The Laowa OOOM 25-100 T/2.9 Professional Cine Lens is one of the highlights of Venus Optic’s booth at Photokina. It’s a truly parfocal lightweight zoom designed for digital cinematography.
Since entering the market in 2013, Venus Optics has launched some interesting lenses for photography enthusiasts, under the name Laowa. The team of optical designers with more than 20 years’ experience and having previously designed lenses for Japanese and German manufacturers, has as mission: to design and create our own portfolio of photographic lenses that are truly unique, practical and affordable.
The Laowa 60mm f/2.8 2X Ultra-Macro Lens was the first offer from the company, followed by other products, like the Laowa 15mm f/4 Wide Angle Macro Lens, the world’s widest 1:1 macro lens, or the Laowa 105mm f/2 Smooth Trans Focus Lens, nicknamed ’Bokeh Dreamer’.
With a growing portfolio of lenses, Venus Optics made it to the Photokina in September 2016, the first time the company showed its products in a huge photography event. This year they are back, and they have a total of 12 lenses to show, 8 of them absolutely new and 4 showed earlier in Beijing P&E. The collection covers everything from Micro Four Thirds to a lens for the DJI’s Inspire 2 drone. Venus Optics also has 4 Cine Lens, one of them presented as the company’s first professional cinema style zoom.
The Laowa OOOM 25-100mm t/2.9 Cine Lightweight Zoom signs the direction Venus Optics is taking, now that they are a popular name in the industry with a growing portfolio of lenses for photography, and even video. This lens, featuring a wide 25-100mm zoom range, seems like a one-size-fits- all lens for different types of productions.
Presented as the first professional cinema style zoom lens offered by Venus Optics, it is unlike some cine lens in the market which were re-engineered from a photo zoom lens, as it was designed for digital cinematography in the first place. The Laowa OOOM Cine lens is a truly parfocal, meaning the focus will never shift when you zoom in or zoom back out. It is also designed to have nearly zero focus breathing throughout the whole zoom range. The aperture remains fixed at t/2.9 at all focal lengths.
The company says that the lens is built with the true cinema level mechanics. The lens comes with a stepless, t-stop independent aperture ring with an industry standard 0.8 mod /32 pitch gears. The 270° rotation flow provides room or precise focus pulls and the iris is clickless, enabling smooth iris pulls. The lens weighs only 2.16 pounds, which is fairly light for a cinema zoom that holds focus and aperture throughout the focal length range.
The new Cine zoom lens from Laowa is not alone, as the company has three other models, although not included in the OOOM line up. These are the Laowa 7.5mm t/2.1 Cine and Laowa 9mm t/2.9 Zero-D Cine, the first available for MFT mount, the second for Sony E mount. The third lens, Laowa 12mm t/2.9 Zero-D Cine, uses the PL mount.
The new Laowa 7.5mm and 9mm Cine lenses are the cine-mod version of the existing photo version of Venus Optics best-selling models. Both lenses were re-housed with a step-less aperture rings and focus rings with standard 0.8 mod gears which give videographers extra convenience to use with follow-focus systems. Both of the lenses are the widest available in the market in its class and only weigh 180g (0.4lbs) & 250g (0.55lbs) respectively. Closest focusing distance is both 12cm (0.4 feet). The wide perspective and lightweight makes them the perfect companion for gimbal shooting.
The Laowa 12mm t/2.9 Zero-D Cine in PL mount is the cine-mod version of the existing 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D lens. The lens was rehoused with a step-less, t-stop aperture rings and focus rings with standard 0.8 mod gears for iris and focus pulls. It successfully covers the 35mm Vista Vision sensor size and offers an ultra-wide 122° angle of view, making it one of the world’s widest and fastest available option for shooting with large sensors. Venus Optics says that “despite the ultra-wide field of view, it is perfectly rectilinear and features a close-to-zero distortion rate. The focus flow is extended to 270° for cinematographers to also take advantage of the 0.6 feet (18cm) closest focusing distance. The super lightweight (650g, 1.4lbs) is also an added benefit for cinematographers.”
Despite the fact that Venus Optics now has a selection of true Cine lenses to choose from, that does not mean that the regular lenses from the company should be forgotten, even for video, although they were designed, firstly, with photography in mind. That is true to the models now announced, which expand the choices available to photographers who also shoot moving images.
