The Laowa 24mm T/14 Periprobe has been a massive hit, but now it's even easier to use with a right-angle tip.
When Laowa first offered its wide angle 24mm Periprobe macro a few years ago, it was an immediate hit. You now see shots from it everywhere, showing up in narrative productions, DP reels, and commercial and music video work. Wide-angle super macro, where you can basically touch the lens to something and keep it in focus, is just fun.
There was one drawback, however, and that was lens placement. A tube lens is pretty darn long, and that can limit your ability to put the lens where you want to with ease. It required some planning and forethought, and sometimes some crazy rigging, to get some particularly complicated shots since you really had to think through what it would take to get a lens that long into a good place to get a shot. And sometimes, especially for some interior angles, it just wasn't possible at all to get the lens placement you were looking for.
Laowa has fixed this with the new 2.0 release of the lens, which comes with a right-angle rotating system for getting much trickier shots.
The Laowa 24mm f/14 Periprobe
Now, if you want to get a shot from inside a bowl of cereal or looking out from a fish bowl, it's just easier to do since the lens can point to the side and even rotate around. It still has everything you are used to from the traditional probe lens, including the built-in LED light, but you've got a ton of freedom and flexibility with where you can place it.
We got to spend some time testing the lens shooting inserts on a recent bike job and found the experience to be much more flexible and easy to work with than we had working with the old probe. The ability to just stick the lens in confined spaces and get shots from new angles was a real joy and got us thinking of creative shots that we might not have even considered because we would've "known" we couldn't stick our lens somewhere.
Image quality is surprisingly good with this lens. If you evaluate the images by looking at in-focus and out-of-focus areas, you'll see that issues like chromatic aberration just aren't that bad here. The lens created very controlled and pleasant images that we intercut pretty seamlessly with more traditional lenses without a major image quality hit.
Picking Up New Skills
One major thing to get used to is learning how to operate it properly. Panning, tilting, everything you are used to operating feels completely different with a right-angle lens. If you are thinking of renting this for a client job, we'd recommend spending a few hours getting familiar with how operating works before bringing it out in front of clients or other high-stakes situations. In general, a few hours of practice will also be very helpful for planning how to execute tricky shots, especially if you are going to move the camera, which will behave differently than you might be used to.
You're still going to get some grumbling from folks that it's a T/14, but so what?
If you know and plan for it, it's not the end of the world, and for the combination of price point, image quality, and versatility you get, a T/14 is a pretty normal universe for this type of oddball lens. If you've already noticed a lot of fun probe lens shots showing up lately, be prepared for that to take off even more with the new flexibility on offer.
Should You Get It?
To say that the Laowa 24mm Periprobe lens is unique is an understatement. It's not a tool you'd throw on your camera for every shot. But it does unlock some incredible possibilities that you'd never thought you'd manage, even with a traditional probe lens.
If you're a creative that's heavy into photographing miniatures or products, this lens is a no-brainer. You probably already have the original Laowa Probe lens in your kit. But with the Periprobe, your versatility explodes. At the very least, this is a lens you should keep in mind for a rental.
Have you used this lens? Love it or hate it, let us know what you think in the comments!