The Laowa 24mm Probe Lens is one of the funkiest pieces of glass out there, and it captures some amazing macro shots, but is it worth $1,500?
Today, we are going to do a deep dive into the Venus Optics Laowa 24mm Probe Lens, and push it to the limit to see what kind of crazy shots we can get with it. We’re also going to answer some questions like “how practical is it,” “is it worth the money,” and “why on earth would you want this lens.” Well, let’s find out!
16 inches in length.
24mm lens — which is wild, and makes it an amazing macro lens that is different than many other macro lenses that may be telephoto.
27 glass elements throughout the barrel to achieve a wide macro lens.
Minimum focus distance is literally the end of the lens.
f/14-f/40. You’re going to need a lot of light for this bad boy.
LED ring light at the end of the lens for getting up close and personal with your subject. The light quality isn’t that great, but it’s enough when you’re close to a subject that a light can’t reach.
So to test out the waterproof features of this lens, I wanted to get a little experimental. We had some leftover acrylic paint leftover from our PremiumBeat galaxy freebie, which we captured using a fish tank. Since we were only able to capture the spreading paint from the outside, I was curious to see what it would look like from inside the water. So I hooked up the lens to a c-stand and hung it above our fish tank. I put some paint into a syringe, and then tried to get it as close as possible to the lens. What we captured was actually pretty amazing. The paint looked so surreal from such a close angle, and the shallow depth really accented the dancing waves of the flow. It got even more psychedelic when we threw in a contrasting color. Super groovy.
After the success of the paint adventure, I wanted to do something a little more practical. So I decided to do a little logo reveal with a miniature underwater set. I got some sand, poured it in the tank, and waterproofed a little logo for a mock-up production company. After setting the scene, I just swept the lens on the c-stand to perform a track-along reveal. The lens was really easy to maneuver, and I never felt uneasy about it being underwater and it showed no signs of distress. So, for an waterproof lens, it’s a special piece of gear.
I set out to create a small desert scene with some leftover sand and lava rocks. Our product of choice was a small sugar skull that fit right into the landscape, and then we accented that with a few candles in the background. We had the camera on a dolly, so I created a lane for the lens to travel down. After some small set design work, we slid in the camera to capture the shot.
What I love about the work this lens did is the depth it created as it traveled down the track. It made the move so much more dynamic, and the wide 24mm angle made it seem much larger than it appeared in real life. To compare this shot to a macro lens, we recorded the same move with a 50mm lens at a wide aperture. As you can see, the 50mm condenses the set, while the probe lens extended it and kept the actual shape of the set pieces to true form.
Now one of the most practical reasons you would use this lens is to shoot food videos. Food always looks better on a macro scale, and what better way to capture that than with this lens. The lens really took in the details of this cake, and brought life into what could be a very boring shot. It somehow makes everything…life size. Like you could be walking right along the lens on top of this delicious chocolate cake.
It’s also great to get up close and personal with pour shots. It can capture the small little details that would otherwise get passed by and condensed by a zoom lens.
Now if you work with objects that have very small components, such as a computer, this lens is a godsend. When I built my editing PC a few months ago, I would’ve killed to get this close to the action with a lens. It’s the perfect way to showcase small sections of your product that you may need to show your audience that otherwise couldn’t be captured. For example, if you need to show off a specific port of your computer, this thing can capture every detail of it. I feel myself constantly admiring how dynamic this lens makes things feel. Even if you are panning just a few inches, it looks like it’s traversing a long way.
So, in conclusion, I really think that this lens is in a category of its own. It doesn’t feel like a macro lens, and it doesn’t feel like a wide lens, so you can’t really pin it down with any other type of glass.
Do I think it’s worth the $1,500 dollar price point? Well, like most things, it depends. I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to buy this lens if I was a typical videographer. It’s just not versatile enough in a normal environment to warrant such a large price point. But, If I was shooting macro sets and product shots in my daily work, then this lens would be a solid investment. It’ll bring a different feel than any other type of lens you might use, and it’ll make your shots way more interesting than they would be with normal glass.
So that’s my take on the Laowa 24mm probe lens. You’ll probably see this lens featured in some of our upcoming videos, since we do shoot a lot of products on this channel. Also, since it’s just so fun to use, we’ll probably find some more crazy uses for this guy in the future.
Interested in the tracks we used to make this video?
“Latin Peace” by Brightside Studio
“Lo Fi Abstract Hip Hop” by Trending Music
“Hot Hip” by Trending Music
“Waves of Infinity” by Ballian De Moulle
“December Surf” by Tom Deis
“Jester’s Dance” by Richard Heacock
“Rising from the Flames” by Simon Stevens
“Bailamos” by Harpo Marks
“Grooving Around You” by Ulas Pakkan
“Tempting” by Trending Music
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Read more: shutterstock.com