Lensbaby Velvet 28 review

A wide angle, soft focus AND macro photography lens? The Lensbaby Velvet 28 is as creative as glass gets

Lensbaby Velvet 28 review
(Image: © James Artaius / Digital Camera World)

Digital Camera World Verdict

The Lensbaby Velvet 28 is one of the most creative lenses we've ever used. As a soft focus optic, it enables you to shoot unique images with a dreamy glow. And, with its 1:2 macro capability, it doubles as a close-up lens (with the same ethereal soft focus, if you so choose). Obviously the look isn't for everyone, and it certainly isn't for every subject or scene. However, given that you can dial the effect back (or even deactivate it altogether) by stopping down the aperture, it triples as a surprisingly sharp traditional wide-angle lens. Focusing is a faff, but creatives won't care.


  • +

    Great build quality

  • +

    1:2 macro capability

  • +

    Effect is adjustable

  • +

    A 'normal' lens at f/8


  • -

    No weather sealing

  • -

    Focusing a real challenge

  • -

    Very long focus throw

  • -

    Fully manual

Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out how we test.

The Lensbaby Velvet 28 is the latest in the manufacturer's Velvet line of optics, where 'Velvet' is a synonym for 'soft focus'. So if you've been coveting those dreamy soft focus lenses from the past, or the abundance of soft focus effects made possible by everything from Instagram to lens filters, this is the glass for you. 

As you'd expect, the Lensbaby Velvet 28 is a 28mm wide-angle version of the existing Lensbaby Velvet 56 and Lensbaby Velvet 85 optics. Both of which, according to the manufacturer, "turn every hour of shooting into the magic hour." So, as far as creative glass goes, this promises to be one of the best Lensbaby lenses if you're looking to add an incredibly distinct dimension to your images.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.