Not too long ago Chinese lensmaker Laowa shook up the industry with the Laowa 24mm f/14 2X Macro Probe, the world’s first consumer-grade probe lens which focuses from 2:1 macro to infinity and with a compelling wide angle ‘Bug Eye’ perspective. At NAB 2019, the company showed it was at it again as they finally showcase of their much talked about but yet to be seen 25-100mm T2.9 zoom lens. Thankfully, Kamren Kennedy got his hands on a copy of the 25-100mm T2.9 to see what the hype is all about. Is this lens a real option for owner/operators?
The OOOM (Out Of Our Minds) 25-100mm T2.9 appears to resemble an Angenieux of a similar focal length. What we saw at NAB 2019 was a pre-production model, and it was a good version but not the final production model. Laowa wants to make a few adjustments to the body of the lens before heading full steam into production. First, they want to enlarge the focus and zoom viewing windows. Second, they want to reduce the overall weight of the lens. The image circle for the OOOM 25-100mm T2.9 is for Super 35mm sensors.
My overall thoughts after Kamren and I inspected the 25-100mm T2.9 OOOM Lens? It is a solid lens but a little heavy. If I am going to deal with a heavy lens then I likey will just rent a Fujinon 19-90mm because it is a slightly more useful zoom range and delivers a better image. Yet, the Fujinon with a zoom rocker is quite a bit more expensive than Laowa’s $6500.00 they want to charge.
The OOOM 25-100mm T2.9 is not a still photo zoom engineered to be a cinema zoom. The OOOM is a purpose-built cinema zoom with an optical design consisting of 20 elements in 16 groups. The lens as a 9 blade aperture. With this design, the bokeh looks nice without a hard edge surrounding the highlight blur.
While, yes, $6500 for a near zero focus breathing parfocal cinema zoom is a great deal you are buying into a lens without service centers nearby. As Laowa builds up its business they will likely also build up their customer support and cinema lens service providers. From what I say, skin tones looked smooth and the image had a nice sharpness to it which I think will make the OOOM a great fit for some professional productions.
In a hint to future lenses, Laowa told us they are looking to build other focal lengths to be added to the OOOM 25-100mm to make a series of lenses. I bet Laowa will make a wider zoom and a longer zoom. Makes sense if you ask me. Laowa is also working on large format zooms too. We do not have a solid shipping date from Laowa only a mention saying by the end of 2019.
Laowa OOOM 25-100mm T2.9 Specs
- Nice and sharp (even at T2.9)
- 0.8 mod / 32 pitch gears
- 270-degree focus rotation
- Very little focus breathing
- Very little chromatic aberration
- 5.5lbs or ~ 2.5kg (Laowa attempting to lower)
- EF & PL mount options (not sure if swappable)
- Expect Laowa to make ring viewer windows larger on the focus and zoom.
- The cost to be ~ $6500