Micro Four Thirds users now have two new very luminous lenses to explore: the Laowa 12mm f/1.8 MFT and the Laowa 17mm f/1.8 MFT. Both are compact solutions for MFT, the first offering a field of view comparable to 24mm, and the second 35mm. The ultra-fast f/1.8 aperture present on the 12mm allows photographers to take astro photos with ease. The lens houses 13 elements in 10 groups and a 5-blade aperture. The lens can focus as close as 14cm (5.5”) and takes 46mm screw-in filters which gives extra convenience to videographers. It weighs only 165g (0.4 lbs) and its 5cm long (2”).
The second lens for MFT, Laowa 17mm f/1.8, houses 9 elements in 7 groups and have a 5-blade aperture for the best sunstar rendering. The lens is extremely compact and lightweight, weighs only 160g (0.36lbs) and is 5cm (2”) long. A 46cm filter thread is included and the 15cm minimal focus distance make it a perfect lens for videography.
Those looking for extreme wide-angle will also find a MFT solution in the Laowa 4mm f/2.8 Fisheye. Featuring a 210° angle of view, this lens delivers unique circular fisheye field of view on Micro Four Thirds cameras. The ultra-wide angle view allows photographers to create 360° panoramas with ease. Despite the unique & ultra-wide perspective, the lens only weighs 0.3 pounds (135g).
Venus optics also introduced the Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D in Micro Four Thirds mount, which is the 4th variant added to the existing Fuji X, Sony E and EOS-M mounts. The 9mm lens provides a 18mm equivalent angle of view on the Micro Four Thirds sensor. It also has a better vignetting control over the other variants of the same lens. The close-to-zero distortion will remain unchanged, says the company.
Users of Sony full frame E mount cameras also have something from Venous Optics: the Laowa 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 FE Zoom, presented as the widest zoom lens for E mount. Designed primarily for travel photography, Venus optics have managed to compress the size to smallest in its class, less than 4 inch (<10cm) and only 1.1 pounds (<500g). The 102° (18mm) to 130° (10mm) angle of view provides flexibility for photographers to compose landscape or architecture photos with ease. The lens has 14 elements in 10 groups with 2 aspherical elements & 1 extra-low dispersion element, to deliver exceptional performance. It can focus as close as 15cm for some mini-macro shooting. A rear filter slot is included to fit with 37mm filter.
A dedicated filter holder is being developed to fit 100mm-wide filters. Click/clickless aperture can be toggled by the switch on the lens barrel. A 5-blade aperture design ensures a pleasing and clean sunstar rendering. Aware of the interest fo the public regarding the Laowa 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 FE Zoom, Venus Optics will have multiple samples available for free rental during the Photokina event. For reservations, contact Venus Optics via [email protected].
Fujifilm users who own G-mount cameras also have something for them: the Laowa 17mm f/4 GFX Zero-D, again the widest available native lens option for Fujifilm G-mount cameras. The new Laowa 17mm f/4 GFX has a field of view equivalent to 13mm in 35mm format (113°). Featuring a close-to-zero distortion and 86mm filter thread, this lens is ideally suited for landscape, architecture & interior photography. The 21 elements in 14 groups design with 2pcs of aspherical & 3pcs of Extra-low dispersion elements successfully help to control the distortion & chromatic aberrations to the minimal.
The successful launch of the super compact and lightweight 7.5mm f/2 MFT lens for DJI Inspire drones (X5 gimbals), when introduced in 2017, led Venus Optics to prepare a new solution, the Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D (DJI DL), another ultra-wide option to use on DJI Inspire 2 (X7 gimbals). Featuring an effective 118° angle of view, the Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D DJI DL is currently the widest available option for DJI Inspire 2 drones with Zenmuse X7 gimbals. The bigger image circle can cover the size of Super35 sensors and the native DL mount allows an easy lens switching. The lens weighs only 215g and it is super tiny and compact. It comes with a 49mm filter thread and features a close-to-zero optical distortion.
Macro is one area where Venus Optics has become popular, since the introduction of its first lens, so it makes sense to close this note on the introduction of new products at Photokina with the Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO. This new 100mm lens can cover full frame sensor size and focus from 2:1 magnification to infinity. The wide magnification range allows macro photographers to capture subject at any sizes. This 100mm portrait lens also features an apochromatic (APO) characteristic so that no chromatic aberration can be found. The 12 elements in 10 groups optics design delivers a crystal sharpness image in both macro and tele distances. Automatic aperture control feature is available for Canon EF version and Aperture coupling is available for Nikon F mount version, says Venus Optics.
All 12 new lenses will make their Europe debut in Venus Optics’ booth (Hall 2.1, D-040) in Photokina, Cologne during 26th-29th Sept. Pricing and ship date are to be confirmed.