First Hands On Review of the Venus Optics Laowa 15mm F/4 1:1 Macro Lens

Jun 23, 2015

Will Chao

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First Hands On Review of the Venus Optics Laowa 15mm F/4 1:1 Macro Lens

Jun 23, 2015

Will Chao

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

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Hey everyone, thanks for visiting! I’m Will Chao, a wedding photographer in Melbourne. When I was first asked to review this lens, I didn’t believe such a lens existed and thought it was a low quality toy lens. I mean, how could I? A lens of this type has been unheard of until now, and suffice to say I was very pleasantly surprised.

TB2l8MOcFXXXXcPXXXXXXXXXXXX_7888195401First let’s look at the specs, 15mm Ultrawide, metal barrel (at least I think it’s metal from the way it feels), takes 77mm filters, that’s already spectacular, considering most lenses this wide is either very bulky or cannot take conventional filters.

Secondly, this lens features 6mm perspective shifting, either up or down, allowing you to correct perspective lines for architecture shots. Usually this is a feature reserved for high end specialty lenses such as the amazing Canon 17mm F4.0 TS-E, but that lens is beyond most people’s reach in terms of price.

Not only that, this lens also features 1:1 macro capabilities! The first of its kind, although be warned – The focus distance is next to zero, so be prepared to have quite a challenge if you wish to photograph moving insects with it! If achieved however, the results are very unique and the kind of perspective you get really makes you feel quite small.

Here’s a sample of the perspective control in action: (Note all pictures shown are straight out of camera RAW converted in Adobe Lightroom).

before-after

Here’s the 100% crop of the above image, the lens currently doesn’t support electric aperture control so it shows up as F00 in camera, I can’t remember what aperture this was taken with but I think it was around F8.

100-crop

But high quality optics? Boring! Perspective control? Done before! That’s not what everybody’s talking about, because this is..

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How about a ring shot for wedding lovers? (shot at ISO 6400 under very dim light, brightened and converted to black and white to hide the poor image quality..shhhh)

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As this is a rather rushed review, as I am just so overly excited to get the information out there, I haven’t yet explored any further macro opportunities out there, stay tuned and expect a comparison with Canon’s very own 16-35 and 14mm soon! (along with much more macro shots! once I can find a decent enough subject).

 

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Will Chao is a wedding photographer based in Melbourne, Australia. You can follow his work on his website or on Facebook.

This article was originally published here and shared with permission.

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8 responses to “First Hands On Review of the Venus Optics Laowa 15mm F/4 1:1 Macro Lens”

  1. Alan Aurmont Avatar
    Alan Aurmont

    Can’t wait to see some creative 1:1 macros with this lens. The sample promo shots from the company’s website look absolutely dope and otherworldly. Wow!

  2. Paul Menard Avatar
    Paul Menard

    i want…

  3. Taylor Pettijohn Avatar
    Taylor Pettijohn

    Looks pretty cool

  4. Daniel Stagner Avatar
    Daniel Stagner

    What camera did you use? I heard the shift functionality only works on crop sensors, at least without vignetting.

    1. Will Avatar
      Will

      I was testing this on a Canon 5D Mark III, I haven’t actually spotted any visible vignetting, at least not more visible than say the 16-35 F2.8

      Or maybe I was testing it wrong, idk..

  5. Sergey Mashchenko Avatar
    Sergey Mashchenko

    Can you tell how many aperture blades your copy has? Venus claims it has 14 blades, but on the rear view photos it clearly shows as 6 blades.
    Thanks!

    1. Canis Dirus Avatar
      Canis Dirus

      The original prototypes had 6…released with 14…excellent bokeh.

  6. Simon W Avatar
    Simon W

    Looking forward to giving this lens a whirl on a wedding. I usually play with a 50mm macro, but this would make a nice change.