Lens review

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

9 September 2019
Arkadiusz Olech

4. Image resolution

The resolution test (resolution meaning MTF50 function) of the Venus Optics LAOWA 100 mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO was based on RAW files from the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. In the case of that reflex camera the decency level is situated near 30-32 lpmm and high quality, top-of-the-range fixed focal length lenses can reach a maximum level of 45-50 lpmm . Not so long ago the resolution record for that sensor belonged to the Zeiss Otus 1.4/28 (49.2 lpmm) but then it’s been slightly beaten by the Sigma A 85 mm f/1.4 DG HSM, and the Sigma A 135 mm f/1.8 DG HSM so currently it amounts to 51.6 lpmm .

Let's check how the performance of the Venus Optics LAOWA 100 mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO compares – its results in the frame centre and on the edge of the frame presents a graph shown below.

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

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The frame centre looks splendid. Already at the maximum relative aperture you get results exceeding 45 lpmm and by f/4.0 and f/5.6 apertures the resolution is, respectively, 48.0 and 48.6 lpmm. If a Chinese manufacturer, present on the market for a relatively short period of time, is able to release a device which can compete with the extremely expensive Zeiss Otus 1.4/28, there isn't much left to say, is it?

The performance on the edge of the APS-C/DX sensor can be described in equally warm terms. At the maximum relative aperture the MTFs reach a good level of 36.5 lpmm and by f/5.6 they exceed 44 lpmm. Even 10 years ago such a result would be reserved for just the best primes and only in the frame centre.

A lot of good things can be said about the demanding edge of full frame. The maximum relative aperture offers you good resolution values, amounting to 35 lpmm, and on stopping down the lens they exceed 40 lpmm so a level which ensures you very sharp images.

As a result in the f/4.0 – f/11 aperture range you get images of excellent quality across the frame. Such are the requirements good quality macro lenses have to meet and it's obvious the Laowa, tested here, should be counted among them. At the end of this chapter, traditionally, we present crops taken from photos of our resolution testing chart saved as JPEG files.

Canon 5D MkIII, JPEG, 100 mm, f/2.8
Venus Optics LAOWA 100 mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO - Image resolution
Canon 5D MkIII, JPEG, 100 mm, f/4.0
Venus Optics LAOWA 100 mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO - Image resolution