Laowa 24mm T8 2X Pro2be 3 Lens Set Review

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Laowa has a strong reputation and long history of making unusual and unique lenses. The new 24mm T8 2X Pro2be follows in those footsteps and is an evolution of the FF 24mm T14 2X Macro Periprobe that I reviewed on the site last year and the original 24mm f/14 2x Macro Probe that was released in 2018.

The Laowa 24mm T8 2X Pro2be 3 lens set combines versatility and innovation.

It comes with 3 distinct lenses including the unique 35-degree view, which allows you to capture a wide range of shots, from extreme close-ups to top and high-angle shots.

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The long, tubular, and adjustable lens barrels allow you to get shots in unique and previously unreachable spots.

The Pro2be offers 2X magnification, a maximum T8 aperture, and a waterproof distance of 36.6cm.

You have probably wondered on occasion how wildlife documentary shooters are able to get such incredibly close macro shots of small insects. Well, one of the ways to do it is through the use of a periscope or probe lens. Lenses such as the Innovision Probe 2+ and the T-Rex SuperScope were just two of the options available, but being specialty lenses they are expensive to buy or rent. Affordable options were far and few between, but Laowa originally changed all of that when they released the 24mm f/14 2x Macro Probe lens, the world’s first consumer-grade probe lens. As I previously mentioned, the follow-up to that lens, the FF 24mm T14 2X Macro Periprobe was the next evolution of that concept, and now Laowa has gone a step further with the 24mm T8 2X Pro2be.

Above you can see some shots I got with the original 24mm f/14 2x Macro Probe lens.

Key features

  • 3 Perspectives – 0°, 35° and 90° View Lenses
  • Maximum T8 Aperture
  • Improved Image Quality
  • Long, Tubular and Adjustable Lens Barrels
  • 36.6cm Waterproof Distance
  • 2X Magnification
  • Professional Cine Housing

Three Different Modules

The great aspect about the Laowa 24mm T8 2X Pro2be is that it comes with three different modules that give you a lot of versatility in how you can use the optics.


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The 0° Direct View Module is essentially an upgraded version of the 24mm f/14 2x Macro Probe that has been used on the last two versions.


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The 35° View Module, as its name suggests, provides a 35-degree view so you can capture high-angle and low-angle shots without tilting the camera.


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The 90° View Module is probably the most unique out of the three modules. It provides a periscope view parallel to the camera, which allows you to obtain some very unique and interesting shots. This is the first time, at least to my knowledge, that there has been a consumer-grade probe lens with this capability.

Full Frame Coverage

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The Laowa 24mm T8 2X Pro2be lenses can cover both standard 35mm full frame and Super 35 image sensors. This makes them suitable for use on just about any camera. The lenses are available in Canon EF, Canon R, Nikon F, Nikon Z, Sony E, and Leica L mounts. There is also a cine version with a click-less aperture and focus gears in ARRI PL mount.

Build Quality

The build quality of the Laowa 24mm T8 2X Pro2be lenses is very good. Like their predecessors, they utilize an all-metal construction and they certainly feel solid in the hand.

The focus and aperture rings have a nice amount of resistance. On the previous 24mm T14 Full Frame 2x PeriProbe I found that the aperture ring was a little too loose for my own personal tastes. as it was quite easy to knock it accidentally because it didn’t have a lot of resistance. I am glad Laowa has addressed that with the Pro2be.

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The focus markings on the lenses I was testing were only in meters.

I like that Laowa includes lens caps for both tubes and protective coverings for the lenses. However, I did find that the PL rear caps were a bit too loose for my liking and they kept coming off.

The focus throw for all three lenses is 150° and the aperture throw is 50°.


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The Laowa 24mm T8 2X Pro2be lenses are available in the following mounts:

  • Canon EF
  • Canon RF
  • Nikon F
  • Nikon Z
  • Sony E
  • L mount

The mount is not interchangeable, however, Laowa does sell a range of PL to other mount adapters. Because this is a manual focus lens and it has no camera communication, at least in my opinion, it makes more sense to buy these lenses in PL mount and use adapters as this allows you to use the lenses on a wide array of cameras.

Size & Weight

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The 24mm T8 2X Pro2be lenses all have slightly different weights but essentially they are all very similar. Here is what they weigh:

  • 24mm T8 2X Pro2be 0° DIRECT VIEW MODULE 1038g / 2.28 lb
  • 24mm T8 2X Pro2be 35° VIEW MODULE 1024g / 2.25 lb
  • 24mm T8 2X Pro2be 90° VIEW MODULE 1068g / 2.35 lb

While 2.35 lb isn’t that heavy, you do have to take into account that these are very long lenses so on a smaller-sized camera the weight balance can be tricky.

