“An extremely tiny ultra-wide lens (weighed only 125g) for Micro Four Third cameras. This 10mm Zero-D lens pairing with f/2 large aperture handles different shooting situations easily. Offering a 96° Angle of view and equipped with 46mm filter threads, no matter using for landscape, astrophotography or architecture photography, the lens is always able to produce impressive results without any extra burden.
The lens also equipped with a CPU chip and motor. You can now control the aperture in-camera and record all the metadata in the EXIF. It will be also perfect for vlogging, drones and other lightweight videography setups. “
With Micro Four Thirds alliance partners Olympus and Panasonic faltering in new prime lens releases for some time now, I have been casting eyes on Chinese makers of manual focus lenses in the hopes that they may come up with optically near-perfect as well as characterful lenses to fill the many gaps that remain.
Vintage prime lenses are becoming less viable options as supply dries up, prices rise and qualified repair technicians disappear, especially locally.
Lens rehousing companies located in North America and Europe may also do repairs but their fees are high and their services are oriented towards cinematographers rather than stills photographers as well as the problem that one must ship lenses there and back while doing without them for some weeks or months.
One big gap is that of ultra wide-angle prime lenses whether designed for stills photography or cinematography and especially for Micro Four Thirds and APS-C/Super 35 cameras such as Fujifilm’s X-mount cameras, but I was recently pleased to note that Venus Optics keeps adding to its Zero-D distortion-free prime lens line-up.
Barrel curvature in wide-angle prime and zoom lenses is a bugbear of mine and I find such distortion especially irritating in video.
Autofocus OEM zoom lenses are very prone to this but their distortions can be corrected in post-processing still photographs if the raw file indicates them in their metadata, or if the raw processing software maker incorporates built-in or downloadable lens profiles into their products as does, for example, DxO.
Software makers rarely if ever provide metadata or profiles for manual focus lenses so distortion-free lenses erase the need for the alternative, manually-correcting distortion in software.
With questions being raised about Olympus and Panasonic’s dedication to the Micro Four Thirds sensor format since the former sold its camera and lens division to JIP and Panasonic released its S Series 35mm sensor format aka “full frame” or “full format” cameras, one might be forgiven for not leaping at the chance to invest in Venus Optics’ M43 lenses right now.
I have certainly been feeling the need for longer focal lengths than 12mm in M43 for an unpaid project requiring regular documentation of building construction, so the Venus Optics Laowa 10mm f/2 Zero-D, Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D and Laowa 7.5mm f/2 lenses look tempting.
Another possibility to native-mount lenses for M43 and Fujifilm X camera is adapting Canon EF-mount, Leica M-mount or Nikon F-mount lenses via focal length-reducing optical or smart adapters, and Venus Optics offers some intriguing possibilities for that alternative.
That aside, the Venus Optics Laowa 10mm f/2 Zero-D M43-mount prime lens appears eminently suitable for architecture, cityscape, documentary photography and photojournalism as well as cinematography given its 20mm equivalence, and is a candidate for replacing the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro zoom lens I currently use for the afore-mentioned project.
If Olympus/JIP and Panasonic do drop supporting the Micro Four Thirds format for stills and hybrid cameras then it may well continue to be supported by cinema camera makers such as Blackmagic Design with its Blackmagic Pocket Cinemas Cameras 4K and Panasonic itself with its Netflix-approved BGH1 box-style ciné camera as well as independent camera makers.
Some Venus Optics Laowa lenses and adapters
- B&H – Venus Optics Laowa lenses
- DPReview – Venus Optics’ new $399 Laowa 10mm f/2 Zero-D MFT lens is just four Oreos tall
- DxO – DxO PhotoLab, DxO FilmPack, DxO ViewPoint and Nik Collection
- Venus Optics – Laowa 10mm f/2 Zero-D MFT