“PR: Dear Mr. Li, let me thank you for this opportunity to ask you some questions about your work and the process of designing a lens. But first we would like to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and your position at Laowa?…”
… PR: And a final question: Do you use the lenses you have designed yourself? And if so, what is your favorite lens and what do you use it for?
Mr. Li: I also use the lenses I designed. I used to love telezoom lenses but now I love macro lenses more, to capture the microscopic world. Seeing the world from a bug’s perspective is fascinating. At the same time, it helps me realise that this world does not belong only to humans. Humanity, rather, belongs to nature….
The Venus Optics Laowa lens collection as of January 2018 (9mm lens coming soon)
Laowa 7.5mm f/2.0 M43 extreme wide-angle rectilinear manual focus prime lens.
Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D manual focus near-zero distortion fast wide-angle prime lens.
Laowa 15mm f/2.0 Zero-D FE-mount zero distortion fast extreme wide-angle manual focus prime lens.
Laowa 15mm f/4.0 Wide-Angle 1:1 Macro manual focus prime lens.
Laowa 60mm f/2.8 2:1 Ultra-Macro manual focus prime lens.
Laowa 105mm f/2.0 Smooth Trans Focus (STF) manual focus prime lens.
Laowa Magic Shift Lens Convertor.
I encountered Laowa brand lenses made by Anhui Changgeng Optics Technology Co., Ltd trading as Venus Optics when writing for another online publication and was impressed by their first two products, the 60mm f/2.8 2-to-1 twice life-size ultra-macro and 15mm f/4.0 wide-angle 1-to-1 life-size manual-focus macro prime lenses.
I have yet to encounter any Laowa lenses in the flesh, as it were, but am keeping a keen eye on developments in their product range and am pleased that they may soon be adding a second M43-mountable or at least adaptable wide-angle rectilinear lens in the 9mm f/2.8 lens, recently shared by FujiRumors.
We need more top-quality well-corrected manual-focus rectilinear M43 wide-angle prime lenses in my opinion, and the more choices the better.
With Venus Optics’ current 7.5mm M43 bestowing the 35mm sensor-size equivalent of 15mm, a 9mm lens would give us an 18mm equivalent.
Those 3mm are not as insignificant as they may seem – once we get down to the extreme wide end, 3mm in difference is noticeable especially when shooting architectural exteriors and interiors as well as scene-setting video footage.
I hope that Mr Li and the rest of the Laowa team have a 10.5mm (21mm in the 35mm sensor size) on the drawing boards, to give us a choice of three excellent super-wide prime lenses for stills and video, as an alternative to wide-end zoom lenses:
- 7.5mm = 15mm (in 35mm)
- 9mm = 18mm (in 35mm)
- 10.5mm = 21mm (in 35mm)
Three well-corrected prime lenses evenly spaced 3mm apart in their 35mm equivalent focal lengths would make for a great little lightweight set of ultra-wide lenses.
By their very nature, prime lenses can be optically corrected more than zoom lenses, and while this may not be mission critical in stills photography where optical distortions can be corrected in raw processors and image editors, non-linear editing software for moviemaking cannot correct barrel and pincushion optical curvature.
Help support ‘Untitled’
Clicking on these affiliate links helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.
- Venus Optics Laowa 7.5mm f/2 MFT Lens for Micro Four Thirds – B&H
- Venus Optics Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D Lens – B&H
- Venus Optics Laowa 15mm f/2 FE Zero-D Lens for Sony E – B&H
- Venus Optics Laowa 15mm f/4 Macro Lens – B&H
- Venus Optics Laowa 60mm f/2.8 2X Ultra-Macro Lens – B&H
- Venus Optics Laowa 105mm f/2 Smooth Trans Focus Lens – B&H
- Venus Optics Laowa Magic Shift Converter MSC – B&H