I picked up this set on eBay, from SRS Camera and Image Solutions, who seem to have quite a bit of Lensbaby stock at very good prices. I haven’t ever really got the hang of Lensbaby, and they seemed like a cheap way of tempting me into experimenting a bit more.
Most lenses have a variable aperture, which opens and closes. There are usually six or more blades, making a shape somewhere in the region of a circle. A six-blade aperture will usually make a hexagonal shape, though the blades may be curved to make the opening a bit more circular. Points of light that are out of focus will make the shape of the aperture – usually circular when the lens is wide open, but often hexagonal, octagonal, or other similar shapes when the aperture is partly closed.
The shape also affects the quality of the out of focus parts of an image, known as bokeh. More circular apertures are usually thought of as giving better bokeh, but opinion varies.
Because most of the optics in the Lensbaby system use discs with holes cut in them for aperture, they’re usually perfectly circular. These aren’t. These are aperture disks with shapes and patterns cut into them. For these photos, I just took an out-of-focus photo of some coloured lights with each disc in the set. The points of light show the shape of the discs.
I’ve only tested very briefly using these for actual photos, and they give the out of focus areas some interesting looks. Diamonds makes a really strongly textured look, while Slots makes a strangely stripy background. It will be fun to play with them for other shots, though it might just be making Lensbaby even more random than I already tend to find it!