First revealed by multiple rumor websites, long before it was supposed to be announced, the Argus family of lenses from Venus Optics is finally here, starting with the Laowa Argus 33mm f/0.95 CF APO.
Venus Optics finally confirms the introduction of the first of its Laowa Argus family of lenses, the Argus 33mm f/0.95 CF APO for APS-C, which will be available this month, for a price of $499.00, first for Fuji X and Sony E mount, with versions for Nikon Z and Canon RF starting shipping by the end of May.
As a side note, it’s interesting to see how companies name their lenses. Argus, the name chosen by Laowa for this series, comes, according to the company, from the Greek mythology “and was the name of a vigilant guardian with a hundred eyes and an “all-seeing” sight”. Argus Panoptes, the complete name of the mythical figure, is a many eye giant known for having generated the saying “the eyes of Argus”. Venus Optics says that the name was chosen because it represents “the ultra-bright f/0.95 aperture of the lenses and the exceptional image quality they deliver.”
The “eyes of Argus” in this case will be not one but four lenses, as revealed at the start of the year by rumor websites. They are the Laowa Argus 25mm f/0.95 for Micro Four Thirds, Laowa Argus 35mm and 45mm f/0.95 for full-frame, and this Laowa Argus 33mm f/0.95 CF APO for APS-C. Multiple “eyes of Argus” covering a variety of formats, all offering a super fast aperture, perfect for low light photography.
The 35mm f/0.95 is the first released lens of what Venus Optics says is “the much anticipated Argus line.” Featuring the ultra fast f/0.95 aperture with APO design, the lens offers photographers and videographers a classic focal length for everyday shooting and a versatility to shoot at difficult lighting conditions. According to Venus Optics, “the lens delivers exception image quality wide-open and suppresses the chromatic aberration to the minimal. Coupled with the 35mm (1.15 feet) minimum focus distance, a buttery smooth and exquisite bokeh rendering can easily be created.
A lens for narrative filmmaking
The lens will be appreciated by photographers for portraits, low light photography, and astrophotography, but videographers will find “multiple touches of videographer friendly features for narrative filmmaking”, from minimum focus breathing to a stepless aperture ring. Here are the key features that videographers will appreciate:
- Low Focus Breathing
Venus Optics also attempted to compress the focus breathing of this new Argus lens to the minimal in its class. This is perfect for narrative filming where the distraction of the framing changes is no more.
- Stepless Aperture
The stepless aperture ring allows videographers to adjust and control the exposure smoothly.
- Extended focus throw with 62mm filter thread
Laowa Argus 33mm f/0.95 CF APO has a long focus throw (300°) and allows photographers and videographers to have a precise control of the focus over the shallow depth of field for isolating the subject better. A 62mm filter thread is designed to fit with screw-in filters.
- Internal Focus Design with a small form factor
An internal focus optics design has been adopted so that the lens will not extend in length during focusing, it offers additional stability and prevents dust from getting into the lens. It is particularly useful for videographers where add-on accessories like matte-box are often used. Venus Optics still managed to keep the lens compact (3.26” / 83mm long) and lightweight (590 g/1.3 lbs) despite the internal focus design.
Venus Optics says that the lens was designed to deliver impressive performance at wide-open aperture. It incorporates one Extra-low Dispersion Glass, one Aspherical Lens and three Ultra High Refraction Glass to suppress both lateral and longitudinal chromatic aberration (CA) to the minimal at all apertures in its class. It also delivers an exceptional image sharpness across the frame.
Buttery smooth bokeh
The fast aperture makes handheld shooting at low light situations much easier, meaning that you can now tell your story in any condition without compromising your image with higher ISO. As an extra bonus, you get a shallow depth of field that offers great versatility for selective focus and isolate the subject for a better story telling. The 9 circular aperture blades produce smooth, round bokeh with no hard edges.
The closest focusing distance of 35cm (1.15 feet) from subject to sensor allows photographers to capture different perspectives with details of the object, with clean images at both ‘in-focus’ and ‘out-of-focus’ areas. The fast f/0.95 aperture concurs with the focusing distance to offer a close up shot with shallow depth of field, allowing you to create buttery smooth bokeh with breathtaking close-up details, for visually and aesthetically appealing images.
Venus Optics introduces its first lens of the f/0.95 ‘Argus’ line, Laowa ‘Argus’ 33mm f/0.95 CF APO with a clear invitation to photographers: start capturing chromatic aberration-free image at f/0.95. If a manual focusing lens is in your plans, the name Argus is one to keep in mind.