I love soft focus lenses. They are difficult to use and certainly don’t work for every subject/lighting/situation. I’m still in the beginning stages of trying to understand them, but I’m happy that I have one for both of my most commonly used cameras – the Canon 135mm 2.8 for Canon EF Mount, and Sekor z 180mm 4.0 VSF for Mamiya RZ mount. I’ve had more disappointing results with the Canon soft focus lens than with any other lens before, but also some of my favorite photos have been produced with it. I’ve spent quite a bit of time with that lens mounted on my camera lately, desperately trying to understand it better. A few days ago I spent my baby boy’s entire 1.5 hour nap outside with the girls taking pictures of them playing around. They had dressed themselves up in their bee and ladybug costumes and I went to town taking endless photos of them. Yeah, I was grateful for having a digital camera that day – most of the shots were actually not that great and had to be deleted, just imagine the waste of film had I used a film camera – but some turned out ok. The below photo of my middle child is probably my favorite from that day and I think that soft focus works well for this shot.
(135mm, ISO 100, f/4.0, 1/400 sec)