Venus Optics Macro 90mm f28 2x Field Review
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Venus Optics Macro 90mm f/2.8 2x Field Review

In case you’re utilizing one of many newer mirrorless programs, like Nikon’s Z mount or Canon’s R mount, your native macro lens choices are in all probability comparatively restricted. Happily, there are a variety of third-party choices, together with the the Venus Optics 90mm f/2.8. This lens guarantees a 2x magnification ratio and exacting optical efficiency, with an apochromatic design. It’s out there in Z, RF, E, and L mounts. On this overview, I’ll check out the efficiency of this 90mm possibility and check each the macro and normal-distance efficiency.

Lens Specs

The Venus Optics 90mm f/2.8 covers a full-frame picture circle, and because it’s out there for thus many mounts, it may possibly match an enormous vary of mirrorless cameras. Plus, with the 2x magnification, it’s undoubtedly interesting for lots of these mirrorless cameras! There aren’t a variety of lenses on the market when you want such ultra-high magnification.

The lens itself is kind of compact, suiting the mirrorless-first design. By focusing on the shorter flange distances of mirrorless cameras, the 90mm f/2.8 is fairly small even in comparison with different Venus Optics macro lenses.


The lens weighs in at 619 grams with caps (1.36 lbs), and it’s a bit below 120mm in size (5 inches). In comparison with most different 100mm macro choices, it’s shorter, thinner, and lighter, regardless of having a steel building. It nonetheless manages to pack 13 lens parts into 10 teams, with 3 of them being ED glass.

Total, I’d undoubtedly take into account the lens compact, notably for a macro lens that may attain 2x magnification. As you’ll see later, the truth that this lens can nonetheless do full infinity focus means it’s not restricted to simply macro use, however as an alternative may function a succesful portrait prime or quick tele prime.

The lens has a giant “Laowa” label on the highest, so although it’s made by Venus Optics, it’s typically referred to as the “Laowa 90mm f/2.8 2x Macro” as properly.


Macro Photography with the Venus Optics 90mm f/2.8 2x Macro

Magnification Ratio

For macro pictures, probably the most necessary specs is the magnification ratio. A lens that may do 1:1 means the lens will reproduce one thing at life-size magnification on the sensor. In the meantime, this lens can do 2:1 magnification, which is dramatically higher. On a full-frame camera sensor, you may fill the photograph with one thing a mere 18 millimeters (0.70 inches) broad.

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For followers of maximum shut ups, it is a very welcome lens, as mirrorless mount competitors just like the Nikon Z 105mm and Canon RF 100mm can solely do 1:1 and 1.4:1 respectively. After all, you need to use instruments like extension tubes and macro filters to increase these magnifications, but it surely’s all the time good to have the capabilities constructed natively right into a lens.

The limitation, nonetheless, is that top magnification comes with a brief minimal focusing distance. The 90mm f/2.8 is definitely higher than a variety of macro lenses due to its small measurement, however you’ll nonetheless end up blocking the sunshine at 2x magnification. You find yourself with about 75mm (3 inches) of working distance from the entrance ingredient of the lens at closest focus.

Whereas that is nonetheless completely usable, it’s a issue for some topics like skittish bugs. Poking the lens proper as much as them received’t work, and so your precise closest focus could also be extra restricted. With topics like flowers and jewellery, nonetheless, you don’t have to fret about them flying away.

NIKON Z 7 + Venus Optics 90mm f/2.8 2x Macro @ ISO 720, 1/200 second

Handbook Focus

One other restrict to this lens’s usability comes from the truth that it’s manual-focus solely. My Z-mount copy additionally has a manually-operated aperture. Whereas neither of those could be an instantaneous dealbreaker for macro images, they will really feel limiting at instances, notably when utilizing this lens at non-macro distances.

Handbook focus itself is kind of simple, because of each the aids provided by mirrorless cameras and the beneficiant throw of the handbook focus ring. It’s about 180 levels of rotation to get via the macro to five foot vary, with 5 toes to infinity being lined in one other 45 levels. For the precision mandatory for macro topics, this spacing is nice. For medium vary topics, I’d want some extra apply earlier than I may persistently hit crucial focus at f/2.8, though for skilled handbook focus customers, it must be very doable.

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NIKON Z 7 + Venus Optics 90mm f/2.8 2x Macro @ ISO 220, 1/200,

The focusing ring is kind of comfy to grip, with a delicate striping. On my copy, it’s a bit gritty across the macro transition level (maybe gears switching), though that is solely noticeable in distinction to the smoother journey all through the remainder of the vary. Moreover, coming from the focus-by-wire Z lenses, it’s good to have the lens bodily maintain focus.


Total, the Venus Optics 90mm f/2.8 2x Macro may be very sharp. Optical efficiency is superb, and the excessive diploma of sharpness on the focal aircraft makes manually focusing simple. It’s fairly simple to hit deal with a static topic with out aids, whereas focus peaking makes it potential to catch deal with gradual transferring topics, with slightly apply.

