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The Laowa 85mm F5.6 is the L Mount’s Lightest Macro


It was only a matter of time before the Laowa 85mm f5.6 came to the Leica L Mount. And today, it’s being announced officially to the world. With that said, the Laowa 85mm f5.6 becomes the lightest macro lens available for the Leica L-mount. We’ve reviewed nearly every lens available for Leica L-mount, and we’re ecstatic to know that it’s getting even more support and love. 

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Laowa 85mm f5.6 Tech Specs

Focal Length 

85mm

Max. Aperture 

f/5.6

Angle of View 

28.55°

Format Compatibility 

Full Frame

Lens Structure 

13 elements in 9 groups (3 ED glasses)

Aperture Blades 

7

Min. Focusing Distance 

16.3cm/6.41”

Max. Magnification 

2x

Filter Thread 

Φ46mm

Dimensions 

Φ63mm×84.51mm/2.48”x3.32” (L mount)

Weight 

around 259g / 9.1oz (L mount) excluding hood and front and back lens cap

Mounts 

Canon RF, Sony E, Nikon Z, Leica M, L mount

A while ago, Venus Optics teased the lens and announced it for other camera mounts. It was designed to appeal to folks who want a macro lens that isn’t very large. Further, those users would end up stopping the lens down anyway, so they don’t need a super-wide aperture. This lens absolutely achieves this. The image quality is also usually really unique compared to a bunch of what the other brands out there offer. Further, this lens has an apochromatic element in it. This is something Leica usually uses and that helps give their images a bit of pop. All this for only $499, which seems like a steal!

Venus Optics sent us a ton of sample images, but we can’t tell how heavily edited the photos are. Using the Laowa 85mm f5.6 with Leica L-mount might be quite a conundrum. The 24MP sensor cameras have great output and high ISO, but they’re not as resolving as the more megapixel-dense sensors. This is useful, however, for the f5.6 aperture because you can raise the ISO. On the other hand, you can also just grab a higher megapixel sensor and a flash or strobe with the camera. Only Panasonic has support from companies like Profoto though. To this day, I still think Leica needs to work with Profoto. Using the Laowa 85mm f5.6 on the Leica SL2 would be a dream considering how good that sensor is. Laowa also usually has a metal body, so it will pair well with Leica’s metal SL2.

What are the drawbacks of a lens like the Laowa 85mm f5.6? Well, I haven’t touched a Venus Optics lens in a while, but they don’t usually have autofocus contacts to communicate to the cameras. Further, they aren’t weather sealed (though this lens has internal focusing to prevent dust from getting in). And if you’re not into manual focus, then this probably isn’t a lens for you. To be honest, it’s probably better to manually focus anyway as the autofocus on L-mount can suffer at macro ranges. When you focus with the Laowa 85mm f5.6, you’ll want to use focus magnification because most camera systems have crappy focus peaking.

Of course, we have to call one in for review. But theoretically, the Laowa 85mm f5.6 with Leica L-mount should be an absolutely incredible lens even without a bunch of post-production to the images. We’ll be the judge of that though.






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