Laowa launched the seriously weird looking 24mm f/14 macro probe lens on Kickstarter today for $1199, and if you’re into the world of macro photography then you definitely need to see this. Creating a lens that is both a macro lens, and a wide-angle is something of a challenge, and lenses like this are few and far between. Bespoke probe lenses have been built in the past for natural history documentary crews like the BBC and National Geographic, but as far as I know, this is the first mass market lens of its kind.
Macro lenses are usually telephoto, around 80-150mm, and the result is a very shallow depth of field that isolates the subject. Sometimes that’s just what you want, but other times it’s much more interesting to include the environment around the subject, particularly with macro wildlife. The sample videos below do a great job of showing you why this is an interesting way to shoot macro photos and videos.
With an f/14 aperture, this thing needs a TON of light for still photography (flashes!), but for filmmaking things will be a lot easier. In fact, you can even get it with a PL mount and geared focus rings if that’s the way you plan on using it.
I have to take my hat off to Laowa. They constantly deliver lenses that nobody else is making, and they do it at reasonable price points. I hope to borrow one of these in the future to do a full review because I’m absolutely fascinated by it! I wonder if anyone will make an underwater housing for it…?