Totally tubular: Laowa launches Kickstarter for full-frame 24mm f/14 2:1 macro probe lens


posted Wednesday, August 1, 2018 at 3:00 PM EDT


Laowa has launched a Kickstarter campaign -- which has already been funded on its first day -- for what they call the "weirdest but most genius lens ever for creative shooting." I'm certainly on board with the former term, it's definitely weird. The new lens is a 24mm f/14 Probe macro lens. You read that correctly, it's an f/14 lens. That is odd in and of itself, but what makes the lens even more unusual is that it's a 2:1 macro lens and it is essentially just a long tube.

The lens is being marketed primarily as a video lens, but it is more than that, it's a full-frame lens very much capable of shooting macro still images. The lens offers a waterproof front barrel, an LED ring lite at the end and a lightweight design. To deliver a 2:1 macro image, the lens close focuses to a mere 0.79 inches (2 centimeters). In its strange, tube-like design, the lens has 27 lens elements across 19 groups. There is one High Index Glass element, two ED glass elements and a pair of prisms.

Looking closer at the design of the lens, it is 15.7 inches long (40 centimeters). Much of its length is very thin, which keeps the weight down to just over a pound (474 grams). The lens is a manual focus lens, like other Laowa lenses, and will be available in Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony FE and Arri PL mounts.

As mentioned, the Kickstarter project has already been funded, easily surpassing its $9,999 USD goal. If you'd like to get your hands on the lens at a discounted price, you can back the project for $1,199, although only a limited number of lenses at this price are available. The eventual retail price is expected to be just under $1,500.