Venus Optics has announced three of its f/2.8 performance prime lenses for the Canon RF and Nikon Z full-frame mirrorless mounts. And, as you'd expect from the manufacturer, the optics are equal parts quirky and cool.
The trio comprises the Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D, the Laowa 25mm f/2.8 2.5-5X Ultra Macro and the Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2x Ultra Macro APO. The former will be the widest native lens for the Canon EOS R (opens in new tab) / RP (opens in new tab), while the latter two will be the first native macro lenses for the and Nikon Z7 (opens in new tab) / Z6 (opens in new tab).
Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D
Hailed as the world's widest f/2.8 rectilinear lens, it also benefits from almost distortion-free rendering thanks to the Zero-D (for zero-distortion, natch) design. As noted, it's the widest optic on both the Canon RF lens roadmap (opens in new tab) and Nikon Z lens roadmap (opens in new tab).
With a 122° angle of view – the widest you'll find on an f/2.8 lens – the Laowa 12mm is the ideal optic for everything from landscapes and travel photography to interiors and astrophotography.
Venus has also added its Frog Eye Coating to the front element, to repel water and dust, making it well suited to challenging outdoor conditions. The lens is available now for RF and Z (as well as the existing Canon EF, Nikon F, Pentax K, Sony A and FE mounts) for an SRP of $849 (£653 / AU$1,241).
Laowa 25mm f/2.8 2.5-5x Ultra Macro
This magnificent macro lens offers between 2.5 and 5 times magnification – and does so at a price far lower than macro lenses from other manufacturers. Canon, for example, makes a 65mm f/2.8 with up to 5x macro, and it costs more than double what Laowa's does.
We were very fond of this optic in our Laowa 25mm f/2.8 2.5-5x lens review (opens in new tab), though it should be noted that it has no focus mechanism and as such can't be used for 'regular' photography; it is a pure macro lens and requires a focusing rail.
It is designed with an extended working distance to facilitate easier shooting as well as accommodate lighting on the subject. Optional LED ring lights and tripod collars are also available. Again the lens is available for the RF and Z mounts now (complementing the EF, F, K, and FE version) for $399 (£307 / AU$583).
Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2x Ultra Macro APO
Unlike the 25mm, Laowa's second macro lens functions as a traditional optic – meaning that it can focus to infinity and, with its 100mm focal length, makes a fantastic portrait lens in addition to its 2:1 magnification.
Like the other two lenses it is a manual focus optic, which is actually preferable for macro work – and perfectly manageable when shooting portraits at f/2.8. Laowa is high on its apochromatic characteristic (the APO in the title) which it claims makes both lateral and longitudinal aberration "invisible".
While the other two optics are already available for order, the Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2x Ultra Macro APO won't start shipping until around March 2020. It will be priced – like the current Canon EF, Nikon AI and Sony FE versions – at $499 (£384 / AU$729).
For more information on all three lenses, visit the Venus Optics website (opens in new tab).
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