The Laowa 65mm f/2.8 2x Ultra Macro APO is just a slightly smaller version of its full-frame brother*. Venus Optics managed to cram in all the features and bonuses of its 100mm macro into a smaller package.
We already had a lot of great things to say about the Laowa 100mm. I guess the only thing left to talk about is the difference. The truth is very little. The Laowa 65mm f/2.8 2x Ultra Macro APO retains the outstanding macro capabilities as its full-frame brother*. The lens is a little smaller and a little lighter. I like that the focus throw of the lens stayed basically the same though. Nice and long for maximum control. This is a great feature for both videographers, and ultra-macro shooters wanting to control their position of focus. Laowa claims this to be the only 2x macro designed for mirrorless cameras.
What 2x macro really means
Here are a couple of new examples of just how close “2x” really is!
You might recognize Dr. Strange’s eye from our previous test.
Its crazy to think for the things we were shooting we couldn’t even get as close as the lens could. The only way to take full advantage of the macro capabilities is to shoot on a tripod.
(note that the distance shown in the setup above is not even close to the actual distance I shot at)
You can see in the pictures above that even when stopped down to F11 we were still cranking up that ISO nice and high to a cool ISO 5000.
The lens is built with a strong durable chassis with a moving element inside the lens. It still causes that weird “extreme focus breathing” we talked about in our review of its full-frame brother* here. It also remains a completely manual focus lens, so photographers get ready to work a little harder. But there’s plenty going for this lens. The sharpness and contrast are beautiful.
The detail is something you would expect out of a lens at least three times the price of this lens. Personally I am very excited to integrate this lens into my workflow as a filmmaker. While I own the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 L, using it on some of my go-to cinema cameras (e.g. Sony FS7 or RED Dragon) can be quite difficult for cinematography use cases. The short focus throw is a big hurdle. adding the crop factor which makes this lens a ~160mm makes it especially challenging. The Laowa 65mm is kind of a blessing in disguise for cinematographers who have been looking for that perfect macro lens with no compromises on quality. Just look at the level of detail here!
The Laowa 65mm f/2.8 2x Ultra Macro APO makes for a great macro solution for anyone shooting APS-C or Super 35. The great thing about this lens is the size and compactness. Above all, the lens is so light and portable, and at the same time, so powerful. Ideal for portraiture, close-ups, and even filmmaking. You can buy the lens for Fuji X, Sony E, and Canon EF-M for just $399.
* This could also be sister, depending on how you treat your lenses.