Laowa new super compact ultra-wide 11mm f/4.5 full-frame lens actually has a front filter thread

Aug 28, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Laowa new super compact ultra-wide 11mm f/4.5 full-frame lens actually has a front filter thread

Aug 28, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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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.

YouTube video

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).

Focal length12mm
Max aperturef/4.5
Min aperturef/22
Angle of view126°
FormatFull-Frame
MountLeica M, Leica L, Sony FE, Nikon Z
Focus typeManual Focus
Lens typeRectilinear
Optics14 elements in 10 groups
Filter thread62mm
Aperture blades5
Min focus distance19cm (7.4″)
Dimensions63.5 x 58mm
Weight254g

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.

Image: John Hanson
Image: Richard Wong

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.

Image: John Hanson

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).

Image: Xunuo

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.

Image: John Hanson

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.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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4 responses to “Laowa new super compact ultra-wide 11mm f/4.5 full-frame lens actually has a front filter thread”

  1. Joost Avatar
    Joost

    How the hell is this so small (4,5 is not that fast, but also not slow) – compared to say Irix 11mm f4? Well done!

  2. David Rosso Avatar
    David Rosso

    I using Lens Canon 70-200mm RF near half-year and I can say that this lens really can make professional photos. But I’m already thinking about buying a new one and get new experience in photography.

    1. Jolyon Ralph Avatar
      Jolyon Ralph

      Thank you for spamming the replies with an irrelevant video and link. Much appreciated.

  3. Niko Avatar
    Niko

    the last photo is from Bastian from the https://phillipreeve.net/blog/ not from John Hanson