The New Laowa 65mm Macro Lens Gets You Up Close
The Laowa 65mm f/2.8 Macro lens offers 2x magnification at an affordable price.
- f/2.8 – f22
- 2x magnification
For those unfamiliar with Laowa, the brand has been around since 2013. Its niche started with macro lenses but has grown to include cine options. You might remember its release of the first full-frame 100mm f/2.8 macro with 2x magnification or the 24mm f/14 2X Macro Probe which can create some interesting videography. The latter concept isn't new (Skater Scope Mini T-Rex and Innovision Probe II come to mind) but Laowa is doing it without breaking your bank.
In 2018, they released a 25mm f/2.8 2.5-5X Ultra Macro which was in direct response to the holy grail of macro photography the Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro, a lens released in 1999 and retails for $1,049. Laowa continues to shake things up.
The lens has 14 elements in 10 groups with a 9 blade aperture design. The maximum aperture is /2.8 and minimum is f/22. The APO portion of its name refers to apochromatic, a lens that reduces chromatic aberrations in and out of focus. The 65mm macro includes three low dispersion lenses to reduce both lateral and longitudinal chromatic aberrations.
It has up to a 2:1 magnification ratio and is a 100mm full-frame equivalent. The minimum focusing distance is 6.7” (17 cm) and focuses to infinity. The lens is manual with no autofocus and has a bit of a short focus throw. Let's watch a comparison between the 65mm f/2.8 2x Macro APO and the Laowa 60mm f/2.8 Macro 2x.
Comparison: Laowa 65mm 2x Macro & 60mm Macro 2x.
There is on direct 1-to-1 comparison with the 65mm Laowa. It finds itself in a unique position but let's highlight some that come to mind:
Fujifilm XF 80mm f/2.8 R
It has a 122mm full-frame equivalent and is a little larger in size compared to the Laowa but offers optical image stabilization – a feature that comes in handy when shooting macro. It retails for $1,199.
Zeiss Touit 50mm f/2.8M
It's also for Fujifilm X Series cameras. It's another fast lens offering 1:1 magnification and a 75mm full-frame equivalent for $999.
Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM
Canon currently only has one macro lens for the EF-M mount but you can adapt any EF or EF-S lens with its EF-EOS M adapter. The Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM has a 1.2x magnification for $299. Canon also has two versions of its 100mm f/2.8 macro either with or without image stabilization for $699 and $599.
Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS
The G-Master series for Sony alpha cameras are the standouts. This lens has a full-frame 1:1 magnification and costs $999. Another is the Sony FE 50mm F/2.8 Macro that also has a full-frame 1:1 magnification for $499.
- Focal Length: 65mm
- Aperture: f/2.8 – f22
- Angle of view: 24.4°
- Aperture Blades: 9
- Min. Focusing Distance: 6.7" (17 cm)
- Max. Magnification: 2x
- Focus mode: Manual Focus
- Dimensions: 57mm x 100mm
- Filter Thread: 52mm
- Weight: 335g
- Format Compatibility: APS-C
- Mounts: Sony E, Fuji-X, Canon EF-M
Pricing and Availability
The lens is available now in Sony E, Fuji-X or Canon EF-M for $399 USD but will vary in price by country. Overall, it's a solid looking lens that can produce quality images. The small footprint gives it up a leg up on its previous model and some of its competitors.