Laowa 90mm f/2.8 2x Ultra-Macro APO - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published June 2022

Introduction

Competition is always a good thing and preventing it is not overly consumer-friendly. Canon still created a closed system with the introduction of the RF mount - making it difficult for 3rd party manufacturers to supply alternatives. Non-Canon lenses with electronic coupling are non-existent after Samyang had to withdraw their initial offerings. Thus if you'd like to shop for a more affordable option, you either have to go for an EF adapter solution or a fully manual lens. One of the more interesting offerings in the latter category is the new Laowa 90mm f/2.8 2x Ultra-Macro APO. For those who don't know yet - Laowa is a Chinese manufacturer. They have released a number of interesting products in recent years and this new lens has at least two aspects that stand out - also compared to Canon's own macro lenses. As the name implies it offers a max magnification of 2:1 (instead of 1.4:1 or 1:2 over at Canon) and it promises an apochromatic correction of axial CAs (LoCA/Bokeh Fringing). The lack of electronics has also a positive side effect - the lens is reasonably priced at $499USD and available for all relevant full-format mounts.

Typical for most Laowa lenses - and in fact most Chinese lenses - the build quality is on a high level thanks to a tightly assembled all-metal construction. The aperture is controlled in full f-stops clicks up to f/22.  The lens doesn't offer any weather sealing but thanks to internal focusing the physical length remains constant throughout the focus range. The mechanically-coupled focus ring operates smoothly.  The Laowa 90mm f/2.8 2x Ultra-Macro APO has been exclusively designed for mirrorless cameras so it's quite compact. In fact, it's shorter than the Canon RF 100mm f/2.8 L USM macro. A barrel-shaped hood is part of the package.

As already mentioned, it's a fully manual lens thus you will have to live without EXIF data, autofocus and a camera-controlled. Typically, you set the camera into aperture priority mode so the camera will control the speed according to the aperture set on the lens.

Specifications
Optical construction13 elements in 10 groups inc. 3x ELD elements
Number of aperture blades13 (rounded)
min. focus distance0.2m (2:1 max magnification)
Dimensions74x120mm
Weight619g
Filter size67mm
Hoodbarrel-shaped (bayonet mount, supplied)
Available MountsCanon RF, L-mount, Nikon Z, Sony FE