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Lens review

Venus Optics LAOWA 100 mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO

9 September 2019
Maciej Latałło

11. Summary

Pros:

  • solid, metal casing,
  • sensational image quality in the frame centre,
  • excellent image quality on the edge of the APS-C/DX sensor,
  • very good image quality on the edge of full frame,
  • negligible longitudinal chromatic aberration,
  • sensible correction of lateral chromatic aberration,
  • proper distortion correction,
  • moderate coma,
  • low astigmatism,
  • slight vignetting on the APS-C/DX sensor,
  • nice appearance of out-of-focus areas,
  • 2:1 reproduction ratio.

Cons:

  • too high vignetting on full frame,
  • very weak performance against bright light,
  • faulty depth of field scale on the lens.
The summary of this lens's test will be a short one. You get brilliant optics and two mechanical slip-ups, one of them influencing optical performance. We mean of course the imperfect blackening; due to that fact the Laowa fares rather poorly against bright light. The DoF scale slip-up is pretty comical but you can function without it. Currently many producers don't put any scale on casings of their lenses so that issue might be kind of forgotten.

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The most important fact is such that the Laowa lens is able to provide sensationally sharp images up from the maximum relative aperture and is a unique optical instrument with 2:1 reproduction ratio which allows you to rise to levels unavailable to standard 1:1 macro devices. All of it you get for a reasonable price of about 450 USD. You have to admit such a price tag makes all slip-ups quite forgivable.