Skip to main content

Laowa launches 50mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO for Micro Four Thirds

Laowa 50mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO
(Image credit: Laowa)

Laowa is a specialist in ultra-wide-angle primes and macro lenses, and this 2x Ultra Macro lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras has a couple of tricks up its sleeve.

Best macro lenses (opens in new tab)
Best Micro Four Thirds lenses (opens in new tab)
How to choose a macro lens (opens in new tab)
How to use focus stacking (opens in new tab)

First, Laowa says it’s the first 2x macro lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras. In principle, this means it can reproduce objects on the sensor surface at twice their real-world size to offer huge levels of magnification on cameras like the Olympus PEN and OM-D series, and Panasonic’s Lumix G cameras.

The second bit of news is that this lens contains a CPU and a motor to allow the camera body to control the lens aperture. This sounds like something we take for granted these days, but Laowa lenses have traditionally been mechanical-only, manual lenses that don’t communicate with the camera body at all.

Laowa 50mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO

(Image credit: Laowa)

This CPU means that the lens can also transmit EXIF lens data back to the camera, which will then be embedded in the image file. Now, when you examine the photo on your computer, you shouldn’t see blank spaces where the lens and aperture should be.

The other advantage of the CPU is that when you turn the focus ring, this should trigger the viewfinder/LCD magnifier on the camera.

Laowa 50mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO

If you don't like spiders, look away now. Oh, too late. Laowa 50mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO sample image. © Nicky Bay (Image credit: Laowa/Nicky Bay)

Laowa 50mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO

Laowa 50mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO sample image. © Paul Harcourt Davies (Image credit: Laowa/Paul Harcourt Davies)

Optical design

The ‘APO’ in the lens name indicates that Laowa has used an apochromatic lens design to minimise chromatic aberration across the frame, using a similar optical formulation to its existing 65mm f/2.8 2x Ultra Macro APO APS-C lens.

Laowa lenses may be simple mechanically, but they are optically sophisticated, and this one has 14 elements in 10 groups, including three ED (extra low dispersion) glass elements in a design aimed at eliminating both lateral and longitudinal chromatic aberration (also called ‘bokeh fringing’).

The new lens will also focus to infinity, and Laowa says its f/2.8 maximum aperture and 100mm effective focal length would make it a good portrait lens too. It has an internal focus mechanism so that it doesn’t change in length at different focus distances, and it’s 79mm long and weighs just 240g.

The Laowa launches 50mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO is available to order now and costs $399.

Read more:

Best macro lenses (opens in new tab)
Best Micro Four Thirds lenses (opens in new tab)
How to choose a macro lens (opens in new tab)
How to use focus stacking (opens in new tab)

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Rod is the Group Reviews editor for Digital Camera World and across Future's entire photography portfolio, with decades of experience with cameras of all kinds. Previously he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more.