Lensbaby Reveals New 85mm f/1.8 Velvet Lens

Lensbaby Reveals New 85mm f/1.8 Velvet Lens

Lensbaby has revealed the next lens in their new "Velvet" lineup. Following on the heels of the Velvet 56, the Velvet 85 is set to offer a similar optical effect to its 56mm cousin re-purposed into the classic 85mm focal length. Like the Velvet 56, the 85 continues Lensbaby's timid new steps into more traditional lens designs featuring standard aperture and focus rings. The Lensbaby Velvet line is aimed at offering a unique "film-like" quality that sacrifices critical sharpness for a specialized character that sets it apart from most other modern lenses. Named after the "velvety glow" it creates at fast apertures the Velvet 85mm will undoubtedly be a lens that photographers will either love or hate. Lensbaby has created a gallery on their website showcasing the the Velvet 85's unique character and style; I leave it to you to decide whether it is your cup of tea or not. Unfortunately, like all other Lensbaby lenses, the Velvet 85mm only offers manual focus but fortunately does come in a wide variety of mount support with mount options for Canon, Nikon, Sony E & A, Fuji X, Micro 4/3, Olympus, and even Samsung NX. 

Retailing at $499.95 the Lensbaby Velvet offers a reasonably priced portrait option to a specific niche of photographer which is available for preorder with an expected shipping date of July 10, 2017. How do you feel about this new lens? It's from a company that has reputation for creating creative lenses that offer a unique look that diverges from the more common race for technical perfection that the mainstream lens makers are engaged in. Let me know in the comments below.

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I own a Velvet 56 for Canon EF mount and have used it sparingly. I suspect the new 85m would be similarly little used. The wide aperture soft focus effect is undeniably attractive for certain applications and the lens does sharpen considerably at smaller apertures increasing its usefulness, but it's a specialty lens and not a workhorse. For me, that's good enough but others might feel differently. I wish the 56 was built a bit better; the aperture ring in particular has a low grade feel, and it underwhelms in comparison with the many Nikon manual focus lenses that I've picked up used for considerably less cash. I'm curious to see if the 85 is of similar or better quality.

Spy Black's picture

Lensbaby, the practical jokers of the photographic industry...

Deb Buchanan's picture

Is there a Lens Rental that I can rent the Velvet 85? What if I purchase the Lensbaby Velvet 85 and decide I don't like it?

Ryan Cooper's picture

lensrentals.com carries the 56mm so I'd be really surprised if they don't stock the 85 once it becomes available. As for the other question, unfortunately thats not something we can answer, you would have to talk to lensbaby and/or the retailer that you would purchase from.

Deb Buchanan's picture

Thank you Ryan for answering my question...I appreciate it!!