Chinese lens manufacturer Venus Optics is unveiling three new Micro Four Thirds lenses at the Photokina 2018 trade show in Cologne. The three Laowa-branded wide-angle primes are designed to work with a range of mirrorless cameras from Panasonic, Olympus and Blackmagic that use the MFT mount.
Laowa 17mm f/1.8 MFT
The 17mm gives the equivalent to a focal 35mm wide-angle on a full-frame 35mm SLR. The lens houses nine elements in seven groups, and has a five-blade diaphragm to gove a traditional sunstar rendering in out-of-focus highlights. The lens is compact and weighs just 160g. It has a minimum focus of 15cm and has a 46mm filter thread.
Laowa 12mm f/1.8 MFT
The 12mm is equally compact weighs in at 165g. With an equivalent focal length of 24mm, its wide maximum apertue is designed to make it particularly useful for astrophotography. It is constructed from 13 elements in seven groups. It has a five-bladed aperture, a close fcousing distance of 13cm, and takes a 46mm diameter front filter.
Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D MFT
This ultra-wideangle 9mm Zero-D (zero distortion) lens is made available for the MFT mount for the first time – having previously been produced for Fujifilm X, Sony E and Canon EOS-M fits. It is made using 15 elements in 10 groups. It has a seven bladed aperture, and a minimum focus of 12cm. It weighs 215g, and has a 49mm filter thread.
The Laowa lenses are among eight different optics that will be shown for the first time by the manufacturer, which has made a reputation for making unusual lenses – such as its weird-looking 24mm Probe Macro lens. Earlier this year it announced four other new lenses that are in development, including a 10-18mm superwide zoom for Sony E-mount cameras, and a 7.5mm MFT-fit Fisheye.
The other new lenses to be unveiled at Photokina are all designed for cine use:
• Laowa OOOM 25-100mm t/2.9 Cine Lightweight Zoom - the company's first zoom for professional cinematography
• Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D lens designed specifically for use with DJI Inspire 2 drones with Zen Muse D7 gimbals
• Laowa 7.5mm t/2.1 Cine (MFT mount)
• Laowa 9mm t/2.9 Zero-D Cine (Sony E mount)
• Laowa 12mm t/2.9 Zero-D Cine
The prices and availability for all eight of these lenses have yet to be announced.