So I have been working with the brand new Velvet 85mm f1.8 from Lensbaby for a little bit now and I can finally say something about it as it was officially released the other day! As some of you know I am into large format stuff with all my weird ancient lenses. Some of may faves are the old soft focus portrait lenses. Soft, yet razor sharp underneath a veil of cream. The Velvet 85 slips this right in there to the digital world now. I now have a modern system that slides right on over into instant nostalgia! This lens is made beautifully and handles equally well. My version is mounted for the Sony A7Rii. It seems that most lens manufacturers these days are chasing better instead of character. Thank you for giving us a little character Lensbaby! The images this lens can produce vary from haunting to nostalgic and whimsical to precise, all by tuning the aperture. Wide open at f1.8 it is very sharp yet the soft and creamy velvetine cuts the sharp reality to create a haunting or whimsical feel (depending on how you light it). The specular highlights seem to radiate and glow. The skin softens but allow the lash of lips to snap into sharpness. At f8 and up it becomes a portrait making, super sharp, hi def, razor bending optical marvel. The real magic lies somewhere in between on this lens. f4ish takes me to a Veritar lens look on a 4×5. Just beautiful. Another one of the great features of this lens besides the beautiful look of the images is the ability to go to a 1:2 macro. The lips shown below are at minimum focus distance so you can get a feel of what this lens can do. Thank you to my lovely models Ariana Lance and Erika Broadland and make up artist Franky Martinez!! Thank you Craig Strong, Keri Friedman and the Lensbaby team for making this portrait beauty. Go pre-order yours today!