Described as “weird but genius,” the ARRI PL-mount Laowa 24mm f/14 Probe Lens from Venus Optics is a truly unique lens designed for close-up shooting. Distinguished by its long and slender lens barrel, this macro lens provides a 2:1 maximum magnification with a 1.5′ minimum focusing distance and a close 0.8″ minimum working distance. Even with such a close working distance, the lens measures 1.3′ long, placing you at a comfortable distance to photograph nearby subjects. Also, as a wide-angle lens, greater depth of field is afforded when compared to traditional telephoto macro lenses, allowing for greater detail in the background with less subject isolation.
The optical design includes both extra-low dispersion and extra-refractive index elements, which help to suppress chromatic and spherical aberrations for a high degree of clarity, color accuracy, and sharpness. Manual focus control permits focusing from 1.5′ to infinity, and the front of the lens has a built-in LED ring light to aid in focusing at close distances. The slim 0.2″ diameter of the front of the lens barrel also offers greater opportunities for lighting subjects from the front. Additionally, the front portion of the lens is waterproof and permits working with subjects just beneath the surface of the water or in dusty or trying environments.
This “cine-mod” version of the lens has been optimized for video use and features integrated gears on both the aperture and focus rings for doing iris and focus pulls using a follow focus.