Chinese specialist lens maker Venus Optics has done it again and released another amazing, groundbreaking, unique, deeply desirable – I am running out of superlatives – manual full-frame lens. This time, Venus Optics has tackled that rarest of rarities in the macro lens world, a super wide angle.
The Laowa 15mm f/4 1:1 Macro may not be as fast as the other queen of macro released early this year by Venus Optics, the 60mm f/2.8 Ultra-Macro that we wrote about in January, but both lenses complement each other beautifully. Consider them the Elsa and Anna of the macro world.
Until the 60mm f/2.8 came along I had barely given a thought to extreme closeup stills photography and cinematography for longer than I care to remember. When I was studying and then teaching both those subjects, macro lenses for SLR cameras were amongst my all-time favorites and not just for the work for which they were designed.
I loved the versatility of lenses that I could make intense full-face portraits with one moment then come in for an even more intense close-up of an eye or a tongue touching lip the next. No breaking the mood by swapping lenses – I could get closer in seconds.
Now Venus Optics has changed the macro game again and really got me thinking. Consider both lenses as a pair – long 60mm and wide 15mm. Then consider them adapted for Micro Four Thirds (M43) via Venus Optics’ own adapters or Metabones’ Canon EF to M43 Smart or Speed Booster adapters.
Two already amazing lenses suddenly become four, in effect. Both become faster and wider, or stay a little slower and longer, depending on which adapter you choose.
Now consider carrying both on a shoot, attached to my current hybrid stills and movie favourite, the Panasonic Lumix GH4. Damn it, why not make that two GH4s? Throw them into a small backpack along with a Gorillapod or two, go down to our local park to visit with the bunnies and brush turkeys who live there and are unafraid of feeding surprisingly close to us, start recording and enter extreme close-up heaven.
Reviewers have reported that the 60mm lens focuses beautifully to infinity as well as extreme close-up 1:1. If the 15mm performs just as well to infinity as 1:1 then what a bonus.
According to the Venus Optics website, the company is “currently expanding and establishing our global distribution networks” and so far no Australian dealer is listed. I wish one were – I would love to put both lenses to the test.
But then, if their results are as good as the photographs on the Venus Optics website demonstrate, I would have a hard time returning them to the store.
Still photography and cinematography function, for the most part, as imitators of the normal limits of human vision and that is perfectly okay for most of the projects we undertake. But we must never forget that those limits need transcending every so often to remind us of how incredible this world and especially its other, littler, citizens really are.
Venus Optics’ two extreme macro lenses are terrific tools for when we need to do a little transcending of normality. [bctt tweet=”Get up-close & intensely personal with amazing Laowa 15mm f/4 1:1 macro lens by Venus Optics.”]
Laowa 15mm f/4 1:1 Macro Lens
Via Venus Optics:
Anhui China, Jun 12, 2015 – Venus Optics, the Chinese camera lenses manufacturer who had launched the world’s first 2:1 Macro Lens in last Sept, has just released the world’s widest Macro lens for full frame cameras, Laowa 15mm f/4 Wide-Angled 1:1 Macro Lens.
The new Laowa 15mm f/4 1:1 Macro lens is the first lens in the market which posseses a ultra wide angle of view and 1:1 Macro ability. This allows photographers from around the world to start experiencing the rather undeveloped field of ‘Wide Angle Macro Photography’ without using a extension tube. Macro Lenses currently in the market tends to have a mid to long focal length and it limits users to take very close-up shots on the insect or flowers, without showing much of the background details like its habitat or environment.
The new Laowa 15mm f/4 1:1 Macro lens features an ultra wide angle of view of 110 degrees with 1:1 maximum magnification. Photographers can focus very close to the subject and let the foreground dominates in the photo but at the same time, have the background telling viewers about where and how the subject lives. You picture will immdiately become very informative and intriguing.
The lens can also serve as an excellent ultra-wide angle lenses with infinity focus for cameras with full frame sensors. A shift mechanism is added at the rear end of the lens with a maximum adjustment of +/- 6mm, which is extremely useful for landscape/architecture photography for distortion correction.
The lens houses with 12 elements in 9 groups with 3 pieces of High Refractive elements and 1 piece of Extra-low dispersion elements to deliver crystal sharpness both in the center and the edge. Barrel Distortion was also carefully controlled. 14 pieces of aperture blades form a close-to-circular aperture, capable of creating creamy shallow depth of view. The enclosure of the lens is made of metal to strengthen its durability. Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony A, Sony FE and Pentax K mounts are available.
Pricing and Availability
The Laowa 15mm f/4 wide-angle macro lens is currently available at authorized resellers and at the English official website (www.venuslens.net). The recommended retail price is at USD 479. Free shipping will be provided during the promotion period. Pre-order starts from today and shipping will start from late July.
* 110 degrees of view angle
* 1:1 macro ability with infinity focus
* +/- 6mm Shift ability
* 12 elements in 9 groups with 3 pieces of High Refractive elements and 1 piece of Extra-low dispension lens
* Multi-layer low-reflective coatings to avoid unnecessary flare
* Carefully control on the sharpness both in the centre and the edge.
* Limited barrel distortion
* 14 pieces of aperture blades form a close-to-circular aperture
* Flat Front element surface for filter installation.
* The enclosure of the lens is made of metal to strengthen its durability.
* Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony A, Sony FE & Pentax K mounts are available.
* Full Frame Sensor Supported
Learn more about the Laowa 15mm f/4 wide-angle macro lens Here.
(cover photo credit: snap from Venus Optics)