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Above you can see just long the lenses are on an ARRI ALEXA 35.

The PL mount versions I was testing measured in at:

  • 24mm T8 2X Pro2be 0° DIRECT VIEW MODULE 30.4 x 507mm / 1.19 x 19.96″
  • 24mm T8 2X Pro2be 35° VIEW MODULE 30.4 x 500mm / 1.19 x 19.68″
  • 24mm T8 2X Pro2be 90° VIEW MODULE 30.4 x 500mm / 1.19 x 19.68″

Having a length of 50-50.7cm / 19.68-19.96″ from the camera mount to the tip makes them way longer than a Canon RF 800mm F/5.6L IS USM which is 43.2cm / 17″ long.

The 24mm T8 2X Pro2be 3 Lens Set lens does come in its own metal case. This is nicely made, but it is reasonably large. If you don’t want to use the included case, you could just simply put the lenses into another bag if you wanted to save space, however, you will need to be mindful of their length.

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The long protruding barrel could potentially be a problem if you are using the lens in certain locations where it may well get mistaken for the barrel of a gun. This may be unlikely to happen but it is something you need to keep in the back of your mind.

Optical Design

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For the optical design, Laowa has divided the lenses into 3 functional groups. These functional groups are: Macro lens + Relay Lens + Objective lens. That’s also one of the reasons why these lenses are a bit more expensive than a normal lens as they are basically three lenses merged into one.

Macro Lens – At the front of the lens to capture the image (2:1 macro)

Objective Lens – Near the camera sensor to expand the image to fit on the full frame sensor

Relay Lens – To relay the image from the macro lens to the objective lens along the long barrel without image quality loss

Now, the Pro2be lenses are not just using the same optics that are in the 24mm T14 Full Frame 2x PeriProbe. That lens design consisted of 28 Elements in 19 Groups and had 7 aperture blades.

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Below is the optical construction of the new Pro2be lenses:

0° DIRECT VIEW MODULE- 33 elements in 24 groups

35° VIEW MODULE- 33 elements in 24 groups

90° VIEW MODULE- 34 elements in 25 groups

All three modules feature 10 aperture blades

2:1 Magnification to Infinity Focus

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The lenses have a focusing range from 2:1 macro magnification to infinity focus. With a 2:1 maximum magnification, you can shoot really small bugs/objects and reveal details that cannot be seen by the naked eye. The wide focusing range (from Macro to infinity) is useful for capturing both the finer details as well as the background all in one shot. This really does make it quite a unique lens, as you can actually use it as a normal 24mm wide-angle lens if you wanted to. I probably wouldn’t, but you could.

The min. working distance is 4mm for all three lenses.

Deep Depth-of-Field

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The challenge when using macro lenses has always been trying to follow tiny objects that you can barely see and keep in focus. This is very difficult to do when the error for getting sharp focus can be as little as a fraction of a millimeter. To overcome this, Laowa utilizes a wide-angle design so the Pro2be can achieve a much greater depth of field at a close distance (compared to a telephoto macro lens). Being able to focus so closely while still having a deep depth of field is a huge advantage for both studio and wildlife shooting. Too often with extreme macro shots, all you can see is your subject and not the background.

This deep depth of field makes it way easier to capture macro images that are actually reasonably sharp and in focus.

Faster Aperture

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The previous Laowa Probe Lenses had a maximum aperture of T14 which did make using them a bit of a challenge unless you had a lot of light. With the Pro2be that has been reduced to T8. This means that the lens is a lot easier to use in normal conditions as it doesn’t require as much light.

A Waterproof Front Lens Barrel

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Laowa has made the front barrel of the Pro2be waterproof so it can be used to shoot in and out of the water. You can submerge the barrels up to 36.6cm / 14.4″.

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There is a nice clear red marking on the lens barrels that tells you exactly the point at which it can safely be used in water.

The waterproof design allows you to get shots in water and liquid, and it also has the added benefit of keeping fine powders and dust out of the lens.

This is a nice option to have, however, macro shots in any type of liquid is a pretty niche use case.

Long Tubular Lens Barrels

Having a length of 50-50.7cm / 19.68-19.96″ allows you to focus really close to the subject but still keep your camera away from that subject. The barrels on the Pro2be lenses are longer than that of the previous PeriProbe.

The long lens barrels also allow shooters to keep a safe distance away from animals such as spiders when shooting. Being able to get the lenses really close to your subject is great, but you do have to take into account what you are shooting. Trying to get the lens close to insects that fly isn’t that easy as they are likely to fly off before your lens even gets near them. For slow-moving insects, it’s great.

