Designed with Full Frame cameras in mind, the new Laowa 9mm f/5.6 FF RL lens is the world’s widest rectilinear lens for Leica M, Sony FE, Nikon Z and L mount.
Venus Optics recently expanded the Laowa Cine lens family with new optics, the Laowa 7.5mm T2.1 Cine, the Laowa 9mm T2.9 Zero-D Cine and the Laowa 15mm T2.1 Zero-D Cine, and now the company turns to photographers and confirms that all rumors had a reason to be: the Laowa 9mm f/5.6 FF RL is here, and again it shows Laowa keeps trying to do lenses that expand what’s possible to create in both still and moving images.
The new Laowa 9mm f/5.6 FF RL lens now unveiled is the world’s widest rectilinear lens for full frame cameras. Venus Optics have been designing ultra-wide angle lenses with outstanding optical performance and their 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 lens is currently the world’s widest zoom lens for full frame cameras. Now, the company takes another step when it comes to prime lenses!
Laowa already has a 9mm lens, the Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D, for Fuji X, Sony E, Canon EF-M, DJI DL and MFT mounts. It’s a ultra wide-angle lens featuring coverage up to 113° angle of view (100° on MFT system) in a tiny size and lightweight package that is ideal for mirrorless cameras and suitable to use with gimbals. This new lens, though, is something completely different, offering a remarkable 135° angle of view, for an ultra-wide perspective.
Ideal solution for landscape and architecture
According to Venus Optics, the “new Laowa 9mm f/5.6 is currently the widest non-fisheye lens ever developed for full frame mirrorless cameras”. With it, the company continues, “Landscape photographers can experience an ultimate wide-angle photography with beautiful scenery captured in one shot. The ultra-wide angle of view is particularly helpful for interior shooting as it helps exaggerated the sense of space. The one-of-a-kind perspective also helps realized a lot of formerly impossible shots.”
The community of mirrorless camera shooters has requested a compact wide angle lens, and Venus Optics designed a super compact and lightweight solution as an answer, thanks to the reduced flange distance characteristic of mirrorless cameras. That advantage made it possible to compress the size of the 9mm f/5.6 lens to the smallest in its class, measuring approximately 2.4 inches (~6cm) long and weighing only 12 oz. (350g) with a lens diameter of 60mm.
The size and weight of the Laowa 9mm f/5.6 FF RL lens make it an ideal solution for landscape, architecture, interior or travel photographers that are traveling over long distances and looking for a high quality and portable ultra-wide lens to carry anywhere. It’s not just easier to carry and pack, it is also easier to hold while working.
Very low distortion at infinity
The closest focusing distance on this lens is only 4.72” (12cm) measuring from subject to sensor, which is similar to the Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D mentioned above. According to Venus Optics, “this is so much closer than the other ultra-wide angle lenses in the market and it provides a greater flexibility for photographers to compose shots at close and far distances and control depth of field much more easily.” The maximum magnification of the lens is 0.21x.
Exceptional optical performance is how the company depicts what the lens offers. Incorporating a 14 elements in 10 groups optical design, the 9mm is able to deliver an outstanding image sharpness from corner to corner. The two big aspherical elements and two extra-low dispersion elements help to eliminate chromatic aberrations successfully. Despite the fact that it is not one of the Zero-D lenses, the lens still exhibit a very low distortion at infinity distance compared to other ultra-wide angle lenses in the market.
First Leica M lens from Venus Optics
Aware that filters are essential to produce impressive landscape photography, Venus Optics have managed to work with partners to carefully design a filter holder that allows for the use of 100mm-wide filters without serious vignetting. The company claims that “unlike some other wide angle lenses where 120mm or even 150mm filter system are required, the entire landscape shooting setup for the Laowa 9mm lens will be extremely portable.”
The new 9mm lens is currently available in Leica M, Sony FE, Nikon Z and L mount. It’s the first Leica M lens Venus Optics have ever produced. It also supports rangefinder coupling on Leica cameras. 2 colors (Black & Silver) are available for Leica M mount.
The new Laowa 9mm f/5.6 FF RL is currently available to purchase via Venus Optics official website and authorized resellers. The US price for 9mm f/5.6 FF RL is $899 (Leica M mount) and $799 (Sony FE, Nikon Z and L) Pricing varies in different countries. The first 100 orders will get a 100mm magnetic filter holder (Retail Value: $149) for FREE.