Lensbaby Spark lets you squeeze and tilt your camera focus for $80

[Credit: Lensbaby]

Lensbaby is a company that does one thing, but it does it well: It makes very cool lenses and lens accessories that let you manipulate a camera's focus capabilities in artistic ways. Lensbaby's gear has been relatively expensive in the past, but the company is launching a new Spark lens that provides selective focusing ability for an affordable $80 price.

Lensbaby’s latest Spark lens is a 50mm lens with a fixed f/5.6 aperture, and there are versions available for both Canon and Nikon DSLR lens mounts. The lens can focus on anything from 13 inches away to infinity, so it's built primarily for portrait shots and landscape scenes rather than macro photography.

An example of what the Spark lens can do. [Credit: Nina Westervelt/Lensbaby]

The trick to using the Spark is that you can squeeze and tilt the lens to change the focus in an image image. The lens is a piece of glass on the end of a flexible tube, and physically moving the tube allows you to bring certain areas of an image in and out of focus. You can create images with a very small focus area surrounded by an increasingly blurred background.

That all adds up to some unique effects, such as in the above photo. The best thing about is that the Spark costs even less than a regular 50mm lens, which is generally the cheapest lens available for many DSLR cameras.

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