Laowa’s new Argus 35mm f/0.95 is the widest aperture full-frame 35mm lens in the world

Sep 10, 2021

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’s new Argus 35mm f/0.95 is the widest aperture full-frame 35mm lens in the world

Sep 10, 2021

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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Venus Optics has just announced the new Laowa Argus 35mm f/0.95 full-frame lens for Sony E, Nikon Z and Canon RF mounts. Laowa says that it’s the fastest full-frame 35mm lens in the world and the first offer an f0.95 aperture. It provides a 63.4° field of view with “extraordinary shallow depth of field and creamy bokeh”. For the video shooters, they say it provides a long throw on the focus wheel and the aperture can run either clicked or declicked with the flick of a switch.

Photographer Richard Wong has managed to get his hands on one for a bit of a play and has put a video together going over its features and showing off some sample photos shot with it using the Nikon Z6. For the filmmakers, though, it looks like it might have a little more focus breathing than some of you would like. There isn’t a massive amount of focus breathing, but it’s noticeable.

YouTube video

Judging from Richard’s video, it looks to be a pretty nice looking lens with a fairly low level of distortion – there’s some, but you probably won’t notice it unless photographing a grid – that’s still pretty sharp even wide open, although Richard does say it performs best when stopped down to f/4. It also seems to have a lot of lens flare if you have light sources in your shot – whether or not this is desirable, though, will be somewhat subjective. Some will hate it but J.J. Abrams will love it.

Focal length35mm
FormatFull-frame
Max aperturef/0.95
Min aperturef/16
Angle of view63.4°
Optics14 elements in 9 groups
Aperture blades15
Min focus distance50cm
Filter thread72mm
Dimensions76.8 x 103mm
Weight755g
MountsSony E, Nikon Z, Canon RF

The lens is, naturally, manual focus and there’s no kind of stabilisation, either. So, if you need stabilisation, you’ll want to use a body with IBIS. But that f/0.95 aperture means that if you’re going to be shooting in low light, you can go with faster shutter speeds that might not necessarily need stabilisation anyway. In brighter conditions, you’ll almost certainly want to add some ND over the lens if you want to shoot it wide open.

Price-wise, it doesn’t look too bad at all, although it isn’t available through the usual retailers yet. Right now, the Laowa Argus 35mm f/0.95 is available to buy now for $899 on the Laowa website in Sony E, Nikon Z or Canon RF mounts, although there’s no word on exactly when they’ll start shipping or how soon we can expect them to appear at other retailers.

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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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