REVIEW: LAOWA 65MM F2.8 ULTRA MACRO 2X

Laowa 65mm

The Chinese company Venus Optics releases lenses under the name Laowa. The Laowa 65 mm F2.8 Ultra Macro 2x for APS-C cameras is a short telephoto with a special shooting ratio of twice the true size.

Click on the lens for specifications, prices and test results.

TEST RESULTS Laowa 65mm F2.8 Ultra Macro 2x:

PROS

CONS

  • mechanical build
  • optical quality
  • not weatherproof
  • no lens contacts

Unique  macro lens

When shooting at true size (1:1) with the Laowa 65mm F2.8 Ultra Macro 2x, you will see all kinds of details that you normally cannot perceive. For some photographers, this macro range is a true passion: you can capture details of flowers, insects and jewels in a frame-filling way. If you come even closer: up to twice the true size, that becomes even more intense. You can do this with extension lenses and/or intermediate rings, but if this is possible with the lens as standard, this means less quality loss and more convenience.

BUILD

The Laowa 65mm F2.8 Ultra Macro 2x is a fully mechanical lens. It has a wide focusing ring with a very long focusing stroke, from infinity to 2:1. There is a smooth-running aperture ring with openings from F2.8 to F22 and a small depth of field scale. This mostly shows how small the expected sharp area is at a certain aperture. The field of view of 24.4° offers a focal length of 98mm, converted to full-frame. The lens, including a long metal lens hood, is available for APS-C system cameras from Fujifilm, Sony and Canon for €479.

Concept Laowa 65mm F2.8 Ultra Macro 2x

I used a Fujifilm X-H1 body to test this 100 mm long, 335 gram lens. This has built-in image stabilization: a big advantage in macro photography by hand. The depth of field is extremely small: at 17 cm, even with F16, the depth of field is only 1 mm! If possible, shooting from a tripod and a macro focusing rail is better. The Laowa has no lens contacts. Therefore, you have to enable “shooting without a lens” in the camera menu. You have no EXIF data, and you cannot use lens corrections. However, the focus assist tools such as focus peaking are available and helpful.

IMAGE QUALITY

The full lens aperture F2.8 already offers very good rendering in the center. At F4, the corners improve considerably, and you can call that top quality. The most beautiful, even reproduction is achieved at F8 and F11. F22 has a slightly lower resolution. Due to the optical design with three ELD elements, there is no distortion and chromatic aberration, and the background reproduction is nicely soft thanks in part to nine rounded aperture lamellae. Although I have not seen any flare, it is better to avoid direct sunlight. I was pleasantly surprised by this excellent image quality. The 52 mm filter thread is favorable for the price of filters and the mounting of a ring flash.

 

Laowa 65mm F2.8 Ultra Macro 2x

 specifications
  
field of view (diag)24.4°
sensor formatAPS-C
min. setting distance17 cm
filter diameter52 mm
diaphragm blades9
image stabilizerno
dimensions (dxl)100 mm
weight335 gr
mountFujifilm X, Sony-E, Canon EOS-M
particularsentirely mechanical
importerfotovideoretail.nl
list price€ 479.00
  
resolution9
contrast9
chromatic aberration5
distortion5
vignetting5
autofocusgeen
flare5
finish8
  
final score9.2

ConclusiON: REVIEW Laowa 65mm F2.8 Ultra Macro 2x oN A Fujifilm X-H1 body

A dream of a macrolens

The Laowa 65mm Ultra Macro 2x is a dream of a macro lens. Weight and size fit perfectly with the compact design of APS-C system cameras. Manual focusing makes sense in macrophotography, and system cameras provide the necessary focusing tools. The image quality of this lens is without a doubt excellent, especially in the macro area. For outdoor photography, be careful, as it isn’t weatherproof.