Keith over at Northlight Images has completed his exhaustive review of the strange Laowa 24mm f/14 relay macro lens. While a relay lens isn't a new concept, Laowa's relatively inexpensive version is.

The number of people that need a lens like this is likely quite small, but the really creative photography types may come up with some really cool uses for the lens.

From Northlight:

Quite the most unusual lens I’ve tried out. Relay lenses have been around for a while but at typically 10 times the cost of the Laowa. The lens is a challenge to use – not technically (it’s excellent), but in expanding your creative vision to see what it could let you achieve.

It’s solidly built with very smooth focus and aperture controls. The focus throw (~160º) is enough to make manual focus stacking very easy. Read the full review

Laowa 24mm f/14 Relay Macro at Adorama

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  1. It looks like you'd want to cover the led's on one side to create some directional light, or better use a key light and the lens light only for fill.
    This lens look neat for getting unusual perspectives. I'd like to see shots say from street level in a diorama.
  2. It looks like you'd want to cover the led's on one side to create some directional light, or better use a key light and the lens light only for fill.
    This lens look neat for getting unusual perspectives. I'd like to see shots say from street level in a diorama.

    You can't easily block any of the LEDs I'm afraid - look at the detail of the layout and the end glass.

    Also what do you actually mean by "street level in a diorama" ? - it's just that I've still got the lens for a short while before it goes back to China
  3. You can't easily block any of the LEDs I'm afraid - look at the detail of the layout and the end glass.

    Also what do you actually mean by "street level in a diorama" ? - it's just that I've still got the lens for a short while before it goes back to China

    I would guess that in a diorama like this you could poke the lens between the green truck and cinema entrance to get a shot of the explosion without having to disassemble it to fit your camera + lens.
  4. The lens lists "waterproof" but from the water tank picture at the show, I assume it is "watertight" as well. Any idea if it would survive saltwater? This could become the ultimate reef aquarium lens if it is safe to use in saltwater. Does anyone know what kind of metal(s) the waterproof part of the lens is constructed from?
  5. The lens lists "waterproof" but from the water tank picture at the show, I assume it is "watertight" as well. Any idea if it would survive saltwater? This could become the ultimate reef aquarium lens if it is safe to use in saltwater. Does anyone know what kind of metal(s) the waterproof part of the lens is constructed from?
    It's an aluminium alloy I believe - with a hard coating. If you look at early prototypes of the lens, you can see that it's actually thinner - the exterior tube/light was initially planned as an accessory. The optical formula was tweaked slightly to include the current glass window, when the external tube became a feature of the lens.

    When I took the photos for the review at the metal plating company, the owner gave the end of the lens a good look over before I poked it into bits of the plating line, where there are some nasty chemicals.

    That said we did wipe it down if there were any splashes on it ;-)

    This is a strip of plated pins (for electronic connectors) emerging from one of the sections of the plating line.

    gold-pins.jpg
  6. You can't easily block any of the LEDs I'm afraid - look at the detail of the layout and the end glass.

    Also what do you actually mean by "street level in a diorama" ? - it's just that I've still got the lens for a short while before it goes back to China
    I'd think you could use a bit of black gaffers tape over the bottom couple of LEDs, possibly after wrapping a bit around so it's only sticky on the sides not directly on the front element.

    The lego is the general idea I was thinking of, but scale models was what I was thinking of. Like this:

  7. I'd think you could use a bit of black gaffers tape over the bottom couple of LEDs, possibly after wrapping a bit around so it's only sticky on the sides not directly on the front element.

    The lego is the general idea I was thinking of, but scale models was what I was thinking of. Like this:

    Unfortunately, the window is far enough forward and the lens has a wide enough FOV that you'd see the tape - you'd also get light reflected back from the underside

    It's why this didn't really work (from the review - a larger mirror would be better)

    prism.jpg
  8. Darn, that's unfortunate.
    You'll need at least a second light source then and treat the on lens light like you would fill from a ring light. That might actually work nicely for a diorama. Consider the on lens light as sky fill, then use the key as the sun. With a 1/4 CTO on the key I bet you could blend them for a nicely convincing look. It'd be worth exploring the concept anyway.

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