First session with Laowa 25mm 2.5X-5X macro

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#1
[EDIT I'm sorry, I forgot to mention here that I wrote up my initial impressions about the Laowa 25mm macro lens in this post in my Journey thread.]

This afternoon I took delivery of a Laowa 25mm 2.5X-5X macro lens. I had a short session with it in the garden, using it hand-held on a Sony A7ii, with a Venus Optics KX800 twin flash.

The Laowa 25mm is a fully manual lens and passes no information to the camera. I did not take notes during the session so I cannot provide image-specific information about aperture and magnification. Overall though I used f/11, f/16 and f/22 and magnifications from 2.5X to 5X. This means that the effective apertures were all in the range f/40 (f/11 set on the lens and 2.5X magnification) to f/128 (f/22 set on the lens and 5X magnification). I don't know if any of these shots used effective apertures as large as f/40 or as small as f/128.

The raw files were batch processed in DXO Optics Pro and then Silkypix, with image specific adjustments in Lightroom and output sharpening with Topaz AI Clear (part of Topaz DeNoise AI). There are 1300 pixel versions in this album at Flickr.

#1 This fly was small. I think this capture used 5X.

1577 01 2019_11_19 DSC01414_PLab3 SP9 LR 1300h-AIC
by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

#2

1577 02 2019_11_19 DSC01420_PLab3 SP9 LR 1300h-AIC
by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

#3

1577 03 2019_11_19 DSC01426_PLab3 SP9 LR 1300h-AIC
by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

#4

1577 07 2019_11_19 DSC01465_PLab3 SP9 LR 1300h-AIC
by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

#5

1577 08 2019_11_19 DSC01480_PLab3 SP9 LR 1300h-AIC
by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

#6

1577 10 2019_11_19 DSC01545_PLab3 SP9 LR 1300h-AIC
by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

#7

1577 12 2019_11_19 DSC01614_PLab3 SP9 LR 1300h-AIC
by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

#8

1577 13 2019_11_19 DSC01621_PLab3 SP9 LR 1300h-AIC
by gardenersassistant, on Flickr
 
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#2
If this is your 1st test then after a few weeks out there with it you will be showing us shots with even more detail.
Your a brave man Nick, its a bad ass lens to learn.
 
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#4
If this is your 1st test then after a few weeks out there with it you will be showing us shots with even more detail.
Your a brave man Nick, its a bad ass lens to learn.
Thanks Graham. Your reply made me realise that I forgot to say in the top post (which I have now edited) that I wrote up my first impressions of the Laowa 25mm macro in this post in my journey thread. As I mentioned there, it turns out that the lens is a lot easier to use than the MPE-65. It is smaller and lighter, and most important it is much easier to find small subjects than with the MPE-65, even at 5X magnification. It's not exactly easy working at those magnifications of course, but there are degrees of difficulty and of the setups I have tried those involving the MPE-65 are probably the most difficult I have come across to date.

Some people may find some added difficulty in that the Laowa 25 is fully manual and so you can't use E-TTL metering and just set flash exposure compensation and the balance between the flash heads, and then let the camera work out the rest. For my part working manually is no different from usual - I have been using the KX800, which is a manual only flash, for several years now and so I'm used to not having E-TTL.
 
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#5
Very nice Nick, a really good start (y)
Thanks. So far so good. But will it be sustained? I have no idea. We shall have to wait and see. :)
 
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#6
cracking pictures from a cracking lens
I had one since they came out.
I need to find a adapter for my flash but it not like yours, mine the Yongnuo yn24ex e-ttl.
it has adapters but they not go that small maybe have to make something up.
I have attached a image taken with the same lens I Hope you do not mind.
A robber fly so I have Been told But adobe Photoshop has not updated there profile for this lens

IMG_5393.jpg
 
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#7
cracking pictures from a cracking lens
Thank you.

I had one since they came out.
I need to find a adapter for my flash but it not like yours, mine the Yongnuo yn24ex e-ttl.
it has adapters but they not go that small maybe have to make something up.
I have a Yongnuo YN24EX, but I can't see any way of fitting it on to the Laowa 25mm macro as that does not have a filter thread. I suppose you would need to make a fitting that would lock on to the end of the lens barrel like their LED light for the 25mm. Making such a thing is well beyond my competence! In any case, even if you could make it fit, with a working distance of only 40-45mm I would expect to run into problems like I did with the Canon MPE-65 at its highest magnifications, where the Yongnuo flash heads protruded between 40 and 50mm from the front of the lens and got in the way. Diffusers, which I think are pretty much essential, made the problem worse.

I have attached a image taken with the same lens I Hope you do not mind.
A robber fly so I have Been told But adobe Photoshop has not updated there profile for this lens
As there is no communication between the lens and the camera, Photoshop would have no way of knowing what lens was used, so I doubt you will ever see a profile for that lens.
 
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#9
I have this lens and was thinking of selling it but I might have another play with it, lighting was my issue plus I'm not really into macro but I like looking at other folks images.
 
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#10
adobe has profiles for 3 of the venus lenses already built in to the camera raw
Interesting. Thanks. So the profiles are applied manually then? (I haven't used lens profiles - as far as I know, maybe if automatically applied).
 
