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The Laowa 9mm f/5.6 will be the widest full frame non-fisheye lens ever!

Laowa ultra-wide lenses
(Image credit: Nikon Rumors)

Laowa has already revealed the development of three new wide-angle prime lenses to fit the Leica M rangefinder mount, which is news in itself, but now we hear via Photo Rumors that these new lenses will also be made in Nikon Z, Sony E, Leica M, and L mounts too. And one of these lenses is an astonishing 9mm f/5.6 rectilinear wide-angle – NOT a fisheye, in other words.

Until now, the widest lens we've ever seen is the Samyang XP 10mm f/3.5 (opens in new tab). To put this in (very wide) perspective, in full frame camera terms, a 14mm lens is normally considered a super-wide lens, and 12mm is an ultra-wide. Canon's exceptional EF 11-24mm f4L USM zoom is a little wider still, but against these, the planned Laowa 9mm f/5.6 is simply off the scale. 

The news is being widely distributed on rumor sites and Leica Rumors (opens in new tab) has published the following hands on video on its Instagram feed.

One of the new #VenusOptics #Laowa lenses for #Leica M-mount LeicaRumors.com 🔴 (opens in new tab)

A photo posted by @leicarumors on Jan 19, 2020 at 6:20pm PST

The Laowa 9mm f/5.6 is just one of three new prime lenses coming from Laowa. Initially, these were announced for the Leica M (rangefinder) lens mount, but we now hear that these lenses will also be made available in Nikon Z, Sony FE and Panasonic/Leica/Sigma L mount versions. The other lenses in this trio of Laowa wide-angles are an 11mm f/4.5 and a 14mm f/4.

Sony is the brand with the widest mirrorless lens range right now, but even Sony doesn't have lenses quite like the new Laowa offerings. Nikon Z and L mount cameras currently don't have any wide primes in this range.

Even Leica fans might be tempted by the M mount versions. Leica's audience is pretty limited due to the cost of its cameras, and if you can afford $8,300 for the new Leica M10 Monochrom (opens in new tab), you're probably not very interested in low-cost lenses... but the Laowa 9mm f/5.6 goes wider than anything else out there. We've used the Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D (opens in new tab) APS-C lens and found it pretty exceptional, so we can't wait to try the 9mm f/5.6.

Details are scarce right now, but from the pictures we've seen the new lenses will have the compact form factor we're used to seeing from Laowa. The manual focus design means less space is needed for complex AF actuators and moving focus elements.

We'll bring more news on these lenses, including prices hopefully, just as soon as we get it.

Read more:

• These are the best Sony lenses (opens in new tab) right now
• The best wide-angle lenses for Canon (opens in new tab)
• The best wide-angle lenses for Nikon (opens in new tab)
• This is the latest Panasonic lens roadmap

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Rod is the Group Reviews editor for Digital Camera World and across Future's entire photography portfolio, with decades of experience with cameras of all kinds. Previously he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more.