Venus Optics has announced the Laowa 85mm f/5.6 2x Ultra Macro APO lens as the smallest 2x macro lens currently available for the full-frame market. What’s significant about the lens is that it’s a 2x macro (with a 2:1 maximum reproduction ratio), which means it has twice the magnification of a standard 1:1 macro, like the recently launched (and similarly-priced) Nikkor Z MC 50mm f/2.8.
Build quality & key features
What’s also compelling about the new lens is its weight and size: It measures just 3.2 inches (81mm) long and is 2.1 inches in diameter (53mm). And depending on the model, the lens weighs around 10 or 11 ounces. That’s very helpful when shooting close up, where the slightest movement or even vibration can dramatically change the composition. The front of the lens offers a 46mm filter thread.
Optical construction & focusing
The new Laowa 85mm f/5.6 2x Ultra Macro APO lens has an optical structure of 13 elements in 9 groups, with 3 extra-low dispersion elements. The lens also features an apochromatic (APO) characteristic, which the company says minimizes chromatic aberration—or purple and green fringing—in both the “in-focus” and “out-of-focus” sections of a composition.
Another nice feature is that this lens has an internal focusing design, which means the lens doesn’t telescope out while focusing. The minimum focus distance is 6.4-inches. And the barrel offers a sizable manual focus ring. There is no autofocus capability.
Pricing and availability
You can order the Laowa 85mm f/5.6 x2 Ultra Macro APO on the Venus Optics website. It’s available now in four different mounts (Leica M, Sony E, Nikon Z and Canon R) for $449, except the Leica M version, which costs $499.