Tiny Lens Tips

The small-sized lenses allow you to capture unique perspectives. With such a small diameter you can insert the lenses into tiny crevices, inside a glass bottle, or places where normal lenses just can’t go. The smaller lens tip also makes it easier for lighting. A typical macro lens with a larger lens barrel blocks more light, but a small lens barrel allows you to get light a lot closer to your subject. According to Laowa, they would rather use external lighting to compensate for the exposure, than make a lens with a bigger front tip. There are some probe lenses on the market which have a higher effective max. aperture but they feature a much larger lens tip which limits their usage.

Removable & Adjustable Barrels

The actual tubes can be detached from the rear optics and the mount.

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There is a silver ring that you can loosen to remove the tube from the rear optics and mount.

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Why would you want to do this? Well, with the 35° VIEW MODULE and 90° VIEW MODULE you may want to change the angle you want to capture. By re-installing the tubes in a different position you can tailor the lenses to your needs.

Above you can see what I mean. I have re-positioned the 90° VIEW MODULE so that it is facing up instead of down.

I can also re-position it so that it angles out left or right.

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The rear part of the lenses also has a 360° rotation mechanism. This allows you to place the lenses in the exact position you need them to be. Now, to do this you need to use the included small Allen key and loosen a couple of screws on the mount.

If you don’t lock off the rotating mechanism you could hook up a lens motor and a gear and have the lens spin around 360°. This could be used to create some unique shots.

No LED Ring Light

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Unlike the original 24mm f/14 2x Macro Probe and FF 24mm T14 2X Macro Periprobe, which featured built-in LED ring lights, the new Pro2be lenses have no light.

I personally thought the built-in LED ring light on the previous versions wasn’t all that practical because it was a tungsten LED and it ended up causing a lot of weird reflections on your images.

With a faster T8 aperture, and because the lens tips are so small, I personally think there was no need to include a built-in LED ring light. I would much prefer to use my own lighting anyway.

You Still Need A Lot Of Light

Even at T8, you still need a decent amount of light to use these lenses. While having a T8 aperture is a lot better than the previous T14, you really need to think carefully about how much light you will need and plan accordingly.

If you are going to shoot anything at higher frame rates then you will need a lot of extra light to obtain the correct exposure.

Unique Shots

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The previous Laowa FF 24mm T14 2X Macro Periprobe and 24mm f/14 2x Macro Probe lenses allowed me to get some very interesting shots that were just not possible using other macro lenses.

Some of the most interesting shots I got were when using the lens on a small motorized slider and then tracking across or back over objects. Because you are shooting at such close magnifications a move on a small slider feels like it is going on forever. For shooting small objects or documents you can create some very interesting camera moves using this combination. You can also do this with the new Pro2be lenses.

With the previous probe lenses, I did find that because the barrel was so long and lightweight it was susceptible to bouncing around and moving. At really close magnification it was very hard to shoot tiny insects if they are on a branch or a leaf if there is even the slightest amount of wind. The movement gets amplified so much that it looks like you are wildly moving the camera all over the place. The new Pro2be lenses still experience some of those problems, but because they are slightly heavier and a bit more rigid they are a little easier to use.

The new Pro2be lenses, especially the 3 lens kit I was reviewing really take getting unique shots to the next level. Being able to choose a lens that works for the shot you need is the type of versatility potential buyers are going to be looking for, especially those who shoot wildlife or nature or specialize in extreme macro shots. While the previous probe lenses were great, they did have their limitations, especially when it came to what type of angles you could shoot at.

For me personally, the 90° VIEW MODULE is by far the most interesting out of the three lenses. Having the ability to be able to shoot objects at ground level makes a world of difference.


These are not lenses for creating gorgeous bokeh. The bokeh and out-of-focus areas when using these lenses take on a very muddy and not very-pleasing form. If you are expecting nice bokeh, then you will be disappointed.

Image Quality

The Laowa Pro2be lenses might have a lot of bells and whistles, but that doesn’t mean anything if they can’t produce good-quality images. Above you can see some sharpness tests with the lenses.

Usually, if you shoot with lenses at high T stops you risk degrading the sharpness of your images, but due to such a complex optical design, the Laowa Pro2be lenses actually perform very well. When you are shooting extreme macro shots, things are not always going to appear sharp because you are looking at incredibly small details. There is a difference between actual sharpness and perceived sharpness. The lens was sharper than I was expecting, especially when shooting at higher resolutions. I didn’t see any real noticeable difference in image quality when comparing both the 90° and 0° lens tubes. At T8 the lenses are a little soft, especially if you zoom in 300%, however, by T11 they sharpen up quite considerably. I would never actually use footage with a 300% crop, and the lack of sharpness at T8 isn’t nearly apparent when you are viewing the normal image.

