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Venus Optics LAOWA 15mm f/4 1:1 Wide Angle Macro
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2015 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

iangreenhalgh1 wrote:
It looks okay, quite nice distortion correction, but the edges are not very sharp and there is quite a lot of CA in the outer parts too.

I see it quite the other way around. The virtually incorrectable distortion makes this lens not well suited for architecture. The CAs are minimal compared to many other lenses and they are easy to correct.
The edges are not very sharp - that is true, I have to correct my first assessment. But I have seen much worse performer in this class.


PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A review of the lens here with some sample pics - http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/venus-laowa-15mm-f4-wide-angle-macro-impressions-and-samples


PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 5:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't really see it being used what it was designed for: wide angle macro.
I was intrigued to buy it, but now I have doubts, at EUR610 here ... Wink


PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a small review with some example shots and you can also see how the pics are made.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZcYXUMkhek


Last edited by dbuergi on Tue Mar 15, 2016 2:45 pm; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dbuergi wrote:
Here is a small review with some smaple shots and you can also see how the pics are made.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZcYXUMkhek


Excellent what that guy has made! Thanks for sharing!!


PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dbuergi wrote:
Here is a small review with some smaple shots and you can also see how the pics are made.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZcYXUMkhek


Much better example shots there!


PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2020 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just got the Opteka branded knockoff of this lens -



For $177au delivered from NY, from circuitcity. It's ... not bad? Some from a couple days messing with it on the E-M1ii -

meadow argus butterfly on gomphrena by PIG, on Flickr

crow butterfly on gomphrena by PIG, on Flickr

crow butterfly on gomphrena by PIG, on Flickr

common eggfly female on zinnia by PIG, on Flickr

honeybee drinking from cosmos by PIG, on Flickr

blue butterfly on cosmos by PIG, on Flickr

ed - I have an album of whatever shots work subsequently here -

https://flic.kr/s/aHsmMPxLnX

It's a very different kind of macrophotography than I'm used to! I've gone steadily from 60mm, to 90mm, to 135mm, to mainly using an adapted 180mm macro on 2x crop. Going to 1/4 of my shortest one is a bit of a trip. Literally anything you want to shoot at 1:1 will be self-shadowing or touching the front element of the lens, if it protrudes at all. I'm not sure if it's my adapter, some QC issue with this cheap knockoff version (which I should mention, also lacks the shift function), the inherent difficulty of using a 15mm macro in natural light, or possibly some play in my adapter, but wow the keeper rate from this thing is low. But, you can't help but appreciate that it gets you shots you would not get any other way, when it works.

At least with my copy: this is absolutely something you want to use for macro work only, it's not great at F4, but is surprisingly not terrible even in quite deep diffraction territory around F11+. And you'll only REALLY get good use out of it if you're hilariously, ridiculously close to the subject, if you're cropping from 1:4 or above at all, you will get a shot you coulda got with a longer lens with much less hassle.


Last edited by piggsy on Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:53 am; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2020 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, Pigssy.

Fantastic shots ! Smile

Did you crop them ?
Else, were you so close to the subjects ???
I can't imagine me so close as that in the flowers.
First of all, my wife would be quite angry if in her garden, secondly I think butterflies and bees won't let me approach like that. Wink

Have a good day.
Olivier


PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Olivier wrote:
Wow, Pigssy.

Fantastic shots ! Smile

Did you crop them ?
Else, were you so close to the subjects ???
I can't imagine me so close as that in the flowers.
First of all, my wife would be quite angry if in her garden, secondly I think butterflies and bees won't let me approach like that. Wink

Have a good day.
Olivier


Thanks!

Only the common blue butterfly one is a crop, the rest are full res. On 2x crop it's probably easier and you don't notice whatever edge issues the lens might have. But still - the working distance for 1:1 is almost impossible to reach without something actually hitting the lens, the shot of the bee had the flower petals being pushed apart by the front element! It's hard to explain without using it - with a longer macro lens, you're usually thinking, how can I get as close as possible and what can I pano/stack later to make whatever is wrong with this shot go away in post. With this lens, that's not happening - it's very hard to stack with because any movement in any direction completely alters the geometry of the shot in a way that's hard to compensate for. And if you're not centre frame, as close as possible, with a pre-composed shot, your shot is just garbage. Cropping these will give you just a poor quality image that you would never pick to keep with a longer lens. It's kind of like doing a landscape composition, but with a macro subject.

On the E-M1ii, I haven't used it with my flash rig yet - but I figured from using the Tamron 180mm F3.5 on it a lot, you could probably get away with a lot just by working with natural light, and zooming in/keeping the focus racked on the way in as good as you can. 60fps mode and a fast memory card helps a really great deal with this, if you're going to try and do it. It -sort of- works with this lens - you're really not doing anything until you're very close already, at which point, you suddenly notice intrusive objects or weird geometry/scenery that prevents you framing it the way you'd quite like.


PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

piggsy wrote:
Just got the Opteka branded knockoff of this lens -
. . . . .


Fabulous pictures, piggsy! You explained it, but I'm still amazed. Surprised

I owned an Opteka version for a short time, but I never got any shots nearly as good as yours.

For the price paid, I didn't expect a top quality lens. But my copy was returned because it was badly decentered. That didn't affect close up shots very much, but I wanted to use the lens for more than macro. And the landscape image quality was just unacceptable.


PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2020 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

55 wrote:
piggsy wrote:
Just got the Opteka branded knockoff of this lens -
. . . . .


Fabulous pictures, piggsy! You explained it, but I'm still amazed. Surprised

I owned an Opteka version for a short time, but I never got any shots nearly as good as yours.

For the price paid, I didn't expect a top quality lens. But my copy was returned because it was badly decentered. That didn't affect close up shots very much, but I wanted to use the lens for more than macro. And the landscape image quality was just unacceptable.


Quite possibly mine has the same issues - any attempt to use it as a general purpose 15mm/4 prime has been pretty grim, and even at macro distances, there seem to be certain cursed focus ranges/aperture combinations that result in completely un-sharp images where simultaneously it looks both back and near focused. The transition to blurred focus wide open is very ugly also - you will never confuse it for working with say, the Tokina/Vivitar 90 2.5 in this regard, and my Tamron 180mm/3.5 Vivitat 135/2.9 and Olympus 60/2.8 macros absolutely destroy it for sharpness wide open to a point where it's not even funny.

But, when it works, it works. CA and distortion wise, it's not at all bad. It really makes you think about what you're going to do with your shots in a way other lenses don't. For under 200 bucks, I'm prepared to forgive it for being a bit rough and keep it as a specialised macro lens, and I'm glad this was $177 to find out about rather than $700+ for the "real" version.

The only thing I'd class as a real, proper annoyance with it - it's not internally focusing. For a lens with <5mm minimum focus distance, having a big old rim around the end that also moves in and out about a centimetre is much more of a pain than it might seem. It's a lens where you're already right up against it trying to predict your shot, -and- you need to be extremely close to get something good at all, having the lens physically move in and out is an extremely unwelcome complication.