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#11
I have this lens and was thinking of selling it but I might have another play with it, lighting was my issue plus I'm not really into macro but I like looking at other folks images.
Lighting is an issue. I just made my fourth set of diffusers for it yesterday. I haven't tested them out of doors yet.

Because it is so powerful I imagine it is a rather difficult lens to use if you are not into macro. Something less powerful would be easier. It partly depends on what format camera you are using. I am using it on full frame, which is easiest. It would be more difficult with APS-C and more difficult again with micro four thirds. (The magnification is the same whatever the sensor size, but the scene size you are dealing with gets smaller as the sensor gets smaller. So with full frame, at 5X I'm dealing with a scene height of 4.8mm. With Canon APS-C it would be a scene height of 3mm and with micro four thirds it would be 2.6mm.)
 
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#12
Interesting. Thanks. So the profiles are applied manually then? (I haven't used lens profiles - as far as I know, maybe if automatically applied).
A little digging proved productive!

I see four lens profiles for Venus Optics (although as you said not one for the 25mm macro). So why haven't I taken any notice of profiles before? I use Panasonic cameras mostly and I just looked at raw files from an FZ330 bridge camera and a G9 micro four thirds camera, and both of them said "built in" for the profile, and didn't offer anything from Panasonic in the pop up list. Quite possibly I noticed that some years ago and have never bothered since (and forgot as to why).

And I just tried an image taken with my A7ii and a Laowa 25mm macro. I use a workflow which goes raw > DXO PhotoLab > DNG > Silkypix > TIFF > Lightroom. With the raw and DNG versions I can see Venus Optics in the pop-up list. However, for the TIFF (which is the one I work on, the PhotoLab and Silkypix steps being in batch mode) Venus Optics (along with a lot of others) has disappeared from the pop-up list).

Very instructive. Thanks.
 
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#13
So do you have the Canon version of this lens?
 
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So do you have the Canon version of this lens?
Yes, I am using it with a Sigma MC11 adapter on the A7ii. I have a Commlite adapter for micro four thirds and I could use it natively on my Canon 70D. I might try it on a Panasonic G80 or G9 and/or on the 70D to see what the usability is like (and I might do the same for the MPE-65), but I think the scene size coverage or the 25mm macro on the A7ii is about right for my purposes.

Also, out of curiosity just to see what it is like to use, I may try it with a 1.4X EF teleconverter on one or more of the systems.
 
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#15
Ironic that I have the Sony version and you have the Canon version, I was using an adapter but have sold it on.
 
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#16
Thank you.



I have a Yongnuo YN24EX, but I can't see any way of fitting it on to the Laowa 25mm macro as that does not have a filter thread. I suppose you would need to make a fitting that would lock on to the end of the lens barrel like their LED light for the 25mm. Making such a thing is well beyond my competence! In any case, even if you could make it fit, with a working distance of only 40-45mm I would expect to run into problems like I did with the Canon MPE-65 at its highest magnifications, where the Yongnuo flash heads protruded between 40 and 50mm from the front of the lens and got in the way. Diffusers, which I think are pretty much essential, made the problem worse.



As there is no communication between the lens and the camera, Photoshop would have no way of knowing what lens was used, so I doubt you will ever see a profile for that lens.
This is my take on that issue. Bulky and rather stiff but doable 41oPjx9C9iL._SY355_.jpg
 
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#17
This is my take on that issue. Bulky and rather stiff but doable View attachment 260961
Of course! Thank you. I had forgotten that you can detach the flash heads. That would make it very much like using the KX800. Except the focusing lights, being part of the flash heads and always pointing where the flash heads are pointing, might be better than with the KX800 with its focusing light that is separate from the heads, and which I find difficult to adjust for very short working distances.

Do you have a purchase link for that product?
 
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#20
Looks like your shots were not from this earth
:D

I don't know how much I'll end up using it. It will probably be Spring before I can start doing some more thorough comparisons out in the field with my current close-up lens setups, and also the MPE-65, and possibly other(s). (I have a bit of a project in mind.)
 
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#23
Thanks Alf.

I have seen this lens and I am considering getting one
You might want to hold on until we see some reviews of the just announced Zhongyi (same company as Mitakon) 85mm 1-5X. At all magnifications it has more than twice the working distance of the MPE-65 or the Laowa 25.

There is one review I've seen so far, here.

I reckon a set of those arms would allow me to mount my twin flash heads on
Yes, they look good. I haven't found anywhere that sells them yet.
 
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#24
Thanks Alf.



You might want to hold on until we see some reviews of the just announced Zhongyi (same company as Mitakon) 85mm 1-5X. At all magnifications it has more than twice the working distance of the MPE-65 or the Laowa 25.

There is one review I've seen so far, here.



Yes, they look good. I haven't found anywhere that sells them yet.
Thanks for the info I will watch the video later
 
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#26
I found them on Amazon searching flexible flash bracket
Thanks Alf. Found it. One review, not so good, but I might try one anyway.
 
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Thanks Alf. Found it. One review, not so good, but I might try one anyway.
Turns out there are several suppliers who look like they are badging the same product. I'm seeing too many negative user comments for comfort.
 
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