Venus Laowa 25mm f/2. 7 2 . 5-5× Ultra Macro Lens Review

Venus Optics Laowa 25mm f2.8 2.5-5X Ultra Macro
Pew, pew, pew!

Venus Optics makes some of the most unusual lens on the market today, including the one I’m reviewing today: a 25mm f/2. 8 macro zoom lens that goes from second . 5 to 5× zoom. Unusual is a good thing in this particular case, because very few some other lenses (particularly for Nikon) can go beyond 1: one magnification, let alone all the way in order to 5×.

This can be a macro-only lens. The farthest that the Laowa can focus is about two inches in front of the lens – specifically, four. 5 cm of operating distance – so do not buy it unless high magnification macro photography is the goal (just like the Canon MP-E 65mm f/2. 8).

I’ve been shooting with the Laowa 25mm f/2. 8 for the past few weeks and wanted to share some of my impressions. It’s an odd lens, but it is also one of the most fun lens I’ve ever used. This particular review covers all my ideas about the Laowa, good and bad, plus why you may want to consider it for your own macro photography.

Venus Optics Laowa 25mm f2.8 2.5-5x Ultra Macro Sample Image of Jumping Spider
NIKON Z 7 + Laowa 25mm f/2. almost 8 Ultra Macro @ ISO 200, 1/200, flash


  • Full name:   Abendstern Optics Laowa 25mm f/2. 8 2 . 5-5X Extremely Macro
  • Mount compatibility: Nikon F, Nikon Z, Canon EF, Canon RF, Sony FE, Pentax K, M Mount
  • Sensor size compatibility: Full frame and smaller sized
  • Focal length: 25mm
  • Optimum aperture*: f/2. 8
  • Minimal aperture*: f/22
  • Autofocus: No
  • Electronic contacts: No
  • Oscillation reduction: No
  • Maximum magnification: 5×
  • Minimum magnification: second . 5×
  • Lens elements or groups: 8 / 6
  • ED glass elements: one
  • Aperture blades: 8
  • Filter threads: None
  • Working range at 2 . 5×: forty five mm (1. 77 inches)
  • Working distance at 5×: 40 mm (1. 57 inches)
  • Minimum dimensions (length × diameter): 82 × 65 mm (3. 22 × 2 . 56 inches)
  • Lens Length at 5× magnification: 137 mm (5. 39 inches)
  • Weight: four hundred g (14. 1 oz)
  • Optional accessories: Front BROUGHT light, tripod collar
  • Price: $400 ( Check current price )

*The maximum and minimal aperture specifications are the  stated rather than the  effective apertures. Read more about effective aperture on the next web page of this review.

As you can see out there specifications, the Laowa 25mm f/2. 8 is an all-manual lens – no autofocus or automatic aperture control, or even electronic contacts designed for recording EXIF data. That makes it very different from most modern lens out there.

Provided that may stand out is the lens’s working distance. At 2 . 5×, you’re left with just 45 millimeters of working distance (i. electronic., the distance between the tip from the lens and your focusing point). At 5×, that decreases slightly to 40 millimeters – actually not bad for such an extreme magnification , but still very little room to work with.

So , whether you’re with 2 . 5×, 5×, or even somewhere it between, it’s critical to find subjects which don’t get scared while you approach. I had an easier time photographing grasshoppers, for example , compared to flies (which tended to scatter when I approached, and particularly when I fired my flash). Working distance is almost usually a problem with macro lens, and the Laowa isn’t an exception.

Bee at 2.5× magnification with Venus Laowa 25 Ultra Macro
NIKON Z . 7 + Laowa 25mm f/2. 8 Ultra Macro @ ISO 125, 1/200, flash

Construction and Build Quality

The design of the Laowa 25mm f/2. 8 can be quite unusual, even compared to some other extreme macro lenses such as the Canon  MP-E 65mm f/2. 8.

In 2 . 5× magnification, it is quite a small lens – about the length of an 18-55mm kit lens, but substantially thinner. As you focus closer toward 5x magnification, the particular Laowa almost doubles in length and begins to look much more comical.

2.5X vs 5X Magnification Size Comparison Laowa 25

Although the lens is pretty small (at least at 2 . 5× magnification), it’s heavier than this looks thanks to the dense iron construction. Still, at four hundred grams, it’s lighter than most macro lenses, and it’s really not an issue to transport around for a day associated with macro photography.

To change the aperture on the Laowa, you need to rotate the particular aperture ring at the front of the lens. It’s actually a little different than most aperture rings; you’ll notice especially on 5× magnification that an entire barrel of the lens rotates to change your aperture, not only a thin ring. I discover this amusing, although it is certainly not a problem.

Laowa 25mm f2.8 Macro Aperture Ring
It’s not created on the lens, but the aperture ring also lets you take a look at f/11 and f/22

To focus more detailed, you just spin the large concentrating ring counter-clockwise, the same path as Nikon users are aware of. The focusing ring uses more effort to spin and rewrite than on most lenses, so you won’t be rapidly moving from 2 . 5 to 5× magnification. But I don’t consider that a bad point. It’s not as ergonomic, but it also means you’re less likely in order to bump focus by accident, therefore i consider it a net still.

Overall, the Laowa is a well-built zoom lens, and the slightly strange look doesn’t have any impact on its usability.

Venus Laowa 25mm f2.8 Macro Lens Sample image of Grasshopper
NIKON Z 7 + Laowa 25mm f/2. 8 Ultra Macro @ ISO two hundred, 1/200, flash

Magnification Comparison

If you’re looking for high magnification, this lens delivers. Most macro lenses only go to 1× magnification (AKA 1: 1 magnification), as the Laowa easily gets several times closer than that. Read through my article on magnification if you want more info on precisely why this is important. Or, just look at the comparison below between  an ordinary macro lens at 1× magnification versus the Laowa through 2 . 5× to 5× magnification:

Magnification Comparison from 1X to 5X

As you can see, the Laowa concentrates extremely close. And, since it’s confined to this vary from 2 . 5× to 5×, it’s a much more specialized zoom lens than most macro lenses out there (which usually can also focus to infinity). Only a few options on the market can concentrate so close.

The next page of this evaluation covers some of the biggest difficulties with high magnification photography, which includes how well the Laowa 25mm f/2. 8 Super Macro handles them. Click on the menu below to go to the next page, “Challenges at High Magnification. ”

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