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Lensbaby Velvet 85mm f/1.8 unveiled

Lensbaby made a name for itself by producing affordable, lo-fi lenses with trippy effects and swappable optics, but the company's Velvet 56mm f/1.6, released back in 2015, took things in a different direction. 

With a sturdy metal body, an aperture ring and various markings, it was the most conventionally appearing lens from the company by some margin.

And now, with the new Velvet 85mm f/1.8, the Lensbaby lens series arguably caters even better for the same kind of portrait photographer that may have been drawn to the original lens.

According to the company, the new lens produces soft and velvety effects, with lustrous skin tones and buttery bokeh. Naturally you can use it for a range of other subjects outside of portraits, although its 85mm focal length and reasonably wide aperture make portraiture an obvious application.

Lensbaby is, however, also keen to highlight the lens' close-focusing capabilities. With a 1:2 magnification ratio, the lens can reproduce subjects at half their actual size on the camera's sensor.

The new optic has been crafted with a smooth, dampened manual-focus ring, together with a small aperture ring and distance markings in both feet and metres. And, as with the Velvet 56mm f/1.6, it's a manual-focus-only affair.

The lens provides full-frame coverage but can also be used on APS-C based bodies, where its effective focal length is closer to around 128-136mm. Furthermore, it's available in a particularly wide range of mounts, from Canon EF and Nikon F to a variety of mirrorless formats - even Samsung's now-discontinued NX mount.

You can pre-order the lens already from Lensbaby's website, with shipment of the first samples due to commence from 11th July.