Laowa 2:1 Macro Lens

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).

Laowa 60mm F2.8 Macro Lens
Laowa 60mm F2.8 Macro Lens

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.

Cricket
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (0mm, f/0, 1/200 sec, ISO200)
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.

Mating Damselflies
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (0mm, f/0, 1/200 sec, ISO200)
Mating Damselflies
Mating Damselflies close up
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (0mm, f/0, 1/200 sec, ISO200)
Mating Damselflies close up

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.

Incoming!
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (0mm, f/0, 1/200 sec, ISO200)
Incoming!

This bug was a challenge – as it kept hiding.  Patience was rewarded however.

Bug on Grass
Bug on Grass

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.

Black Snipe Fly
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (0mm, f/0, 1/200 sec, ISO200)
Black Snipe Fly

A Bush cricket in the foliage

Bush Cricket
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (0mm, f/0, 1/200 sec, ISO200)
Bush Cricket

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.

Fly Eyes
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (0mm, f/0, 1/200 sec, ISO200)
Fly Eyes

A new robber fly to me was found…

Small Yellow-legged Robberfly
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (0mm, f/0, 1/200 sec, ISO200)
Small Yellow-legged Robberfly

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!

Wasp Beetle
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (0mm, f/0, 1/200 sec, ISO200)
Wasp Beetle

Then back to the 2:1 shots of a crawling bug.

Creeping along
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (0mm, f/0, 1/200 sec, ISO200)
Creeping along
Spotted ??
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (0mm, f/0, 1/200 sec, ISO200)
Spotted ??

In all this is a great stand in lens for me whilst the Canon MPE-65mm lens is away.

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