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Venus Optics Laowa 25mm F2.8 2.5-5x Ultra Macro Review RSS Feed

Venus Optics Laowa 25mm F2.8 2.5-5x Ultra Macro

Reviews Views Date of last review
2 6,365 Sat August 1, 2020
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $400.00 9.00
Venus Optics Laowa 25mm F2.8 2.5-5x Ultra Macro

The Venus Optics Laowa 25mm F2.8 2.5-5x Ultra Macro is a unique macro lens in the Pentax K-mount.

The compact Venus / Laowa 25mm Ultra Macro delivers extreme macro magnification (up to 5x life-size) without the need for traditional close-up accessories.

Venus Optics Laowa 25mm F2.8 Ultra Macro
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (no A setting)
Automatic, 8 blades
8 elements, 6 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
Min. Focus
17 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

Full frame: 10.3 °
Lens Cap
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Diam x Length
82 x 65 mm
400 g
Production Years
2018 to present (in production)
$399 USD current price
$399 USD at launch
Engraved Name
25mm f/2.8 2.5-5X Ultra Macro
User reviews

Buy Lens: Buy the Venus Optics Laowa 25mm F2.8 2.5-5x Ultra Macro
Mount Type: Pentax K
Price History:

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Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: March, 2009
Location: Cotati, California USA
Posts: 4,380
Lens Review Date: August 1, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: N/A 

Pros: Ultra macro, LED ring light great for this lens, solid build
Cons: Very shallow depth of field, very hard to get a sharp focus

This is a hard lens to work with, if I had a real need for this kind of magnification, Iíd be happier with it and going forward, but after shooting with it for a whole month, I believe I have a firm base for when this is needed and when it's not and for me as a landscape shooter, generally this lens is not needed, any old macro lens should do the job for many subjects. But...if your interest lies somewhere in 2.5-5x magnification...this is the ticket.

It's a small lens, solid all metal body with very smooth focusing action. The f-stop at the nose of the lens is a little hard to find when shooting, and you need to find it as you really have to focus at f2.8 to see the subject then stop down to get a reasonable DoF.

Almost all my images where shot in my home office with the subjects on my desk. I did do a few images outdoor, handheld Ė in bright sunlight. Clearly working on a tripod it the preferred way to go, because the DoF even at max f-stop of f16, is so thin, it is extremely easy to miss sharp focus, Buy when you do, it's very sharp. This happened more times than I liked. I suppose one could focus stack with it for better results, but I havenít ever done one of those. Except of one day, I shot all images with my old friend the K-5, I did one with the K-1II and really, I didnít notice much difference in process, handling, and image quality.

Looking back at my images, there really arenít any Iím proud of, although this amount of magnification reveals much more about a subject that I realized. I think that is kinda cool.Going forward I will have to work harder to nail the focus every time.

This lens comes with a mini ring light powered by a USB connection, I have found this little light to be a godsend. Thatís because you have to get so close to the subject that the lens itself shadows the subject. The LED is not perfect you can get too close where the LED doesnít illuminate the subject. One tip is that setting a WB with this light was tricky. I have found that 3700-3800K seems to produce something approaching true color (at least to my eye). As with and dumb lens, you have to focus at f2.8 and then shift the f-stop to something more suitable for the image. Somewhere between f5.6 and f8 seemed about right although sometimes gotta go to f16.

As far as build/handling/image quality goes, itís all what I expect from Venus Optical Laowa gear. The all metal body is nice and focusing while difficult is very smooth. It's bokeh is excellent. While with some lenses I have, I could say I'd be happy to leave it on the camera all the time, but not this one as it's a highly specialized lens. Note that there is no connection to the camera with this lens and you need to use stop down metering with it. Most manual lens Pentax shooters should have no issue with this, neither did I. With modern lenses one always sort of expects that the camera will record all the lens settings, one of which would be magnification, but not this lens. That's why in the sample images below, I'm guessing at the magnification setting, because I didn't make a note of it at the time.

So, is this lens worth $400? I believe it is when you really need this capability. Still, you have to hand it to Venus Optical for producing a excellent albeit weird lens.

My thumb likely about 3x magnification.
_IGP4061 by Tim Morgan, on Flickr

My apparently smooth to my eye wedding ring. Think I need to get it polished
_IGP4059 by Tim Morgan, on Flickr

A Sacagawea Dollar close up. The right eye was my focus point.
_IGP4081 by Tim Morgan, on Flickr

for comparison here is it more or less full size with my cell phone.
2020-07-28 20.16.30 by Tim Morgan, on Flickr

The head of a pin (in B&W) at about 3-4x magnification.
_IGP4080 by Tim Morgan, on Flickr

Tweezers at about 5x magnification.
_IGP3976 by Tim Morgan, on Flickr
New Member

Registered: October, 2014
Location: Near Poznań, Poland
Posts: 6

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 21, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: solid, good quality
Cons: need a fixed targed
Sharpness: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 8   

What I write now is just a fascination with this strange lens.
A solidly built, perfectly and soft focus ring.
This is a lens exclusive to ultra macro - just nothing else can be done.

The pictures below were taken without any preparation - under the influence of the joy of the lens purchased.

I can say that you need to have a solid tripod and a fixed target. A bit can always be sharpened by changing the magnification. As you can see in the pictures, the depth of field is minimal. In my opinion, it has a lot of charm.

Sorry for my English.

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