AstrHori has upgraded its APS-C macro probe lens. The 18mm f/8 2x Macro Probe lens brings its full-frame probe lens to crop-sensor cameras, including those with E, F, RF, Z, L, and M43 mounts. And now, there is a 90-degree angle attachment available for the distinct tubular macro lens.
Probe lenses are fast becoming popular with photographers and filmmakers due to their typically wide-angle fields of view and their tube-like design, which allows users to get close to subjects, even if they are tucked away in a dense environment. In fact, filmmakers behind the new National Geographic series, A Real Bug’s Life, relied heavily upon probe lenses to capture incredible wide-angle macro shots of insects.
In the case of AstrHori’s new APS-C probe lens, it can get as close as five millimeters (less than 0.2 inches) from the subject while offering an 80-degree field of view. Being able to capture a macro shot with a 2:1 magnification ratio while still capturing the subject’s environment enables interesting shots that more traditional, longer macro lenses cannot capture.
Of course, the tradeoff is that the maximum aperture is only f/8, which is rather slow. Then again, to achieve more depth of field at macro focal distances, it’s common to stop a lens down anyways. If users need more light, the front of the lens features a built-in LED fill light with adjustable power and nine individual lamp beads. The light has 10 brightness settings and a 5,000K color temperature. The fill light requires power, and the location of the power port is visible below.
The AstrHori 18mm f/8 2x Macro Probe features 23 elements arrayed across 17 groups and includes a seven-bladed aperture diaphragm.
The lens weighs 712 grams (25 ounces), although there may be some minor variation in weight depending on the selected lens mount. Given its probe design, it is a long lens — over 450 millimeters (about 18 inches). The front 250 millimeters or so is waterproof.
While this lens has existed before in a direct-view version, which PetaPixel reviewed last year, it now comes in a 90-degree version. Users can easily swap the designs between direct-view, which is a typical straight lens, and the new angled optic. With the 90-degree view, it’s possible to get top-down and bottom-up macro perspectives, which can be very helpful when doing certain product or nature photography.
The direct-view probe lens is $719, while the new 90-degree version is $789. Photographers can buy both configurations in a set, which includes the swappable end pieces, for $1,169. The AstrHori 18mm f/8 2x Macro Probe lens is available directly from AstrHori and is also on Amazon and Pergear.
Image credits: AstrHori