Venus Optics Announces Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2X Macro – A Nikon Z & Canon RF Mirrorless Lens
One of the biggest questions being asked by Canon and Nikon mirrorless shooters is, “when are we going to see third-party lenses for our new full-frame mirrorless cameras?”
Indeed, Sony’s E-mount, which has been full-frame for more than 6.5 years now, is benefitting from a rich diversity of available lenses, from third parties such as Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, Rokinon/Samyang, and Venus Optics.
Well, Venus (Laowa) just announced their next full-frame mirrorless Nikon Z and Canon RF lens, their impressive 100mm f/2.8 2X macro. Yes, that’s right, a macro lens that offers double the magnification of most other macro lenses!
Anhui China, Apr 20, 2020 – Venus Optics, the camera lenses manufacturer
specializes in making unique camera lenses, is proud to announce that the Laowa
100mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO Lens was awarded with the ‘Best DSLR Macro
Lens’ TIPA World Awards 2020 by Technical Image Press Association. Venus
Optics is the first Chinese lens manufacturer getting this prestigious award in
TIPA history. This is also the second international award received by this macro
lens. (Previously been awarded with Lucie Technical Award ‘Best Special
Purpose Lens” by Lucie Foundation)
Venus Optics is also pleased to announce the new Canon RF and Nikon Z mounts are
now ready to ship.
Launched in June 2019, the Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO lens is the 2nd
2:1 Macro lens with infinity focus in Laowa Macro Lens lineup. It can achieve double
life-sized magnification where most telephoto macro lens in the market can only
focus up to 1:1. Unlike other ultra-macro lenses in the market, the Laowa 100mm
can also focus to infinity, making it one of the most versatile lens in macro
photography, product and portrait photography.
The Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO lens has adopted an apochromatic (APO)
design. Both longitudinal and lateral chromatic aberration has been controlled to
the minimal through a carefully designed optics system with 2pcs of extra-low
dispersion elements in use.
[Related Reading: Venus Optics Release More Lenses for Nikon Z and Canon RF Mounts]
Pricing & Availability
Both lenses are now available to order from Venus Optics authorized resellers and
official website (www.venuslens.net). They are available to ship
Initial Thoughts (Armchair Review) by Matt
Venus Optics seems to be something along the lines of, well, the Chinese version of Rokinon/Samyang? In other words, they are NOT just a “knock-off” company that clones existing designs. Laowa lenses have been highly unique, offering features that other lens makers haven’t dreamt of matching.
This Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2X macro, despite being apparently the worlds’ first ~100mm macro lenses on the market to go past 1:1 reproduction and reach 2X magnification, is actually a bit more “regular” than some of its most crazy optical designs. In case you haven’t been paying attention, Venus/Laowa is the company that makes the fascinating and popular Laowa 24mm f/14 2x Macro “Probe” lens, ($1499) a truly bizarre, unique optic that people have been using for a while now with extremely creative results.
With that said, the 100mm f/2.8 2X macro has already proved on Sony’s E-mount, and DSLR mounts, that it’s an impressive lens. So, we are very excited to give it a try sometime soon on a Nikon Z or Canon RF mirrorless camera, too!
Canon VS Sony VS Nikon – Full-Frame Mirrorless Lens Options?
But, back to the original question that everybody wants to know… “When are we going to see third-party lenses on Nikon and Canon full-frame mirrorless?”
To those people I would first say, be patient! Remember, it took about five years for Sony’s E-mount to really catch on with third parties. Only now are we seeing impressive lenses like the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DN Art, which we just reviewed, or the widest lens ever on full-frame, the Laowa 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6. (Another lens that is already available for Nikon Z!)
So, let’s break that question down. We’ll have a full article of 2020 and 2021 predictions later, but for now, here are the bullet points on the subject:
- Sony’s E-mount has been an open protocol mount, meaning, the information about electronic lens communication is available.
- Canon’s RF mount has a bit of carried-over lens electronic communication from EF, but with another contact point or two. So, in theory, a third-party could ignore Canon’s new RF lens communication capability, and just make an EF-based lens with relative ease.
- Nikon’s Z mount is a completely new lens electronic communication protocol, and it’s secret. Third parties will have to try the hardest to figure out how to make an autofocus or even an auto-aperture Z-mount lens.
- This means that all third parties which largely make autofocus lenses, such as Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina, likely will not have lenses available for Canon RF, and certainly not Nikon Z, for quite a while. How many years could it take? I have no idea. But it’s not going to happen overnight.
- A few lens makers, such as Rokinon/Samyang and Irix, make autofocus and/or manual focus lenses, that have electronic communication for aperture information. Again, any lens that has electronics, even if it’s not autofocus, (Rokinon SP, Samyang XP, Irix Firefly/Blackstone) …will likely not be made for Canon RF or Nikon Z very quickly.
- Last but not least, (in fact, now the most important!) …a few companies, such as Venus Optics have stuck to making all-mechanical, no-electronics lenses. For these optics, adding a new mount is as easy as making a few precise measurements, and fabricating a new mount. Done!
In a nutshell, that is why we will likely see companies like Venus adding quite a few lenses for Canon RF and Nikon Z, long before anybody else starts doing it. Simply because, all they have to do is machine a mount. That’s why we already have the Venus Laowa 15mm f/2 for Canon RF and Nikon Z, a lens that was originally made for Sony E-mount full-frame cameras, but was almost immediately adapted to Canon and Nikon full-frame mirrorless upon the mounts’ announcement.
Keep in mind, this 100mm f/2.8 macro was also originally a DSLR mount lens, too, just like the Laowa Zero-D 12mm f/2.8, which is also available on Nikon Z and Canon RF now too. These lenses weren’t incredibly oversized to begin with on DSLRs, so they’re not too front-heavy on the shorter mounts of mirrorless, thankfully.
With that said, we’re really looking forward to bringing you our reviews of more Venus Laowa lenses, including this exciting new 2X “standard” telephoto macro, very soon!