Following up on the release of AstrHori 28mm f/13 probe macro lens (buy here), AstrHori has released a second probe lens. This time, it’s the wider AstrHori 18mm f/8 probe macro lens. Don’t get too excited just yet, though. Unlike the 28mm f/13, which is a full-frame lens, this one is for APS-C cameras. So, it offers a similar field of view at around a 27mm full-frame equivalent.
While there’s no benefit to full-frame users with the new lens, it does offer APS-C shooters a wider view. On APS-C bodies, it’s wider than the previous 28mm probe or the Laowa 24mm T14 probe lens (buy here). The price is also very attractive, coming in at $719 – slightly less than the AstroHori 28 at $739 and significantly lower than the Laowa at $2,299.
The new lens offers 2x magnification with a minimum focus distance of 47cm. This minimum focus distance is from the sensor, though. So, with a lens length of around 46cm, you’re able to get your subject pretty much butting up to the glass. But don’t worry. A built-in LED ring light around the end of the lens will illuminate your subject at such close distances. And speaking of glass, the lens contains 23 elements in 17 groups, which AstrHori says delivers “exceptional image quality, with sharp details and vibrant colours”.
The company has also released a short sample video. It shows some macro footage shot with the lens, although they don’t mention the camera it was shot with. This close on a subject, you’re going to get an extremely shallow depth of field. This is why much of it appears blurry. Where objects are in focus for a few frames here and there, though, it does look quite sharp.