Laowa’s super compact 14mm f/4 full-frame Zero-D lens uses small 52mm filters

Sep 18, 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’s super compact 14mm f/4 full-frame Zero-D lens uses small 52mm filters

Sep 18, 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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Venus Optics has announced a new compact full-frame rectilinear 14mm f/4 Zero-D lens for mirrorless camera systems. And it’s available for just about all FF mirrorless mounts, including Nikon Z, Canon RF, Sony FE, Leica L and even Leica M. Laowa says that despite its small stature, the ultra-wide manual focus Laowa 14mm f/4 FF RL Zero-D lens does not compromise on performance.

YouTube video

Offering a 114° field of view in such a small lens is impressive enough as it is, but to give it their Zero-D moniker just sounds insane. Looking at the images in Christopher Frost’s review above, though, there is very little distortion indeed. Designed for “urban explorers”, it’s very compact, measuring only 58mm in diameter, 59mm long, housing a 52mm filter thread and weighing only 228g.

Focal length14mm
Max aperturef/4
Min aperturef/22
Angle of view114°
FormatFull-Frame
MountLeica M, Leica L, Sony FE, Nikon Z, Canon RF
Focus typeManual Focus
Lens typeRectilinear
Optics13 elements in 9 groups
Filter thread52mm
Aperture blades5
Min focus distance27cm (10.62″)
Dimensions58 x 59mm
Weight228g

Despite having a 52mm filter thread, it appears the lens hood is fixed and built into the lens, which might make it somewhat tricky to actually install and remove them. But they also offer a specially designed magnetic filter holder which allows photographers to use standard 100mm square and rectangular filters with no vignetting.

The 5-blade aperture creates “perfect 10-point sunstar rendering”, Venus Optics says about the new lens, which can be created by simply stopping down the aperture. They certainly help to add some sparkle to night shots.

Image: WenTai DaShu

you can also see in the image above, given the number of straight lines, just how little barrel or pincushion distortion this lens presents – which is just phenomenal in a lens of this size and weight. And from the sample images, it looks equally as impressive at night for long exposure astrophotography as it does during the day, despite its relatively small f/4 aperture.

Image: XuNuo
Image: Chen Can Ming
Image: Chen Can Ming

I just don’t understand how they can make such a wide lens this small with so little distortion, but it’s very impressive. How is this even possible?

The Laowa 14mm f/4 FF RL Zero-D is available to pre-order now for $549 in Sony FE, Canon RF, Nikon Z and Leica L mounts and $649 for Leica M mount. The Leica M (Black), Leica L, Nikon Z and Sony E mount versions begin shipping in late September and Leica M (Silver) and Canon RF mount versions will ship from late October.

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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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