Laowa 90mm f/2.8 2x Ultra-Macro APO - Review / Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

Sample Images

Click on an image to download the full-size variant.

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed160
Focal Length
Aperture:f/
Exposure1/200s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed160
Focal Length
Aperture:f/
Exposure1/60s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed160
Focal Length
Aperture:f/
Exposure1/250s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed160
Focal Length
Aperture:f/
Exposure1/200s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed160
Focal Length
Aperture:f/
Exposure1/800s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed160
Focal Length
Aperture:f/
Exposure1/1250s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed250
Focal Length
Aperture:f/
Exposure2.5s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed250
Focal Length
Aperture:f/
Exposure1/10s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed160
Focal Length
Aperture:f/
Exposure1/50s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed160
Focal Length
Aperture:f/
Exposure2.5s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed320
Focal Length
Aperture:f/
Exposure1/1000s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed320
Focal Length
Aperture:f/
Exposure1/640s

Competition

As mentioned in the introduction, the primary competitors are Canon's own RF 85mm f/2 STM IS macro and RF 100mm f/2.8 L USM IS macro. If you can't live without AF, the answer is simple - it has to be a Canon RF lens or an EF lens via adapter. The same goes for electronic coupling. However, keen macro photographers often prefer manual focusing anyway - and optically, these 3 lenses aren't worlds apart. The Laowa lens has an edge over the RF 85mm f/2 due to the lack of axial CAs. And unlike the Canon lenses, it offers an even higher max object magnification. However, if you want to explore macro photography while also being interested in shallow DoF photography, the RF 85mm f/2 STM IS macro may be the better choice because of its faster speed. The RF 100mm f/2.8 L USM IS macro features unique SA control on top of its macro capabilities - if you are into this - but its pricing is steep, very steep. It's also the biggest of the bunch.  Still, it's the best option overall if money doesn't matter.

Verdict

The Laowa 90mm f/2.8 2x Ultra-Macro APO is another attractive macro lens in their arsenal. As of the time of writing this article, it's their 9th (true) macro lens - a release frequency and variety that is putting original manufacturers to shame in this market segment. And like most of its in-house cousins, it is capable of delivering very good results ... with just a few caveats. Image sharpness is very decent at f/2.8 and superb at medium aperture settings. The native image distortions are absent. Lateral CAs are well controlled and axial CAs are negligible. The vignetting is only moderately high at f/2.8. The quality of the bokeh is a bit of a mixed bag. Out-of-focus highlights are nicely rendered but the general out-of-focus blur can be a little nervous in the image background. The lens is also quite prone to flare thus you should always use the supplied lens hood. The RSAs aren't ideal in extreme close-up scenarios.

It is a fully manual lens which may or may not be a showstopper for some users. There is no AF, the aperture has to be controlled on the lens and there's no EXIF data. On the positive side, the build quality is great thanks to a tightly assembled full-metal body and a super smooth focus ring. Like most Laowa lenses, the 90mm f/2.8 2x Ultra-Macro APO is also comparatively compact. There is no weather-sealing but the inner focusing system should help to protect it against the elements to some degree at least. A big selling point for macro enthusiasts is certainly the maximum object magnification of 2:1 - even Canon doesn't offer this.

And finally, let's not forget the pricing. At $499USD, the Laowa lens is very reasonably priced for such an extreme macro lens, especially when taking its apochromatic design into account. It's not a lens for everybody but it'll surely find its friends out there.

Optical Quality:    
★★★★★
Mechanical Quality:
★★★★★
Price/Performance:
★★★★★