The Chinese manufacturer Venus Optics has forged a reputation in the small world of camera optics with its Laowa brand, which offers lenses with often original characteristics and compatible with many devices. At Laowa, we prefer everything manual with optics without autofocus or any electronic component. In this concept, the optician presents the Laowa Argus 35mm f / 0.95 FF, one of the brightest optics available on the market for 24×36 sensor hybrids from Sony, Canon or Nikon.
The company has become accustomed to increasing the number of references at the risk of losing its customers, so we offer you a little feedback on the latest releases after the presentation of the 35mm.
Laowa Argus 35mm f/0.95 FF
With an f / 0.95 aperture, the Laowa Argus 35mm f / 0.95 FF arrives in the very small universe of lenses with very (very) large aperture – below f / 1. This new 35mm is reminiscent of the Nikkor Z 58mm f / 0.95 S Noct from Nikon presented in 2019 by the Japanese manufacturer.
The Laowa Argus 35mm f / 0.95 FF offers an optical construction comprising 14 elements divided into 9 groups including 1 aspherical lens. Low dispersion glass is also used to reduce some unwanted phenomena such as chromatic aberrations.
Rather rare, the diaphragm includes 15 blades, which is quite far from the standards with 9 or 11 blades. The bokeh should be even softer than usual, which hints at some nice promises associated with the grand opening. Finally, a smooth rotating diaphragm control ring is present.
The Laowa Argus 35mm f / 0.95 FF is 103mm long and 755g which is relatively heavy. Without autofocus, the focus is limited to a minimum distance of 50 cm.
Pricing and availability
The Laowa Argus 35mm f / 0.95 FF will be available in E, RF and Z mount for the respective 24×36 hybrids from Sony, Canon and Nikon. The sale price is fixed in all cases at 1149 €.
Laowa Argus 33mm f/0,95 CF APO
Laowa Argus 33mm f/0.95 CF APO
Introduced in spring 2021, the Laowa Argus 33mm f / 0.95 CF APO shares identical features with the Laowa Argus 35mm f / 0.95 FF regarding maximum aperture, but also metal construction and overall design.
On the other hand, the Laowa Argus 33mm f / 0.95 CF APO is intended for cameras equipped with APS-C format sensor and corresponds to a 50 mm with reference to the 24×36 format. It is available for hybrids from Fujifilm, Sony and Nikon, but also for Canon APS-C hybrids with EF-M mount. Laowa also mentions a Canon R mount which seems to refer to the RF mount. In this profile of use, it will be necessary to do with a crop on the final image.
To acquire the Laowa Argus 33mm f / 0.95 CF APO, you will have to get rid of 629 €.
Other light optics to come
In addition, Venus Optics has planned two other optics in the same wide aperture range. The Argus 25 f / 0.95 MFT also corresponds to a 50mm in 35mm format, but the lens is intended for Micro 4/3 mirrorless cameras. On the other hand, it is the Argus 45mm f / 0.95 FF that has yet to be released. It will be available for full-frame hybrid cameras from Canon, Nikon and Sony.
Laowa 14mm f/4 Zero-D DSLR
The second version, the 14mm f / 4 Zero-D DSLR, is intended for Canon and Nikon SLRs. As you can see, Venus Optics does not hesitate to offer lenses for a wide audience. The 14mm f / 4 Zero-D DSLR is part of the Zero-D lineup with a promise of absent distortions.
The distance scale is adjustable to precisely adapt to the optical focus of the housing to which the lens is associated and to calibrate the position to infinity. The Laowa 14mm f / 4 Zero-D DSLR also offers an electronic connection to record Exif data and control the aperture of the diaphragm. The latter is composed of 5 slats for a starry effect (sunstar) with 10 branches.
The Laowa 14mm f / 4 Zero-D DSLR retail price is set at € 629.
Laowa 7.5mm f/2 MFT
Laowa 7.5mm f/2 MFT
The Laowa 7.5mm f / 2 MFT is the counterpart for Micro 4/3 hybrids of the two previous lenses due to their similar focal length. With its large aperture, this makes it one of the widest-angle lenses for cameras from Panasonic or Olympus. One of its main advantages lies in its very compact appearance, dear to mountaineering enthusiasts. It also has electronic connectors for diaphragm control and metadata recording.
The Laowa 7.5mm f / 2 MFT was priced at the start of sales at € 729.
Laowa 10mm f/2 Zero-D MFT
Still for Micro 4/3s, the Laowa 10mm f / 2 Zero-D MFT is part of the Zero-D range with a promise of imperceptible distortions. It is a little less wide-angle than the Laowa 7.5mm f / 2 MFT and corresponds to a 20mm at 24×36. While it weighs only 125 g, Laowa has incorporated some electronics, still for recording Exif and controlling the aperture.
Less expensive than the 7.5mm, the Laowa 10mm f / 2 Zero-D MFT launched at € 499.
Other optics to come
There have been announcements from Laowa, but little official information:
- 10mm f / 4 MFT in pancake format for Micro 4/3 and APS-C hybrids
- 85mm F5.6 Macro 2: 1, small macro lens at x2 magnification ratio for 24×36 hybrids
- 20mm F4 FF C-Dreamer Shift, shift lens that will follow the 15mm f / 4.5 Zero-D Shift, already released
- 12-24mm F5.6 FF C-Dreamer, an ultra-wide-angle zoom for full-frame hybrid
It is always possible that we missed one reference or another, so feel free to share any missing references with us in the comments of the article. Note also that Laowa offers a range of optics for video and cinema, which we have not mentioned here.
To know more, the manufacturer’s website remains available.
In partnership with several online stores and resellers, Laowa offers a three-year warranty extension to reach five years of protection. The offer is particularly valid chez Digit-Photo and Miss Digital until December 31, 2021. Finally, this warranty extension is also valid for Samyang lenses.
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