I purchased an ex demo Laowa 2:1 Macro Lens to allow me to shoot high magnification macro images whilst my Canon MPE-65mm was off for repair. ( previous experience of a different Canon authorised repairer ( H. Lehmann Ltd ) who I would never ever use again due to the time they took on a previous repair 8 months – and that sped up as I chased them up – plus doubling the original quote – meant I was not sure how long it would be before the MPE-65mm was repaired).
I have another Laowa macro lens the 15mm Wide Angle that I am impressed with, so I thought the 2:1 would be a worthy stand in, despite being a fully manual lens ( both in aperture and focus – the focus is not a problem as the Canon MPE-65mm lens is also manual only focus).
The 2:1 macro lens is marketed as the “World’s First 2:1 Macro Lens with infinity focus” by the manufacturer
The specifications are –
- Magnification range from 0.1x to 2x. Easily alter the magnification ratio without installing any extension tube or teleconverter. Ideally suited for rapidly changing macro photography scenarios.
- Wide magnification range also makes it extremely useful for shooting macro objects (e.g. insects) with different sizes.
- Designed also for normal shooting purposes with a 60mm focal length. An all-in-one solution for normal portrait shooting as well as ultra-macro photography.
- Houses with 9 elements in 7 groups patented optical structure to provide great deal of image clarity and color tenderness.
- The optical system consists of 2 major moving lenses groups in order to minimize the barrel distortion.
- 14 pieces of aperture blades form a close-to-circular aperture, capable of creating creamy shallow depth of view.
- The enclosure of the lens is made of metal to strengthen its durability.
- A complimentary lens pouch and filter are included in the package.
- Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony Alpha and Pentax K mount are available.
- This lens can also be used with Full Frame Cameras. Everything can work EXCEPT you will get slight vignetting during infinity focus. For Macro shooting, there is no influence.
I used this lens with a Full Frame Camera – and whilst there is a slight vignet effect backed off, there is definitely no overly noticeable effect when shooting macro. The only “hard” thing with the lens that is different from the Canon MPE-65mm is seeing you subject with the lens aperture set to F8 or above, as the aperture is fixed – unlike the Canon’s which stays wide open till the shot is taken. Fortunately on my first outing had the advantage of using another new bit of macro kit ( a YONGNUO YN24EX E TTL Macro Flash Speedlite – more about that in a later post ) that allowed me to use its LED lights to light the subject a bit – but this was still difficult. On subsequent trips I taped up a torch between the flash heads to aid focusing – and this made life much easier.
My first successful shot using this lens was the following shot of a young Speckled-bush cricket.
It has the advantage over the Canon MPE-65mm in that you can back off a fair bit when using the lens – as the contrasting range on these two shots of some mating Common Blue damselflies show.
Here are some more images that I took with the lens. The sharpness is nice and comparable to the Canon MPE-65mm when you nail the focus.
This bug was a challenge – as it kept hiding. Patience was rewarded however.
This Black Snipe fly took some identifying in my book – the gold specs on it soon disappear after emerging to make it a fully black fly.
A Bush cricket in the foliage
A full 2:1 macro shot of this small fly – zoomed in on a screen the eye detail is excellent from the lens. I should really crop it to show.
A new robber fly to me was found…
Where as the above shots are at or near the full magnification – this Wasp beetle is not quite 1:1 if I recall correctly – it is a big beetle!
Then back to the 2:1 shots of a crawling bug.
In all this is a great stand in lens for me whilst the Canon MPE-65mm lens is away.