Venus Optics announced their Laowa 12mm f/2.8 lens via a Kickstarter campaign and has already blown far past the initial $10,000 pledge goal. In fact as of this writing it’s at $273,559 with 28 days left to go in the campaign and for good reason.
The features of the lens are astounding, to say the least. Venus Optics took a wishlist of elements that photographers wanted in an ultra wide lens, and stuffed it into the Laowa — filmmakers and videographers will like them, too.
Here are the major features:
Near Zero Distortion
This is the big one. Ultra wide lenses tend to suffer a distortion rate between 2% and 5% which forces straight lines to appear bent in images. The Laowa lens features what Venus says is a close-to-zero distortion rate and the sample images they’ve provided makes me think the only way you would be able to detect any distortion is with a very accurate straight edge device.
122° Angle of View at f/2.8
The angle of view is a roomy 122 degrees at an impressive f-stop of only 2.8. That makes this the widest lens on the market at that low of an f-number.
Weight and Size
The Laowa is capable of all of that, and yet retain a small form factor, which is what you would expect to find. It’s also not a heavy lens, weighing in at just 609 grams (1.34 lb.), making it a breeze to carry around.
You can watch the Kickstarter video introducing the Laowa 12mm f/2.8 here and below!
Check out the gallery of sample images below:
In order to create the Laowa 12mm f/2.8, the Venus Optics team used 16 lens elements within the body of the lens in order to get the low distortion, low light features in such a light compact size. Here’s what the company said about design of the lens:
“The optical design features a 16 lens elements in 10 groups with 3pcs of Extra-Low Dispersion Elements and 2pcs of Aspherical Elements. This patented optical design delivers a high resolution from corners to corners, even in wide open (f/2.8) situation. Chromatic Aberration has also been controlled to the minimal.”
Because of the popularity of this lens on Kickstarter all the super early-bird perks are gone but there are still pledges $799 available or spend a little bit more to receive the lens a month earlier. You can pledge to the campaign on Kickstarter here.
The Venus Optics Laowa 12mm f/2.8 will retail for $949 and should be available sometime at the end of the year. Here are the technical specifications:
- Maximum aperture: f/2.8
- Minimum aperture: f/22
- Focal Length: 12mm
- Angle of view: 121.96°
- Elements/Groups: 16/10 (3pcs ED, 2pcs ASP)
- Aperture Blades: 7
- Format compatibility: full frame
- Minimum Focus distance: 7.09” (0.18 cm)
- Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 0.2x
- Focusing: Manual
- Dimensions(DxL): Φ74.8×82.8mm
- Weight: 1.34 lb (609 g)
- Mounts: Canon EF / Nikon AI / Sony A / Pentax K / Sony FE
- Detachable hood