The new Laowa 24mm f/14 Probe Lens with included LED lighting at the tip is a really interesting lens for high-speed shooters that would like an edge in their shooting style. The lens looks like a gun barrel but it is really a snake tube-cam-like lens that permits focus at just 2cm from the front element and also shoots at a fairly long distance from the subject.
The Kickstarter campaign project seen here was asking for just $9,999 USD in funding but as of right now with several days to go has reached an extremely impressive $811,113 USD which translates to about 650 lenses to be delivered to backers. The footage that the campaign was able to provide is really amazing at showing what can be achieved when creative minds are able to freely utilize an innovative lens like this.
Laowa 24mm Probe Lens Main Specs:
- close focus (2cm @ 2:1)
- 24mm f14 Maximum Aperture
- F40 minimum aperture
- 7 aperture blades
- Min Focusing Distance 470mm
- Min Working Distance 20mm
- Dimensions: 38 x 408mm
- Weight 474g
- wide angle ‘Bug Eye’ view (84.1°)
- Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony FE, Arri PL mounts are available
- LED Lighting at the Front
- MSRP $1,499 After campaign is over.
The magnification ratios can be seen below in this image:
The Video Shooting Macro seen below by Macro Room has to be the ideal selling promo for this lens. It mixes great editing with clever lens placement for a really fascinating visual feast.
Birthday Cake (Credit to Packshot Factory Ltd) Laowa – Venus Optics Shows the benefits that can be translated to Slow Motion footage:
Another example of slow motion on the lens by © Packshot Factory Ltd, London UK
This review by DPReview of the lens will give you an idea of how to use it.
This lens is really something unique and special. It allows you to really get as close as possible to the subject with the added ability to actually have some usable depth of field compared to super macro lenses that have extreme shallowness. The fact that you can adapt it to almost any mount and camera means that you will be able to use it for video and photo without any constraints. The Maximum aperture of F14 might sound too restrictive but if you have enough light while using the included LED ring at the front you will be able to forget about light needs and experiment freely.
Coffee Beans Tumble (Credit to Packshot Factory) Laowa – Venus Optics:
For Slow motion, those light needs will go up exponentially so you will really need to have a hyper-bright lighting setup to capture frame rates above 500fps for example. Even in full sun, it will be hard to record at those speeds. This may be relegated to controlled studio situations only when ample lighting power is available.
At $1,499 after the Kickstarter campaign is over, it will not be a cheap lens but if you are doing a paid shoot like a TV ad or documentary that needs to get up close and personal with your subject where a camera really cannot venture, this lens is a really good value. We estimate it will be in the arsenal of many creative professionals for decades to come, and also we expect to see the content shot with it on film, TV and the web very often. -HSC
More information on the Kickstarter Campaign here!
Venus Optics Official Website here: https://www.venuslens.net