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I heard a lot of positive and negative about this lens. From complains about quality of manufacture (cheap glass and plastic etc) to superb photos it produces. I decided to bite and buy one. Now, I'm a professional photographer and graphic designer - Nikon cameras and Photoshop are my best buddies so I know what I'm talking about that this lens is worth having.
First of all, this lens is MANUAL focus. Period. On top of all, it has FIXED aperature. Yep, you CAN'T change it - at least not in a way you are used to. It actually has built-in f2.0 aperature that you can change by adding a metalic ring in front of the glass - all the way to f22. Ring is held in place by 3 magnets and it looks pretty secure. Neat, huh? There's something you don't see every day.
Once you put lens on your camera, then it gets tricky. When you check the user guide, you will find one interesting thing - you are supposed to use BOTH hands to use this lense. I mean, both hands on the lens, that is. So, unless you're a freak with extra arms you will need something to support your camera with. If you have tripod (or monopod) that solves the problem but if you don't, you better hope your fingers are long enough to manage this baby. With professional cameras with flash, grip, gps, etc you can imagine how difficult it can be sometimes to handle everything. Still, no worries, eh? :) With my hands (5'8", 240 pounds, medium sized hands) I did pretty well, although I'm trying to use one hand only. Getting there, albeit slowly ;)
I won't go into details what is what on this lens, although looking at a picture of it you will find it looking kinda freakish. Believe me, it's very intuitive. Once you go through SMALL (tiny, rather) users manual it will explain all you need to know, everything else is just practice. And, here it goes - the trickiest part. This lens requires you to put some effort to learn how to get the best result. If you're pro with decades of experience and you used film camera, manual focus lenses and you can do color correction with your eyes closed and you snort at people using any lens cheaper than $1500, yes, you will immerse yourself into this little thing and start getting good stuff almost right away. For all others (me included), it takes some time to skill up. But you don't have to be PhD in photography or serious pro to work with it. Good heavens, no!
Word of caution - this is not a lens to SNAP a photo in a second - it takes time to focus properly and get a result. What is so nice about it is that result you will get will make people go WOW!
Tricky to use, but darn fun lens, if you ask me and if you are into photography and want to add some flavor to regular (and somewhat boring) photos, here's your solution. Anybody with kids around your home, try this lens and you will see that your photo albums will change completely - to better!
All in all, this review is more than positive on this lens. You will find here and there some "professional" which has $40k Hasselblad, Mamiya or Leica whining about how this lens is cheaply made and how glass isn't perfect quality and blahblahblah. Well, tell ya what - if you prefer $40k camera with $8k lens and you can afford it, go for it.
But bottom line for this lens is - it's fun, it gives a new dimension to your photos and it might teach you a trick or two about aperatures and similar. If you buy it, do yourself a favor and buy LENSBABY CREATIVE APERATURE KIT (it's $10 so you won't bankrupt). Get a heart shaped ring and your sweetheart as a model and see her/him melting when they see photos! I had my whole team of professioanl photographers (13 of us) drooling over the photos I took with my junky old Nikon D200 as a test camera. If we are impressed, hey, do you need any more convincing? By the way, this is a 4th lens of this type that came in this team, and not the last one. We'll be buying more...lot more.
Do yourself a favor and get one. It is far from cheapest (I'd say it's a bit on expensive side) but it's worth it. You live only once, right?