Laowa has today announced their new 11mm f/4.5 FF RL lens. It’s a tiny lens for its short focal length and wide field of view at only 58mm long and weighing a mere 254g. It’s a rectilinear lens, not a fisheye, and it’s designed to offer complete coverage on full-frame mirrorless cameras.
With a 126° field of view, the lens actually has a front 62mm filter thread. Laowa boasts it as the widest rectilinear lens ever made for full-frame that does actually have a filter thread. Despite its small stature, though, the price is a little more than some might hope for.
Being a rectilinear lens, and not a fisheye, it means that as you get out towards the edges of the frame, straight lines should still appear relatively straight. Of course, you’ll get some perspective distortion on any lens this wide, but you won’t see that crazy barrel distortion that you get with a fisheye. This makes it ideal for landscapes, travel and interior photographers.
This ultra-wide 126° field of view also makes this manual focus lens ideal for filmmakers looking to create a nice wide field of view that they can crop down to a 2.4:1 aspect ratio in the edit (as shown in the video above).
|Angle of view||126°|
|Mount||Leica M, Leica L, Sony FE, Nikon Z|
|Focus type||Manual Focus|
|Optics||14 elements in 10 groups|
|Min focus distance||19cm (7.4")|
|Dimensions||63.5 x 58mm|
It’s not a terribly fast lens but at this small size, you couldn’t really expect it to have f/1.4 levels of performance. That being said, it seems to work quite well in low light conditions.
As you can see from the images above, the ultra-wide field of view offers a unique perspective on the scene that you can’t otherwise get. And the rectlinear design means you get that view without the issues inherent with fisheye lenses.
It has five aperture blades, creating 10-point stars on light sources like the sun or other lights that may appear in your scene, which can be quite attractive, depending on the look you’re going for. For filmmakers, the wide angle of this lens makes it a great potential option for those nice vistas and establishing shots (the image above looks pretty awesome when cropped to 2.4:1, for example).
This isn’t going to be the lens for every situation you may face, or even many of the situations you face, but when you need something ultra-wide, well, this is the kind of lens you need. Such lenses can offer an interesting perspective to an otherwise dull scene, letting you fit more into the frame than you’d otherwise be able to, either because your subject is so vast or you’re shooting in a cramped space.
The Laowa 11mm f/4.5 FF RL is available to pre-order now for $699 in Leica L, Nikon Z and Sony FE mounts with shipping beginning mid-September. It’s $799 for Leica M version in either Black or Silver with shipping for that one starting in late September.