The new Pro2be lenses are optically better than their predecessors and that was apparent to me fairly early on when conducting tests.

Above you can see just how close I was when filming various objects. The lenses can focus ridiculously close to objects, but you need to take that into consideration when lighting and composing shots. Often you actually need to move further away from your subject to be able to get enough light on it.

The lenses certainly perform a lot better when shooting extreme macro shots than when used as a 24mm prime lens. At T8 when used as a normal lens it was quite soft and it suffered from a lack of contrast.

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I actually found that because it has a 24mm focal length, even with an S35 sensor camera, sometimes I couldn’t get close enough to very small creatures.

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The tiny amber snail I was filming got so close to the lens that I was no longer able to focus. You really need to carefully consider what you are shooting if you are going to be using a full-frame camera, because you may well find that you can’t get close enough.

Optically the lens’s all-around performance isn’t going to rival a good macro lens because of the design challenges that Laowa faced when making lenses like this. I shot material with the lenses in 4K, 5K, 6K, and 8K, and it held up very well. If you shoot in 5K/6K/8K and nail the focus you can crop in quite significantly on an image and get some amazingly close ultra macro shots.

The lens doesn’t have much contrast and it is very susceptible to flare. This is something you need to be mindful of.

Color Fringing

The lenses don’t exhibit any real-world color fringing. I couldn’t see any chromatic aberration in the tests that I did. This is an improvement over previous probe lenses from Laowa that did exhibit signs of color fringing.

Keeping the lens clean

With such close-focusing wide-angle macro lenses, any small bit of dust, hair, or water can show up on your footage, especially when shooting at T stops of T16 and above. I had some shots ruined because specs of fine dust were on the front of the lens. You really do need to keep the front of these lenses as well as your sensor absolutely spotless to avoid this from happening.

Using these lenses outside is tricky. When you are getting very close to insects or animals or pushing the lenses through grass, leaves, or plants it is so easy to get tiny marks on the front of the lens. You really need to keep this in mind at all times when you are shooting.

You Need A Tripod

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This is not a lens you want to use handheld for video unless you are running very high frame rates. At super close magnifications, the slightest bit of movement gets magnified as well, so you end up with unusable footage. You really need to use this lens on a good tripod or have your camera placed on the ground. In saying that, if you have a camera that has very good IBIS, you could potentially get a shot without a tripod.

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As the barrel of the lens is so long it is prone to causing image shake especially if you are trying manually focus with it. I wish Laowa had provided, or at least made, some sort of lens support that could attach further down the barrel of the lens. This would help alleviate some of those potential issues.

In saying that, I found the new PeriProbe lenses worked a lot better when you are running a lens motor. It doesn’t move or disrupt your shots and to be honest, it is a much easier kens to use with a focus motor than trying to manually focus yourself using the lens barrel. With the previous Laowa probe lenses, a motor could end up causing some flex and ruin your shots.

Speaking of lens support, there is the Nitze Lens Support for Laowa 24mm T14 PeriProbe (15mm LWS) for $99 USD. The Pro2be lenses have a slightly larger tube diameter than the PeriProbe so I assume it probably wouldn’t work. Now, I haven’t tried this myself so I am only speculating.

Price & Availability

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The Laowa 24mm T8 2X Pro2be 3 Lens Set retails for $8,499 USD. You can buy the three individual Pro2be lenses separately for the following prices:

  • 24mm T8 2X Pro2be 0° DIRECT VIEW MODULE $2,849 USD
  • 24mm T8 2X Pro2be 35° VIEW MODULE $3,149 USD
  • 24mm T8 2X Pro2be 90° VIEW MODULE $3,349 USD

This makes them more expensive than the 24mm T14 2X Macro Probe which costs $2,299 USD.



Just like the original Probe Lens, and the FF 24mm T14 2X Macro Periprobe, the 24mm T8 2X Pro2be lenses are certainly specialty items. If you do a lot of extreme macro shooting or like to capture certain types of wildlife, these lenses are certainly a great alternative to much more expensive offerings. The 24mm T8 2X Pro2be 3 Lens Set is bound to be a popular item for rental houses.

Like a lot of specialty lenses, the Pro2be are not the easiest lenses to use, but if you had a good amount of patience then they allow you to get very unique angles and shots that are just not possible with other lenses. Optically they are not going to be as good as most other lenses you own, but I think that Laowa has made a good compromise between performance, cost, and versatility. Because of what the lenses can do, rather than what they can’t do, I think the image quality is more than good enough. Laowa continues to expand and improve its range of macro probe lenses, and the Pro2be is a worthy addition to the lineup.


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