If you take a look at the product line from Venus Optics, you'll see a myriad of interesting senses that don't really fit a standard mold. From near-zero distortion wide-angle glass to amazingly affordable true anamorphic lenses, the Chinese company has really found itself a successful niche.
But the most intriguing lens in its catalog has to be the Laowa 24 mm Probe lens. While it might seem like a niche product, it has found a home in countless productions, from traditional narrative to product cinematography. It's just that cool to use.
Now Venus Optics has announced the Laowa Pro2be 24mm T8 2x Probe lens, the 2nd generation update to the popular niche glass.
So what updates does the new version have and is it a worthy upgrade?
The original Laowa Probe lens was released as a 24 mm f/14 Macro and several updates to the lens gave it a PL mount option and follow focus gears.
However, the Pro2be feels like Venus Optics went and doubled everything about the lens, making it a more attractive tool for all sorts of creatives.
While it still maintains the 24mm focal length, the aperture has been increased to a T8 with a 2x magnification. It also comes in three flavors, a standard direct view version with a bug-eye perspective, a periscope version, and one with a 35-degree tilt in the lens path.
Three versions to fit your needs
Credit: Venus Optics
Reach New Heights With Laowa 24mm 2X Macro Pro2be
Each version not only provides full-frame coverage, but also waterproof up to 36.6 cm (just over 1 foot), and 360 degrees of rotation.
Thanks to the faster aperture, the LED lights from the original have now been removed. This opens up a lot of interesting options for close-up cinematography, especially if you're shooting reflective surfaces. While you'll still need plenty of light, there are loads of small fixtures on the market that can help.
But the best feature for us is the myriad of lens mount options on offer. From Nikon Z to Sony E, ARRI PL, L Mount, Canon EF, and RF, there isn't a camera on the market that you won't be able to use. Unless you shoot Fuji, unfortunately.
Is This a Tool for You?
During our first preview of the original Laowa Probe lens, we really thought this tool would thrive in the product world. But creatives have found countless unique ways to make use of the probe lens.
From narrative, wildlife, and macro cinematography, it seems like folks were putting this lens into all sorts of places. Old Fast Glass even made modified a probe lens with an anamorphic attachment!
With the Pro2be, we can't really say how filmmakers will utilize this tool, but the possibilities feel limitless. Is it for you though? In the end, the Laowa Pro2be is still a niche tool and not the perfect solution for every shot.
This 24 mm T8 Full Frame 2x Pro2be Lens from Venus Optics is one in a series that also includes 90° periscope and 35° versions. It covers up to full-frame camera sensors, is waterproof down to 14.4", focuses to just 0.2", and features a relatively fast T8 maximum aperture and a 2x magnification ratio.Yaroslav Altunin
However, with an attractive price point of $2,849, it's definitely a lens that won't break the bank. Whatever cinematographers will end up shooting, we're excited to see the results.
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