The new Laowa 50mm f/2.8 lens is the world’s first 2X macro lens designed for MFT

Aug 18, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

The new Laowa 50mm f/2.8 lens is the world’s first 2X macro lens designed for MFT

Aug 18, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Venus Optics has now officially announced their new Laowa 50mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO lens designed specifically for the Micro Four Thirds system. It’s for use on all of the Panasonic & Olympus cameras as well as more video-oriented systems like the Pocket 4K and various Z-Cam cameras.

While this is a manual focus macro lens, it does contain a chip which communicates with your camera. When you spin the focus ring, your camera’s LCD automatically zooms in, you can set your aperture via the camera body instead of a ring on the lens, and it also means the correct details are stored in the EXIF data of your images.

YouTube video

This isn’t the first Laowa macro lens for Micro Four Thirds, having previously released the 65mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO. However, that lens was designed for APS-C, not Micro Four Thirds. This new 50mm f/2.8X Ultra Macro APO is designed specifically for Micro Four Thirds and the chip contained within it should help to overcome some of those annoyances MFT users have faced when attempting to adapt macro lenses from other camera systems.

Focal length50mm
Max aperturef/2.8
Min aperturef/22
Angle of view24°
Max magnification2x
FormatMicro Four Thirds
MountMicro Four Thirds
Focus typeManual Focus
Lens typeRectilinear Macro
Optics14 elements in 10 groups
Aperture blades7
Filter thread49mm
Min focus distance13.5cm
Dimensions53 x 79mm
Weight240g

The Laowa 50mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO, as the name suggests, features an apochromatic (that’s what the “APO” means) design to minimise chromatic aberration across the frame. And with short focus distance of 13.5cm and 2x magnification, that’s definitely going to help. The focus range goes all the way to infinity, too, and Laowa says that this can also double up quite nicely as a portrait lens, too.

Yes, that’s a finger he’s standing on! [Photo: Jimmy Chan]
The lens is lightweight, weighing a mere 240g and quite short at only 79mm long. It has a 49mm filter thread, which is a little annoying, as it probably means buying more step-up rings for a lot of people. It would’ve been nice to see the front end be just a little bit wider and have a 52mm thread instead. But, it is what it is.

As it’s a macro lens (and especially a 2x one), naturally there are a lot of bugs in the sample photos for this lens, but that’s not all. Here are some of the sample images shot using the Laowa 50mm f/2.8 2x Ultra Macro APO lens.

[Photo: Don Komarechka]
[Photo: Micael Widell]
[Photo: Micael Widell]
[Photo: Nicky Bay]
[Photo: Nicky Bay]
[Photo: Paul Harcourt Davies]
[Photo: Wen Ta Da Shu]
[Photo: Wen Ta Da Shu]
As you can see from the images above, 2x magnification presents for a very shallow depth of field, even with a Micro Four Thirds sensor, which typically offers more depth of field for macro work than larger sensor cameras. So, you’ll definitely want to brush up on your macro focus stacking techniques!

The Laowa 50mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO is available to buy now for $399 from the Venus Optics website. It should come to all the usual places soon.

[Lead photo: Richard Wong]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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One response to “The new Laowa 50mm f/2.8 lens is the world’s first 2X macro lens designed for MFT”

  1. Brianna Jackson Avatar
    Brianna Jackson

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