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Patric_Ocean

Venus Optics - Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2x Ultra Macro APO Lens

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Venus Optics came out with a new macro lens, the 100mm macro with a 2:1 magnification. I was wondering how difficult it is to use a lens like that?

I read one (land-based) review where they said a tripod is needed. I read another report that showed examples of hand-held pictures. Now I'm confused.

For those who don't know the lens here a quick introduction:

Available for Sony, Nikon and Canon.
100mm focal length

Manual Focus only
Min. focusing distance: 24.7cm (for the 2x magnification)
Price: 449 USD.

Here is a link from the manufacturer: https://www.venuslens.net/product/laowa-100mm-f-2-8-2x-macro-apo/


Anybody around that uses this lens?
Anybody aware of a housing / port that the lens fits in and has a gear sleeve for the manual focus?

Does it even make sense to try or is 2:1 magnification too difficult to shoot handheld underwater?

I'm debating if I should try that or go with the 100mm macro 1:1 from Canon.

Looking forward to hear opinions and facts!



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There is no way I'd consider a MF lens for UW macro, I shoot a lot of macro on land, there are 2 issues, depth of field is razor thin at 2.0x, even at 1:1, this means you need to hold the lens very stable not rocking back and forth to keep the DOF on the subject. Strobes will take care of any motion blur but don't help a lot if you can't keep the position of the lens on the subject. The second issue is achieving focus, this will vary in difficulty depending on which camera you use - the lower spec Canon DSLRs have focusing screens designed to be bright but not very good at snapping into focus so they are hard to judge if they are in focus or not, the 1D series on the other hand have very good focus screens. The other issue is that many lenses achieve at least some of their magnification via extension which means light loss and a dim image in the viewfinder - I don't know about this lens but with for example the MP-E 65mm lens the viewfinder does get very dim. I would also check working distance - likely to be quite close at 2:1.

 

People of course use diopters and wet lenses to achieve high magnification so it can be done, but it's a high level of skill holding still enough, Accessory diopters also achieve magnification without the viewfinder going dark.

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It seems that all operations are manual with this lens. Over the water not a big problem, but underwater very complicated. The question is also the optical quality (I do not know, but Venus optics is not famous for high quality lenses). Underwater you achieve higher magnifications than 1:1 mostly with diopter (or extension tubes (mainly over water)). I would go for the Canon 100mm f/2,8 L IS USM Macro...

 

Wolfgang

Edited by Architeuthis

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This is a lens for some mirrorless cameras and maybe even some dSLRs in live view, e.g., Nikon Z6 which compensates for darkness in the VF rather nicely. The video shows the lens elements moving inside a fixed length barrel and confirms a bellows extension effect by change in exposure (See Chris' post above). Looks sharp but one must NOT stop sown very much at 2:1!! A manual focusing ring might cost as much as half the cost of the lens so needs to be considered.

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Thank you everybody for the replies.

It seems to be a specialty lens so I guess for now it's not worth it for me. The aperture can be controlled by the camera, not for all mounts but for Canon definitely. 

The lens does get a bit dark when zoomed very closely, at least that's what one of the video reviews shows.
The 2:1 working distance is 24.8cm so about 5cm closer than the Canon 100mm macro with 1:1.

I expect the DOF to be around half a mm or so. That would be very tricky to get right. Any tips on how to calculate that properly? I saw some DOF calculators but I plan on getting the Canon RP and they don't list it.

Based on the discussion I'll get the Canon 100mm and since the Laowa is not crazy expensive get one when I'm more familiar with everything. 

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1 hour ago, Patric_Ocean said:


The 2:1 working distance is 24.8cm so about 5cm closer than the Canon 100mm macro with 1:1.
 

The 25cm is minimum focus distance and not working distance. Measured from the image plane. Need to subtract the length of the lens plus the back focus aka registration distance from 25cm to get to working distance which will be very close.

Edited by Tom_Kline

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Yes that is of course correct. I wanted to say that is the distance you need for the 2:1 magnification and that of course would be from the sensor plane.

 

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