It’s tough for a guy to get Laowa’d these days …

My current setup for macro photography – a series of extension tubes and an old HELIOS-81 piece of Commie glass – is okay, I guess.  I was able to create the macro photos After the Rain and Mittsu No Yuki with them, but SIX extension tubes and a 50mm f/2 prime lens makes a person’s camera extremely top-heavy.  It’s like a sword without a counter-balancing pommel.  Geez, I watch way too much Forged in Fire to actually know that.

So when I received this Christmas gift from a kind person, I decided to give it a try.  It’s a Chinese lens – a Laowa 25mm f/2.8 ultra-macro that can, in theory, expand objects to five times their size.  You hear that, snowflakes and flower petals and seashells and insects?  I’m going to get up close and personal with ALL OF YOU.

This lens will require some tripods (both for the camera and for the subject matter), and although I can’t truly focus stack on this project, I can still get some sharp details if I try hard enough.

Time to experiment.

Last Sunday, I took some of my old bottle caps and spread them out on a table.

So let’s see how close I can truly get to the printing on these bottle caps, shall we?

First off, let’s try this Saratoga Lincoln bottled water cap.  This is old.  Hella old.  I think it’s also some sort of glazed ceramic, but that would be just a guess.

Here’s the cap, as taken with my cell phone.

Okay, now let’s put this cap under the Laowa lens.

Holy Raquel Welch in a tiny spaceship, Batman …

I checked the specs on this.  If I so chose, I could print this image as a 16×20 print without losing any detail.  Granted, I have to hit the focus just right to pull this off … but still …

The group shot of caps at the top of this blog post shows a few re-sealers, bottle caps that can be used to re-seal a bottle so as to not lose the fizz. You can see a metal one with the engraved “SV” for “Saratoga Vichy” on it.  Howzabout we give that a macro touch?

Now I have to be careful with this lens – the focal plane on this thing is thinner than a thought.  It’s sharp where the point of the “V” meets the “S”, but not at the upper part of the “SV” mark.

One more.  How close can I get in photographing the word “GEYSER” in that Saratoga Geyser bottle cap?

That E’s so big, anyone with eye surgery could read it.

All right, one more test.  I went through my collection of Albany-based Civil War storecards (yes, I collect strange and odd things, so do you).  Here’s one of my mis-struck Benjamin & Herrick Fruit Dealers tokens.  For reference, it’s about the size of a penny.

All right, now let’s put it under the Laowa macro lens and see what we get.

Wow.  Just wow.

Now if it can do this on coins and bottle caps … what would it do with snowflakes … with flower petals … with caterpillars and ants …

Ooh, this could be lots of fun.

One of the drawbacks in this lens is that although it can focus from 2x to 5x in size, it can’t focus within that specific setting – it can only make the picture bigger or smaller.  So I may not be completely divorced from my “elephant leg” extension tubes and Helios-81 lens just yet.

But yeah, I’m definitely interested in seeing what this Laowa macro lens can do.

And … isn’t there a snowstorm coming this week?

By George … I think there is.  😀