Venus Optics Laowa 25mm F2.8 2.5-5X Ultra Macro E-mount lens review by Tricky01

reviewer#45729 date: Jun-24-2021
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Tamron 90 2.8 macro
Sigma 70 2.8 macro
Sigma 180mm f3.5 macro
price paid:£200 second hand
5x macro
Narrow at subject end (no shadows)
Cheap laowa ring light (£40)
negative:No exif
No focus controls (focus by moving closer to subject)
comment:Incredible little lens. Light and well built, this let's you get to 5:1 (5x) as opposed to the normal 1:1 macro. I've been getting into macro over the last 18 months, using a mount lenses with LAEA3 adaptor, and given the 1:1 effect is only possible at minimal focal distance, I've always tended to set my lenses there and then focus by moving closer /farther from the subject (rather than focusing manually and lose some magnification). This lens therefore sits perfectly with the way I already use macro lenses, as it doesn't have any focus controls, neither auto or manual. Your only option is to move closer /farther from the subject. The magnification is stunning and the biggest challenge is trying to get the sensor perfectly parrallel to the subject so everything is in focus. From f11 you start to lose some detail plus the lack of light also makes it better to stay close to f5.6 and stack.

The lens itself, as with all laowa's I've owned is well built, nice solid lump of metal and glass. One of the best features of the lens is how small the lens is at the subject end. A challenge I've had with other macros is the front element being so large that you start casting shadows. This lens has no such issue with the end of the lens being around the size of a 50p piece.

Accessory wise there are some good options from laowa. There's a tripod collar for £40 and a ring light for £40 (or £50 with a power bank). The ring light isn't quite as perfect as it could be, easily falling off the end of the lens and requiring a cable and power bank to keep our powered, but for £40 you really can't grumble.

All in all, a very unique lens that at the price (RRP £400) makes experimenting with incredible magnification possible far more accessible then it's be before.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 3
  • sharpness: 4.67
  • color: 4.67
  • build: 4.33
  • distortion: 4.67
  • flare control: 5.00
  • overall: 4.67 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania