Lensbaby today has increased its swappable optic system (or, as Nick and I like to call it, the “Swaptic” system) by one with the introduction of the $300 Edge 80 optic. The Edge 80 is an 80mm f2.8 12-blade aperture optic that follows in the Sweet 35′s footsteps with a built-in aperture ring (instead of Lensbaby’s characteristic magnetic drop-in rings), which clearly aims it at a more dedicated or professional class of shooter where taking the time to fuss with aperture discs would be a turn-off for the system. It’s just an optic, which in Lensbaby’s world means you’ll need an actual lens container, like the Composer, Composer Pro, Scout, Control Freak, or Muse to lock it into before you can use it. Once you have any of those lenses, though, the Edge 80 and a whole slew of other optics become available, making it an intriguing and unique way to develop a sort of system within a system.
The Edge 80 offers a flatter field of view than the other high-end optic, and is an ideal portrait lens on both full-frame and crop bodies (half body on FF, and at about 120mm equiv on crop it makes a good head-and-shoulders length). It offers a minimum focusing distance of about 17″, apertures from f2.8-22, and a 48mm front thread for filters. Anyone thinking about the Lensbaby system, but not sure if the “novelty” toy camera/tilt-shift look is worth a dedicated lens can try out the Edge 80′s simulator to see just what it’d be like in use: http://www.lensbaby.com/optics-edge80-simulator.php