It’s been a busy year for Venus Optics. With new releases numbering in the double digits, ranging from compact ultra-wides to shift lenses, the Anhui, China-based brand is building a reputation for its well-priced, specialized glass. And this latest release, the Laowa 58mm f/2.8 2x Ultra-Macro APO “CA-Dreamer” looks to be a solid addition to the brand’s catalog.
Who’s the Laowa 58mm f/2.8 2x macro for?
Available for Canon RF, Leica/Panasonic/Sigma L, Nikon Z, and Sony E-mount, the new Laowa 58mm f/2.8 macro is priced at $499. An all-manual, full-frame lens, it should appeal to mirrorless camera owners hoping for extreme magnification in their macro photography. More specifically, this is for macro shooters who want to include some sense of a scene or background in their close-up shots.
If 58mm is too wide for your macro uses, consider the Laowa 90mm f/2.8 2x macro. It’s the same price. Crop sensors mirrorless shooters, on the other hand, will experience an 87mm equivalent field of view with the Laowa 58mm, which is much closer to a “standard” macro focal length.
Again, there are no electronic contacts to speak of and certainly no image stabilization. For those reasons, it’s likely best used on a tripod or with an image-stabilized body. Ultimately, if you’re cool sacrificing autofocus capability in the name of savings and portability, and you’re looking for a wide-ish 2x macro, this may be your jam.
Optics & construction
The Laowa 58mm macro has an optical construction consisting of 14 elements arranged in 11 groups, including three ED (extra-low dispersion) elements, and three Ultra-High Refractive Index elements. And the lens’ apochromatic (APO) design should neutralize chromatic aberrations across the frame, a major plus for macro shooters.
The Laowa sports a 13-blade diaphragm with a range of f/2.8 to f/22. And judging from the sample photos, see below, it should be capable of producing stunning out-of-focus renditions.
The Laowa 58mm is just 2.9 inches in diameter and four inches long. But with a weight of 21 ounces, it’s certainly not spry chicken. Focusing is internal, so the dimensions of the lens don’t change as you adjust it. Up front is a 67mm filter thread.
Venus Optics makes no mention of weather-sealing, though the lens mount and housing are both metal (and initial reviews suggest a solid build quality overall). The barrel offers a large-sized manual focus ring at the front and an aperture ring with a hyperfocal scale at the rear.
Price & availability
The new Laowa 58mm f/2.8 2x Ultra-Macro APO CA-Dreamer can be purchased right now for $499. It ships with a reversible, plastic, petal-style lens hood.
The following sample photos were provided by Venus Optics.