The video above shows off a brief overview of LensBaby's interchangeable optics system such as their 'Composer' and 'Tilt Transformer'. The LensBaby optic swap system allows you to switch to different lenses with slightly different tilt-shift like effects from pinhole, zoneplate, dreamy, soft focus, vintage, fisheye, and more. Although it produced fun and creativity, I personally was not a fan of having to swap out Aperture discs. They do offer adapters that will allow you to mount manual Nikon lenses but only for MFT (Micro Four Thirds) systems and Sony NEX cameras. Well, I have to admit they've come a long way from where they originally started years ago and have just recently introduced a new 35mm Optic Lens with 12 blade adjustable Aperture and will work with Canon EF mounts. Now we're talking!
The new 'Sweet 35' optic is definitely something i'd rock just to get out and get creative. Besides the smooth bokeh you'll get from a 12 blade aperture, it has a minimum focusing distance of just over 3" inches. From F/2.5 - F/22 dialed in on the optic you can get select focus or most in focus, along with that trademark Lensbaby blur. On Full Frame Cameras, there could be a slight vignetting, but that just adds more to the popular artistic throw back look people are going for. More about Lensbaby's Optic Swap system can be found here: http://lensbaby.com/optics.php
The new Lensbaby Sweet 35 optic available for pre-order here (don't forget you'll also need the additional adapter).
I'm still set on getting some type of Tilt Shift lens (eventually), but if you just want to experiment putting some videos together you can do this without an actual Tilt Shift lens. One of the popular tricks is to shoot far. Really far. Here's an example of a Tilt Shift video I posted that used post processing software to create the effect: http://cheesycam.com/tilt-shift-without-the-tilt-shift-lens/
Sounds like a monster telescope, but mirror lenses use a technique to multiply the image inside a small form factor. The cons to using this technique is some softness and loss of light and the best of the best Mirror lenses at 500mm might be about F/6.3. The pros are you're able to get a crazy distance in a lightweight lens for super cheap. These lenses are often rebranded so Samyang is just one name. You can also find them in Rokinon, Vivitar, and Bower. Imagine using this lens on a GH2 or T3i with new Cropped modes - Crazy far!
Owning Canon DSLR's make it pretty expensive to get into some decent Tilt Shift lenses, but for Micro Four Third cameras there's more options and come a bit cheaper. Looking to get some Tilt Shift action going on the GH2 there's a few inexpensive lenses I've been following. These lenses mostly shop themselves around under the name Photex, Arax, Big, Fotex, and Arsat names. Commonly found in an 80mm F/2.8, but for Micro 4/3 systems they have a 50mm F/2. Plenty of still images via Flicker with these popular tilts, but nothing I could track down for videos or Timelapse. Anyone got links to samples of these Micro Four Thirds Tilt Shift lenses in use?
Wow, I knew there was software to mimic the Tilt-Shift effect you get from $2,000-$3,000 dollar lenses, but never saw it look this good. Here's a couple of Timelapse videos shot by Photographer Martin Wallgren, and edited in post to mimic the Tilt Shift effect with Alien Skin's 'Bokeh' software. The focus drop off looks very very smooth, it's hard to tell it was done with a Photoshop Plugin.
This sounds like a more time consuming process, but a real Tilt Shift lens is another piece of equipment to drag around, not to mention the crazy price too. I haven't been using Photoshop very much after Lightroom, but here's a reason to get back into it. It may not be true tilt-shift, but these awesome results speaks for itself.
Fisheyes, Tilt-Shift, Macros, Wide angles, and other creative lenses normally run big bucks that only professionals can afford. Lensbabies lenses are a great fun way to add some creative footage to your photography (and now videography with HD DSLR's). They've been around for many many years and have really refined their products as well as come out with more creative ways to shape an image through their flexible lenses. You can find a variety of LensBabies lenses for different types of images by clicking here.