AstrHori launches new 18 mm probe lens

Chinese lens manufacturer AstrHori has launched a new 18 mm macro probe lens, the AstrHori 18mm f/8 2x Periscope Probe Macro Lens, designed for use with cameras with an APS-C-sized sensor. The lens is available for either Canon EF, Canon RF, Fuji X, Nikon Z, Sony E or Micro Four Thirds lens mounts.

Macro probe lens

Macro probe lenses are specialist lenses designed so that you can capture extreme close-ups of your subjects. Probe lenses also have very long, slender barrels, so you can insert them inside models or food, for example. This means you can get some unique and unusual camera shots. Laowa popularized the probe lens, but their product commanded a premium price. In 2022, AstrHori launched its first probe lens with a 28mm focal length and intended for full-frame cameras. It was also much more affordable than Laowa’s offering.

18 mm probe lens

The AstrHori 18mm probe lens is almost 18 inches (457 mm) in length, although the EF mount version is a little shorter at 17 inches (432 mm). It also weighs 24.8 ounces (704 g). The front 7.9 inches (200 mm) of the probe lens is waterproof, so you can insert it under water or into liquids. In addition, there is a built-in LED ring light at the front of the lens. This fill light has nine LEDS with an output of 5 w and a color temperature of 5000 K. The light requires an external USB power source, and you can adjust it between 10 levels of brightness.

Optical construction

AstrHori 18mm f/8 2x Periscope Probe Macro Lens being used
Image courtesy: AstrHori

The AstrHori 18mm probe lens is constructed with 23 lens elements in 17 groups and has a 2x macro magnification. It also has an aperture range from f8 to f28. Both the aperture and focus rings are manual and have standard gears for use with a follow focus unit. The close focus distance is 18.7 inches (474 mm). However, it is important to remember that this is measured from the focal plane of the lens. In practice, AstrHori says that the working distance is 5 mm from the end of the lens.

What we think

The AstrHori 18mm f8 probe lens is a specialist lens that you won’t use every day. However, it is great for food or product videos. It will also be great for special effects and for unusual shots in a music video. You could literally film inside a guitar or even a singer’s mouth. In addition, the AstrHori probe lens costs around half the price of the Laowa equivalent. That makes it easier to justify the outlay on such a specialized lens.

Pricing and availability

The AstrHori 18mm f/8 2x Periscope Probe Macro Lens is available now and costs $719.

Pete Tomkies
Pete Tomkies
Pete Tomkies is a freelance cinematographer and camera operator from Manchester, UK. He also produces and directs short films as Duck66 Films. Pete's latest short Once Bitten... won 15 awards and was selected for 105 film festivals around the world.

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