Laowa takes on Hollywood with its first cine lenses – a 12mm superwide

Laowa 12mm t/2.9 Zero-D Cine
(Image credit: Venus Optics)

Innovative lens makers Venus Optics has been teasing us with upcoming cine lenses for a while now, but now the first is available for sale. The Laowa 12mm t/2.9 Zero-D Cine is an adaptation of its Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D – with modifications to the focusing and aperture rings that make it more suitable for use in a professional moviemaking environment.

Laowa claims that this lens provides imaging circle than a normal full-frame lens, which means it can be used on professional cinema cameras using Vista Vision sensors, such as the Red 8K Monstro.

The lens is remarkably lens is remarkably small for its focal length, weight in at just 675g – which Laowa tells us will make it attractive to cinematographers who are using handheld gimbal stabilizers for tracking shots.

(Image credit: Venus Optics)

The lens is constructed of 16 elements in ten groups, including two large aspherical glass elements, with a seven-bladed aperture. It has an impressive close focusing distance of 18cm (7 inches). It has 0.8 mod toothed gears on both the focusing and iris rings for use with a follow focus rig. The focus ring rotates through a full 270° to allow for super-precise manual focusing. 

The lens is available now in Arri PL mount for $1499, with Canon EF and Sony FE mount versions expected to follow at the end of January. The lens comes supplied with a set of shims for back focus adjustment, a stepping ring for use with a matte box, and its own Pelican hard case. 

Read more:
The best cinema cameras in 2019

The best 4K camera for filmmaking

Irix Cine 11mm T4.3 offers wide view for full-frame filmmakers

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Chris George

Chris George has worked on Digital Camera World since its launch in 2017. He has been writing about photography, mobile phones, video making and technology for over 30 years – and has edited numerous magazines including PhotoPlus, N-Photo, Digital Camera, Video Camera, and Professional Photography. 

His first serious camera was the iconic Olympus OM10, with which he won the title of Young Photographer of the Year - long before the advent of autofocus and memory cards. Today he uses a Nikon D800, a Fujifilm X-T1, a Sony A7, and his iPhone 11 Pro.

He has written about technology for countless publications and websites including The Sunday Times Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, Dorling Kindersley, What Cellphone, T3 and Techradar.