Venus Optics has announced the Laowa 24mm T8 2x Pro2be lens set designed for distinct cinematic and photographic applications. It takes the weird look of tube lenses and goes even further into the unusual.
Laowa 24mm T8 2x Pro2be is Three Different Lenses
The 24mm Pro2be lens comprises three lenses with identical specifications but different shooting angles. The direct perspective lens is much like a traditional lens, albeit quite unusual in appearance. It is the upgraded version of Laowa’s widely used existing Probe lens.
However, the other two lenses, the 35-degree and 90-degree view lenses, are very different. The 35-degree view enables cinematic high-angle and low-angle shots without tilting the camera. The 90-degree view is a periscope lens that offers views of the subject from a different elevation than the camera.
For example, users trying to shoot beneath an object can do so without getting very low to the ground. Meanwhile, the 35-degree lens can shoot down at a subject without needing to get above and point the camera down physically.
Tubular and Adjustable Lens Barrels
The Laowa Pro2be lenses are all roughly 500 millimeters long (19.7 inches), save for the 90-degree version, which is 507 mm (20 inches) long. The lenses range from 1,024 to 1,068 grams (2.3 to 2.4 pounds). Despite being very long, the lenses are incredibly narrow. They are about 30mm (1.2 inches) in diameter throughout most of the tubular barrel.
The thinnest portion of the barrels, about 366 mm (14.4 inches) of the lens’ length, is waterproof. The end of this waterproof area is marked with a bright red ring and warning text. Between this red ring and the lens mount, the lens can be unlocked using included hardware, which allows the user to rotate the lens, enabling a wider range of perspectives using the 35-degree and 90-degree lenses.
Cinematic Controls and Macro Focusing Distance
Each lens has an identical control layout, including manual aperture and focus rings. The Laowa 24mm T8 Pro2be’s aperture ranges from T8 to T40, and its aperture ring is very smooth with hard stops at either end. The aperture throw is 50 degrees.
The focus ring’s throw is much wider at 150 degrees. The focus ring includes magnification ratios and metric distance measurements. The focus range goes from 0.004 meters to infinity. The lens’ maximum 2:1 magnification ratio at 4mm drops to 1:1 at 15mm and 0.5:1 at about 40mm. There are markings for 1.75:1, 1.5:1, 1.25:1, 1:1, 0.75:1, 0.5:1, 0.3:1, and 0.1:1, plus infinity. Like the aperture ring, the focus ring includes hard stops at each end.
Lots of Little Elements
The direct view module (0 degrees) and 35-degree module of the Laowa 24mm T8 2X Macro Pro2be lens include 33 elements in 24 groups. The 90-degree (periscope) module adds an element and a group, bringing the lens to a total of 34 elements in 25 groups.
Like all probe lenses, the Laowa 24mm T8 2x Macro Pro2be lens is relatively niche. However, it promises to be highly beneficial for its ideal usage scenarios.
For example, consider a filmmaker trying to capture video beneath a car, perhaps for a car mechanic tutorial or advertisement. The periscope module can help with that. It can also make it easier to record ground-level footage, such as of small animals or a pet lying on the floor. The 24mm focal length and macro capabilities allow the user to get extremely close to a subject, offering a distinct perspective.
Speaking of the macro capabilities, with its 2x magnification and 4mm close focusing distance, the Laowa 24mm T8 Macro 2x Pro2be lens is well suited to product photography and video, especially of very small objects like jewelry and watches.
With a 36.6cm waterproof length, each of the new Laowa Pro2be lenses is also a versatile option for users shooting underwater, such as inside an aquarium.
In each case, all three modules are very thin throughout their entire length, meaning users can squeeze the lenses through some very tight spaces. With the different shooting angles afforded to users, it is also easy to shoot from a comfortable, practical position.
Pricing and Availability
The Laowa 24mm T8 Macro 2x Pro2be is available now in Arri PL, Canon EF, Canon RF, Nikon F, Nikon Z, Sony FE, and L mount versions.
The direct view module is $2,849, while the 35-degree view and periscope modules are $3,149 and $3,349, respectively.
The full set, complete with the excellent case, is $8,499, representing a roughly $850 discount compared to buying each lens separately.
Ahead of today’s announcement, PetaPixel went hands-on with the Laowa 24mm T8 Pro2be 2x Macro lens to see what sort of creative applications such an unusual lens enables.