Following up on its 28mm f/13 macro probe lens from 2022, AstrHori has announced a new 18mm f/8 2x Macro Probe Lens designed for APS-C cameras and available in Sony E, Nikon Z, Fujifilm X, Canon RF, Canon EF, and Micro Four Thirds.
The company says that just as was the case with its original probe lens — which was designed to compete with the Laowa offering but at a significant discount — the new 18mm f/8 lens features a built-in front-mounted LED, waterproof design, and is capable of extreme magnification.
The AstrHori 18mm f/8 2x Macro Probe Lens features a design of 23 elements arranged in 17 groups and an aperture range of f/8 through F28 via a seven-bladed diaphragm. The lens has a stated focusing range of 0.474 meters (about 18 inches) and a working distance of 5mm.
Close focusing distance is usually defined by the distance from the focal plane while working distance refers to the distance between the front element and a subject, so while the focusing range doesn’t seem that close, expect to be able to place the front of the lens extremely close to subjects.
It has an angle of view of 76 degrees and is a fully manual focusing optic. The lens is designed to be broken down into two parts to make transport easier, as shown below:
As mentioned, the lens is partially waterproof: the front 20 centimeters of the lens is fully sealed and there is a mark on the lens that notes when protection against water stops.
The front LED — which does require external USB power in order to operate — is capable of illuminating the area directly in front of the optic, which is helpful in studio situations since not only is the lens not particularly fast, but also it can otherwise be difficult to light subjects without casting a shadow from the lens itself since it is so long.
Speaking of its dimensions, the lens measures in total 457mm long (about 17.9 inches) for the mirrorless mounts (the EF mount is slightly shorter at 432mm or about 17 inches). The entire lens weighs 716 grams.
Below are a pair of example photos captured with the lens:
The AstrHori 18mm f/8 2x Macro Probe Lens is available in a variety of APS-C lens mounts and Micro Four Thirds for $719.