The Laowa Cine lenses family has three new ultra-wide lenses for cameras with different sensor sizes – Micro Four Thirds, Super 35 and large format – with prices starting at $599.
Laowa has some unique lenses in its Cine portfolio: the Laowa 24mm f/14 2X Macro Probe, and the Laowa 12mm T/2.9 Zero-D Cine. Now the company adds three cine lenses for cameras with different sensor sizes, all sharing one thing: they are all ultra-wide. They are the Laowa 7.5mm T2.1 Cine for Micro Four Thirds cameras, Laowa 9mm T2.9 Zero-D Cine for Super35 cameras and the Laowa 15mm T2.1 Zero-D Cine Lens for large format (full frame) cameras.
ProVideo Coalition readers will remember we mentioned some of these lenses before. In fact, the Laowa 7.5mm T2.1 and the Laowa 9mm T2.9 were first announced at Photokina 2018, along with the Laowa 12mm T/2.9. The two lenses are finally available, with the the Laowa 15mm T2.1 Zero-D Cine being the effective “new” lens added to the launch.
Three Laowa ultra wide lenses
These lenses continue to follow the same logic the company showed for previous models. Venus Optics states that “all three lenses feature the same optical system as the their popular photography version and offer premium optical performance. They have also been built with robust cinema lenses housing with design up to the industry standard.”
Ultra wide field of view and fast aperture are a “rule” for these lenses. Venus Optics says that “the Laowa 7.5mm T2.1 feature a 110° FoV on MFT while the 9mm T2.9 features a 113° on Super35 sensors. The 15mm T2.1 instead features a 110° FoV on cameras with full frame sensors. The fast maximum T-stop is well suited for filming under low light condition. It also allows filmmakers to have more flexibility in depth of field control.”
Both the 9mm and 15mm feature the distinguishing Laowa close-to-zero distortion (Zero-D) design where the optical distortion at infinity distance has been compressed to the minimal. This is extremely important for motion picture recording when shooting indoor, architecture or footage with straight lines included. This also saves tremendous amount of time in distortion correction in post processing.
Laowa Cine come with a Pelican hard case
Here is a list of key features of the new Laowa Cine lenses from Venus Optics:
- Compact & lightweight
All three wide angle prime lenses are extremely compact and lightweight. Both 7.5mm and 9mm weigh close to 0.5 lbs (226g). The 15mm is a little bit heavier due to the larger coverage but Venus Optics still manage to compress it to around 1.2 lbs (540g). On the contrary to the huge and heavy wide angle lenses in the market, the new Laowa cine lenses are extremely handy for run-and-gun productions, shooting with gimbals, in-car shots, indoor scene, etc.
- Close Focusing Distance
All three Laowa cine lenses possess an extremely close focusing distance. This provides a great deal of flexibility for directors to compose shots at any distance. Filmmakers can also take advantage of this close focusing to create some wide angle shots with shallower depth of field. Both the Laowa 7.5mm and 9mm can focus as close as 4.7” (12cm) from sensor to subject while the 15mm can focus up to 5.9” (15cm).
- Industry standard cinema lens housing
The major difference between the new cinema version and the still version is the improved housing. The new cinema lens housing have been designed with details to facilitate filmmakers to shoot with ease. Both the aperture and focus rings have been built with industry standard 0.8 mod pitch gears for pairing up with follow-focus motors. The aperture ring is now click-less for smooth iris control. Every one of Laowa cine lenses comes with a filter thread for filmmakers to use screw-in filters and mini matte-boxes. Entire lens body is made by premium grade aluminum and build for usage in extreme environment.
- Hassle-free transportation
An authentic hard case made by Pelican will be included with the lens to allow filmmakers to travel around for shooting with ease.
Laowa wide-angles for RED Komodo and Panasonic S1H next
Laowa lenses are available in a variety of mounts, giving different users multiple options in terms of cinema lenses. The Laowa 7.5mm T2.1 Cine is available in Micro Four Thirds mount and it is a perfect companion to cameras like Blackmagic Pocket 4K, Panasonic GH5 and Z-Cam E2. The 9mm T2.9 Zero-D Cine is available in Fuji X, Sony E mount and Micro Four Thirds mount.
The Micro Four Thirds mount on the 9mm means it can cover the same cameras as 7.5mm and serve as an not-as-wide alternative to MFT users. The Fuji X mount is extremely popular among XT-4 or XH-1 shooters. The Sony E mount works really well with Sony cameras with Super35 sensors including FS5, FS7, A6500 series, etc.
The 15mm T2.1 Zero-D Cine is designed for large format sensor with Sony FE mount available. It is best suited with Sony full frame cameras like the Sony A7 series and FX9. Venus Optics confirms that new Nikon Z, Canon RF and Leica L mount will be introduced later this year “and they will certain be interesting wide angle options for cameras like RED Komodo, Canon R5, Nikon Z6/Z7, Sigma FP, Panasonic S1H and more to come.”
With the new additions, the line-up of wide-angles lenses in the Laowa Cine family is growing. Together with the Laowa 12mm T2.9 Zero-D Cine released earlier for EF and PL cinema cameras, Venus Optics currently offer four wide angle cine lenses for cinema cameras with different sensor sizes.
All three cine lenses are currently available to purchase via Venus Optics official website and authorized resellers. The US price for 7.5mm T2.1 and 9mm T2.9 is $599/pc (ex-VAT) and 15mm T2.1 is $1,199/pc (ex- VAT). Pricing varies in different countries.