I had the opportunity to trial the Venus LAOWA 60mm f/2.8 2:1 Ultra-Macro lens, kindly lent to me by my brother.
Accourding to Laowa this lens is the “World’s First 2:1 Macro Lens with infinity focus. Featuring a magnification range from 0.1x to 2x, making this lens ideally suited for rapidly changing macro photography scenarios without using any extension tube. The wide magnification range is very useful for shooting macro objects (e.g. insects) with different sizes. The lens is also designed for normal shooting purposes with a 60mm focal length, providing an all-in-one solution for normal portrait shooting as well as ultra-macro photography.”
Available mounts for this lens are Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony A, Pentak K, & Sony FE.
My brother uses Canon camera bodies so an adaptor was required in order for this to work with my Olympus OM-D EM5 II camera, a Canon to micro 4/3rd adaptor.
I have now taken this lens into the field to trial on a couple of occasions, and here are my observations at this stage
- Required manual aperture setting & focus, (no AP priority or auto focus) – I had no issues and this is similar to my normal set up for close-up work.
- Great magnification range, offering the ability to take a wide variety of insects from the very small (aphids, ants etc.) to larger specimens like dragonflies. The lens barrel does rotate very smoothly between the ranges.
- Image quality is very good. All subjects appear very sharp when in focus.
- Good combination with a camera that has an EVF screen (Electronic viewfinder) – This allows for easier focusing as the screen remains bright even at very close working distances.
- I did find getting shots of very small insects in focus quite challenging, though this is not that easy anyway. Just felt harder than normal. This may be down to the fact that I have only used this on a couple of occassion and may get better with practice.
- A minor gripe. Found the aperture shifted a lot even when not intented. This maybe because the barrel rotation grip is too close to the aperture ring. Again thoughts on this may change with practice.
Now on to the photo results:
Day 1 – Showcasing its close-up magnificaiton capabilities
Day 2 – Showcasing its capabilities of photographing insects at different sizes
By this time I had purchased a step-up ring adaptor to provide better control on the position of my Olympus FS-STF22 twin flash heads.
The last photo is a Hornet Hoverfly (Volucella zonaria), Britian’s largest hoverfly, a hornet mimic. Body length 15.5-19.5mm