Throughout the body, the lens actually is kind of sharp. The middle is superb, matching the very best macro lenses I’ve used. Corners are barely weaker, however are nonetheless very aggressive. For an extended macro lens, I feel that is completely acceptable habits. On one thing like a 50mm macro lens, which is extra typically used for artwork copy, nook sharpness is usually extra related.

I’ve beforehand examined the extraordinarily highly-regarded Venus Optics 100mm, and I’d say it is a very shut competitor by way of sharpness. The 2 lenses are so comparable that, at first look, you may surprise why Venus Optics makes each of them. In apply, the massive good thing about the 90mm f/2.8 2x Macro is its working distance. It’s virtually 1.5 inches shorter than the in any other case comparable 100mm f/2.8 2x Macro, which is a large assist if you have to get very near your topic.

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NIKON Z7 + Venus Optics 90mm f/2.8 2x Macro @ ISO 80, 1/200

Longitudinal Chromatic Aberration (Coloration Fringing)

As an apochromatic lens, the expectation isn’t simply that the 90mm f/2.8 2x may have good picture high quality, however picture high quality unaffected by chromatic aberrations. That holds true in apply. The lens doesn’t go away any fringing, even on high-contrast topics.

For macro images, it is a very fascinating high quality, as dots of water and specular highlights are frequent occurrences in out-of-focus foregrounds and backgrounds. A surprisingly excessive variety of macro lenses have shade fringing in these conditions, however the Venus Optics 90mm f/2.8 2x Macro doesn’t.

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NIKON Z7 + Venus Optics 90mm f/2.8 2x Macro @ ISO 64, 1/40, f/2.8

Aperture Vary and Bokeh

The lens retains its robust sharpness efficiency throughout the aperture vary. Whereas apertures past about f/8 will begin to present the standard diffraction, the lens delivers wonderful outcomes from f/2.8 to f/8. As a macro lens, you might be stopping down additional, and I discovered that the lens handles it in addition to any macro lens.

Because you’re setting focus on the capturing aperture, this will make issues a bit troublesome when you’re utilizing strobes or longer publicity instances. Making an attempt to see via an f/22 aperture might be difficult, even with a serious ISO enhance in your digital viewfinder. Then once more, that’s a part of why the lens is comparatively low-cost.

NIKON Z7 + Venus Optics 90mm f/2.8 2x Macro @ ISO 2800, 1/30, f/18

Vast open at f/2.8, the Venus Optics 90mm f/2.8 produces a really clean background with nice bokeh, notably when used at macro ranges. Regardless of being extremely optically corrected, the out-of-focus space remains to be nice – not all the time the case with lenses like this. Stopping down, the 90mm f/2.8 2x Macro nonetheless retains fairly good out-of-focus areas. The 13-blade aperture in all probability helps fairly a bit with this, as bokeh orbs retain a nice form.


Whereas I don’t discover many macro conditions that might result in flare, when you’re intending to make use of this lens as a brief tele, that could be extra of a consideration. With that in thoughts, that is actually the one space the place this lens doesn’t punch far above its worth level. As an alternative, I’d name it an OK performer.

You may get some veiling flare, some prismatic rainbows, or some small white orbs, relying on the place the solar is positioned. Nonetheless, flare is often not one thing that telephoto macro photographers will care about very a lot. It’s simply three when you search for it.

In comparison with Different Macro Lenses

At simply $499, the Venus Optics 90mm f/2.8 2x Macro a robust competitor to most first-party 105mm macro lenses, which are typically about double the value. It additionally holds up surprisingly properly side-by-side in sharpness.

Then once more, first-party lenses are inclined to have much more of what I’d name “high quality of life” options. Computerized aperture operations, autofocus, and tighter integration with the physique all add worth, however maybe not $500 of worth.

In case you’re seeking to get into macro images, have a tighter funds, and aren’t going to want autofocus, the Venus 90mm is a good way to save cash over first-party lenses. The 2x magnification and quick measurement additionally make it interesting even ignoring funds considerations.

NIKON Z 7 + NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S @ 58mm, ISO 320, 1/125, f/5.6

In opposition to the marginally older Venus 100mm, the 90mm is a small however good improve for mirrorless customers. By trimming the additional weight and bulk from the mount, it’s extra packable and has a much bigger working distance. The main focus ring, apart from the small hump, feels higher, and positively covers an extended throw vary. The fastened entrance ingredient with out there filter ring appears like a extra elegant answer than the required filter on the 100mm.

Total, for simply $500, the Venus 90mm f/2.8 2X APO is a wonderful worth, and it could be my advice for a variety of mirrorless photographers. I feel the manual-focus nature of Venus’s lenses is just not a problem for macro images, the place most photographers will use handbook focus anyway. In the meantime, the lens’s wonderful optical efficiency lets it compete with lenses that value twice as a lot.

The Venus 90mm f/2.8 2X APO is available now from our affiliate B&H Photo.

Venus Optics 90mm f/2.8 2x Macro
  • Optical Efficiency
  • Options
  • Worth

Photography Life Total Score

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