New Lens! Laowa 25mm f/2.8 2.5-5x Super Macro vs Utricularia dichotoma

New Lens! Laowa 25mm f/2.8 2.5-5x Super Macro vs Utricularia dichotoma

After realising that my macro photography peaked 8 years ago, I succumbed to peer pressure and got that Laowa Super Macro like literally (literally) everyone else. The lens permits impressive magnifications of up to 5x on a full-frame body. Today I took it out to a spot in SE Melbourne to test its practicalities in the field.

The lens must be used with a strong light source as any movement at all at these magnifications would produce crazy blur. As I’m fairly new to external lighting, I opted for a cheapo Neewar speedlight from Amazon and a DIY reflector made out of a semi-rigid aluminium air duct (an ode to my 700D built-in flash and pringles can diffuser days).

The set-up worked fine and produced fairly soft but definitely bright light that illuminated the subject well. The lens was fairly easy to use given the features of the sony a7c; good focus peaking and a fully articulating screen allowed me to easily obtain focus. The smallest aperture on the lens is f/16, which gives an acceptable depth of field when focusing on the key features of your subject. I prefer to shoot handheld so I didn’t use a focus rail or tripod; just anchor your arm on the ground and you’ll be fine – trust me.

The lens is definitely not sharp, but this is only noticed when attempting to crop in. At a massive 5x magnification, you’d think that cropping was unnecessary anyway… Just remember good practice like actually taking the time to compose your shot properly (skills often neglected with the luxury of a sharp lens).

Final thoughts? Pretty cool stuff! Not sure that macro-macro is my ‘style’ per se but it’s definitely a practical and useful lens for documenting the smaller morphological features of these already small plants.

Pulling down the lower corolla lip reveals the stigma and anthers of Utricularia dichotoma behind the palate
The bracts of Utricularia dichotoma, SE Melbourne.
Details of the ridges of the lower corolla lip of Utricularia dichotoma
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