Optical Limits wakes up from its slumber and reviews the Laowa 85mm f/5.6 2x Ultra Ultra Frame APO

– the creature –

Well, two things are clear to me.

  1. That at Optical Limits they are very attentive to what Fotochismes has to say. I can’t find any other explanation why only one day after my brief note here: Ftc 11-12-2021 and after more than 2 months of inactivity they published two galleries of two new lenses.
  2. That Optical Limits is very attentive to the contents of Fotochismes. I can’t find any other explanation for the fact that only two days after the previous day, that is to say today, this prestigious WEB publishes its first analysis after these two and a half months of undeserved holidays.

I have just awarded myself the medal of «top influencer» and my self-esteem has gone up by at least 0.0000000000000001 points.

Having said all of the above, which of course had to be said, I will now give you summary of the conclusion.


The Laowa 85mm f/5.6 2x Ultra Marco APO is a good lens. It delivers a predictable performance across its aperture range. At medium aperture settings, it’s pretty sharp without being truly outstanding. Diffraction takes its usual toll at small apertures and it’s advisable to avoid f/22 at least. That’s also a good idea because of CAs. They are very low up to f/11 but increase beyond – albeit not to a worrisome degree. Image distortions are basically absent as they should be with a macro lens. The quality of the bokeh is a bit of a mixed back. Out-of-focus highlights aren’t ideal whereas the out-of-focus transition zone is rendered nicely.
The build quality is perfectly fine with the usual caveats of an all-manual lens. The lens body is made of metal including the lens hood and we especially like the inner focusing system. On the downside, there’s still no electronic coupling thus you’d have to live without AF, EXIF data, and no camera-controlled. This is not a drama for a macro lens but it’s hindering Laowa from entering the mainstream market.
The question of the day is probably where to find the niche for this kind of lens. Its primary value proposition is the minimal size and low weight. Some may also appreciate the ability to focus down to a maximum magnification of 2:1. If these are your priorities, you may accept the lack of speed and the all-manual nature. At almost $500USD, we wouldn’t call it a steal though.
  • Optical quality: 7 out of 10 (somewhat fair for a fixed lens)
  • Mechanical quality: 8 out of 10 (good)
  • Price/performance: 7 out of 10 (a bit expensive)

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth on this untranslatable site:

Silly note:

No os asustéis, esto no es más que un experimento metasociológico. Gracias al traductor DeepL esta es una versión íntegramente en bárbaro del artículo anterior.

¿Vosotros creéis que si yo publicara exactamente igual como lo hago normalmente pero en inglés la audiencia subiría, el botón donar se pondría al rojo vivo, y por fin podría prescindir de mi pensión para comprarme un coche nuevo a gusto de La Colau y transfugarme de una vez a “mirrorless”?

¿Que versión os gusta más?, ¿os gustaría que escribiera en brexit para hacerme más internacional?


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