Macro lenses are a Laowa speciality, especially 2x macro lenses, and it now makes so many for DSLR or mirrorless cameras, full frame, APS-C and MFT, that it can get confusing.
This one, however, is pretty clear cut. 90mm is a classic focal length for macro lenses and f/2.8 gives you plenty of scope for shallow depth of field and low-light shooting, and because this lens can focus to infinity (a few highly-specialized, high magnification macro lenses don’t), this could make a pretty good portrait lens too.
The Laowa macro speciality is offering a 2x magnification ratio compared to the 1x macro magnification on most macro lenses. It means you can focus twice as close to make objects twice the size.
Laowa already makes a super-compact 85mm f5.6 2x macro, but this is a much slower lens (in maximum aperture terms). The company already makes a 100mm f/2.8 macro too, which is available in multiple mounts, including mirrorless.
What’s different here, though, is that the existing 100mm lens has to be designed around the longer flange distance of DLSRs (to allow for the mirror), while the new 90m f/2.8 2X Ultra-Macro APO is made specifically for mirrorless, with an optical configuration designed for shorter flange distance with no DSLR/mirror compromises.
Laowa 90mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO specifications
Focal length: 90mm
Aperture range: f/2.8-22
Angle of view: 27°
Format: Full Frame
Lens structure: 13 elements in 10 groups (3 ED elements)
Aperture blades: 13 blades
Maximum magnification: 2X
Minimum focusing distance: 205mm
In-focus driving mode: Manual (MF)
Filter Thread: 67mm
Mount: Canon RF / Nikon Z / Sony FE / L mount
90m f/2.8 2X Ultra-Macro APO key features
The 90m f/2.8 2X Ultra-Macro APO uses an apochromatic optical design to counteract chromatic aberration (color fringing), boasts smaller dimensions compared to rivals and has an internal focus mechanism so that the barrel length doesn’t change during focusing – which can be an issue with very short subject distances.
The new lens weighs 619g and measures 0.74x120mm. The aperture diaphragm is rounded for smooth bokeh and there is a physical aperture ring around the barrel.
This is a ‘dumb’ lens. There is no electronic connection with the camera body, so the camera cannot control the aperture or even record EXIF lens data. It’s also manual focus only, but that’s unlikely to be an issue for serious macro work, where most photographers will focus manually anyway.
The 90m f/2.8 2X Ultra-Macro APO should be available now, and will cost a very competitive $499 (about £410/AU$718).