One of the more exciting things to pop up at NAB 2023 was Laowa’s entry into the world of full-frame cinema zoom lenses. The company is launching two lenses – although there’s no word when yet. There are two lenses, which combine to offer an extremely wide focal range of 28mm all the way up to 180mm. The two lenses are the Laowa Range 28-75mm and 75-180mm T2.9 lenses.
Despite being wide aperture T2.9 lenses, despite being zoom lenses and despite being cinema lenses, both lenses are quite compact. We got the chance to not only find out more about them at the show, but we also got to have a bit of a play with them and shoot a little sample footage. We were very impressed.
Both lenses are quite small for their focal length range and wide aperture. Despite this, both lenses are parfocal and offer virtually no focus breathing, as you can see from the sample footage in the interview at the top of this post. The operation of the focus, aperture and zoom rings is very smooth, and all three are geared, allowing for full control via follow focus unit or motors. They both have a 77mm front filter mount with an 80mm front diameter.
While they are cinema zooms, they’re probably more useful for run-and-gun documentary work than more controlled cinematic storytelling. They have the size and weight advantage that benefits documentary perfectly. That being said, Laowa said the lenses will be competitively priced and will serve as a good introduction to full-frame cinema zooms for those just getting started and buying their first cinema lenses.
You’ll have to wait a little while for them, though. The lenses at the show were the final stage prototypes. They’re not quite ready for prime time just yet.
Price and Availability
At the moment, there are no prices available on the Laowa Ranger lenses, although they are expected to be priced lower than that of the Laowa 25-100mm T2.9 Super 35mm OOOM lens at launch. While it’s seen a bit of a price break of late, that lens was $5,000 when first released. There’s no availability date yet, either, although more information is expected to be coming during Cinegear at the beginning of June.
We’ll keep you posted when we hear more!