The Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2:1 Ultra Macro APO lens looks like any other 100mm Macro lens in terms of size, but its optical construction gives you much more in an affordable package, priced at $449.00.
The same size as my Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM, the Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2x Ultra Macro APO is different, because it only offers manual focus, which may be a negative point for some. On the other end, it doubles the magnification, which can be an advantage for macro shooters. The lens is available for Canon, Nikon and Sony.
The Canon version of the Laowa 100mm Macro lens is equipped with an aperture control motor and CPU chip, due to the fact that there is no aperture control ring on the lens body. It also has support for EXIF data. In the Canon EF mount. Nikon users have a mechanical aperture coupling, while Sony users who want to use the lens with a Sony FE camera via an adapter have to make sure an electronic adapter is being used or else the aperture cannot be adjusted. Sony FE version is also a bit longer than the Canon/Nikon version due to the flange distance difference.
Bigger bugs with these lenses
Despite the differences, the lens behaves the same way in any of the versions available, offering users a window into a macro world not usually available with regular 100mm macro, which only reproduce 1:1 magnification (life-size). If you’re willing to work your way with manual adjustment of focus, the 100mm from Laowa extends magnification to 2x, meaning more details can be seen through the lens, In fact, everything can be reproduced at up to 200% of its actual size! Photographers specialized in bugs can now take advantage of the wider magnification range to capture bugs at different sizes.
The manual focus Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2:1 Ultra-Macro may well be a lens for videographers looking for ways to go beyond life-size. But the lens is equally suited for anything from general photography to portrait. Covering a full frame sensor size and able to focus from 2:1 magnification to infinity, the lens is features an apochromatic (APO) characteristic that chromatic aberration at both ‘in-focus’ & ‘out-of-focus’ are both invisible.
Laowa’s Macro trio
The Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2:1 Ultra Macro follows the success of the Laowa 60mm f/2.8 2:1 Ultra Macro, available for Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony Alpha and Pentax K mounts, a lens designed for APS-C but which can also be used with full frame cameras, albeit with slight vignetting while shooting at infinity. For Macro shooting, there is no vignetting.
Venus Optics has constantly endeavored to unfold the possibilities of light and optics, and the 60mm and 100mm are a sign of the company’s investment in lenses that can be considered special. To this list one should also add the Laowa 25mm f/2.8 2.5-5X Ultra Macro, which is optimized for macro shooting between 2.5X – 5X life size. The lens, developed for both professional and leisure macro photography, to be used in the field or indoor set-ups, is specially designed with an extended working distance (45mm at 2x & 40mm at 2.5x) and small lens barrel. An optional LED Ringlight and Tripod Collar is available for added control and precision operation.
The Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2:1 Ultra Macro, which is the world’s first 2:1 magnification 100mm Macro lens, started shipping recently. Venus Optics says that “due to the massive demand, we are not able to ship all backorders at once. Order now and expect the delivery on late June/early July according to the order sequence”.