" version can be bought with either Sweet 35 or Double Glass optic in kit, while the non-pro version only comes with the latter.

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I was just looking at this the other day. I haven't actually touched the Pro, and so haven't physically compared the two, so a better answer will be from someone who does. But I have used the non-Pro version, and I did find the plastic ball-and-socket configuration less than smooth — which is what they're promoting with the new metal ball-and-socket. So, yeah, the metal construction is the main difference, but I don't think it's insignificant. It's not just a matter of durability, since it's a functional element that's constructed differently.

Digital Photography Review recently published a review of the Lensbaby Composer Pro and Sweet 35 optic, and in their conclusion, they note:

... it's the best Lensbaby yet, and substantially improved over the original Composer. In particular the focusing is very much improved over the somewhat loose feel of the older design, with a smooth, damped action that's reminiscent of 'proper' manual focus lenses. The ball and socket tilt joint has also been refined - again it's smoother in operation, which makes small, precise adjustments much easier. So if you think you're likely to use it a lot, we think the Pro is definitely worth the $50 premium over the Composer. Of course if you just want to experiment with whether you like the whole Lensbaby idea, the much-cheaper Muse probably makes more sense as an introduction to the system.

If you're interested in the Lensbaby system, the rest of the review is well worth reading.


that's the "off-topic now" line :)

I think the name "Composer" is apt, by the way. It's appropriate for Lensbaby shots where you're working slowing and carefully. The Muse, on the other hand, is much more fluid and fun. It's also considerably cheaper.


and that's the "way off-topic" line

My favorite, though, is the Lensbaby 2.0. The new optic swap system is cool, especially if you're interested in pinhole or zone plate, or if you get really into it and want to change between plastic and glass and so on. But the older models are considerably smaller, and the flexible tubing more flexible (and less squeaky, something I find a little bit disturbing with the Muse).

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I've heard the focusing with the composer is harder than focusing with a f/1.2 lens. But I never liked the Muse due to it's random and way-to-flexible way to focus (Al tough I've never touched a lensbaby). Also I feel I don't have enough fingers to hold the lens, the camera and manipulate the buttons and wheels :F –  Andres May 6 '11 at 14:53
    
You really need to play with it for a while to get it. The "random" focus is hard, but incredibly fun. –  mattdm May 6 '11 at 15:08
    
Have you tried using the black friction ring near mount to achieve desired smoothness? –  Imre Jun 7 '11 at 16:22
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@Andres: I think the general idea with Lensbaby is the "imperfections" and "randomness" of the lenses and optics, and how those aspects of their system allow you to compose unique and different types of photos. I would assume that it takes a little time to get used to such a system, but once you do...it opens a whole new world of possibilities that are otherwise difficult or impossible to achieve with normal optics. –  jrista Jun 12 '11 at 2:17

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