Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2:1 Ultra Macro APO Review

July 1, 2020 | Tim Coleman |

Sharpness at 100mm

For this test, the Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2:1 Ultra Macro APO lens was attached to a Nikon Z6 body, which was in turn mounted to a sturdy tripod. Exposure delay mode was activated. Tonal and colour variance across the crops are due to change in natural light during the session.

The full frame

The full frame at 100mm

While it's only got one focal length of 100mm, we were also interested to see if the focus distance (and therefore magnification) has an impact on sharpness. To do this, we've run the same test at a range of focus distances, from 3m and then at each of the magnifications marked on the barrel.

Overall, provided your manual focus is on the money, the Laowa 100mm f/2.8 lens is incredibly sharp from centre to edges, across all aperture settings. It's quite remarkable how consistent image sharpness is. If, like we have, you were to look closely at identical images taken at all of the apertures without knowing which was which, it would take some time to differentiate.

Really scrutinising, it looks like f/4 to f/8 are the sharpest aperture settings, but f/2.8, f/11 and f/16 aren't far behind and diffraction does not have a dramatically adverse impact on sharpness at f/22.

When sharpness is a main concern, we would have no hesitation stopping this lens down to f/16, which is a good for macro photography where you may desire a deeper depth of field.

Any softness that we did observe in a single image is down to the challenges from shooting macro images, such as keeping everything in focus. Truly, this is a tack-sharp lens.

Aperture Centre Crop Edge Crop
f/2.8 f4.jpg f4.jpg
f/4 f4.jpg f4.jpg
f/5.6 f5_6.jpg f5_6.jpg
f/8 f8.jpg f8.jpg
f/11 f11.jpg f11.jpg
f/16 f16.jpg f16.jpg
f/22 f22.jpg f22.jpg