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Venus Optical Macro Lens

Richard Crowe

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Sep 14, 2018
Messages
860
Venus Optical produced this 60mm f/2.8 lens and marketed it under several names, including Laowa. I bought it used and was told that it was a Laowa but, there is no indication of that on the lens. It does indicate, however, that the lens can focus down to a 2:1 ratio which it does without the need for an adapter. It is a well made-all metal but, rather heavy lens with a Sony e-Mount...

Macro Lens_3028.jpg
ILCE-6600    E 28-75mm F2.8-2.8    28mm    f/9.0    1/25s    ISO 125

The front element retracts back and forth inside the lens barrel and extends the length or the barrel when focused at close-up or macro distances. The lens was marketed as being for APSC format cameras but, it doesn't vignette on a full frame camera when focused at close/macro distances.
Macro Lens_3029.jpg
ILCE-6600    E 28-75mm F2.8-2.8    28mm    f/9.0    1/25s    ISO 160

These images of fishing flies were shot with the Venus lens on my A7iii camera.

Flies_3059.jpg
ILCE-7M3    ----       f/1.0    1/3s    ISO 100

Flies Macro_3047.jpg
ILCE-7M3    ----       f/1.0    1/4s    ISO 100

flies macro_3068.jpg
ILCE-7M3    ----       f/1.0    1/3s    ISO 100

While it is relatively easy to focus this lens on a Sony mirrorless camera because of focus peaking, a 2:1 ratio results in a DOF so narrow that it is hard to work with. I think that focus stacking might help...
flies macro_3071.jpg
ILCE-7M3    ----       f/1.0    2s    ISO 100

I haven't used this lens very often because of the excellent close focusing capabilities of m Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 lens which I use for all my eBay product shots. However, it is nice to have this lens and I only paid about a hundred bucks for it.
 
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Richard Crowe

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Not exactly a tripod... This is on my desk next to my computer and keyboard. It is really quite convenient for high volume work like for eBay postings. This is an old tripod head I have had for years and have not used since I switched to Arca Compatible tripod accessories. I also use an old Minolta macro rail that is probably also about 20-years old. I fastened the tripod head to a wooden base that sits on four rubber feet. The books are to elevate the subject...
macro setup_3076.jpg
ILCE-6600    SAMYANG AF 14mm F2.8    14mm    f/9.0    1/25s    ISO 400

For slightly larger items when I use my Tamron lens, I hand held...
018 PENN SQUALL 25N REEL_2669.jpg
ILCE-6600    E 28-75mm F2.8-2.8    47mm    f/8.0    1/80s    ISO 640
 
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Richard Crowe

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ILCE-7M3    ----       f/1.0    1.3s    ISO 100

ILCE-7M3    ----       f/1.0    4s    ISO 100
 

Petrochemist

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Oct 19, 2018
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North Essex UK
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Mike
Hi Richard, it looks quite a useful little lens.
You mention it's an APSC lens, can you post an uncropped FF shot focused near infinity that shows the extent of vignetting?
If the vignetting is not too noticeable this lens could jump to the top of my next lens listing. The added macro range is already a big sell, but it sounds like it could be useful for more than just macro :)
 

Thad E Ginathom

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Mar 31, 2019
Messages
276
Location
India
I wonder why...

The focus scale is in those numbers that are so typically China Roman, while the aperture scale is in an ordinary san serif?

...I just wondered.

The photos are very nice. The close-up set up is very good too.
 

Richard Crowe

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860
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Hi Richard, it looks quite a useful little lens.
You mention it's an APSC lens, can you post an uncropped FF shot focused near infinity that shows the extent of vignetting?
If the vignetting is not too noticeable this lens could jump to the top of my next lens listing. The added macro range is already a big sell, but it sounds like it could be useful for more than just macro :)
IMO - while this lens is pretty nice for close-up or macro work, it is pretty well useless for any type of distance shooting! First off, it is pretty darn hard to focus at any distances beyond close-up or macro photography. The distance of focusing ring turn between focusing at infinity and at one meter is so small that focusing beyond one meter is virtually impossible (see distance between one meter and infinity in the first image of this thread)! While at the closer distances - focusing between .185 meters and .20 meters is a full quarter turn of the focusing ring!
Second, the vignetting caused by the front element retracting back into the lens barrel causes extreme vignetting at anything over close-up or macro distances. Here is an uncropped image at about ten feet distance using my FF A7iii...
Venus at iten feet_3115.jpg
ILCE-7M3    ----       f/1.0    1/30s    ISO 6400

It is, however, nicer shooting this lens for macro work on a full frame camera than on a crop body because I get a wider field of view at any subject to image ratio.
Actually, if I had paid more money for this lens, expecting the versatility of a macro lens which is totally usable all the way out to infinity, I would have been quite disappointed. Except that it has a long focus throw for close-up shots (the focus turn between .185 and 1 meter is almost 1/3 of the entire focus range) this lens kind of reminds me of shooting with a normal lens plus built-in extension tubes.
You get what you pay for and for the price I paid for this lens, which was around the cost of a good set of extension tubes, I am quite happy with it. I bought the lens to photograph many of the fishing flies that I have tied for sale on eBay. Since I no longer fish because of age and health problems, I have several thousand fishing flies that I have tied over the years that I wanted to illustrate for selling. This lens and the setup I have on my desk is just about perfect for photographing my collection of fishing flies - some of which are as small as a quarter inch long.
 
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Richard Crowe

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Joined
Sep 14, 2018
Messages
860
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  • #8
I wonder why...

The focus scale is in those numbers that are so typically China Roman, while the aperture scale is in an ordinary san serif?

...I just wondered.

The photos are very nice. The close-up set up is very good too.
I am wondering if this lens might have been a pre-release copy. Not having any maker identification anywhere on the lens is quite puzzling. I have never seen a lens without maker identification somewhere.
 
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