Laowa 12-24mm f/5.6 review

The Laowa 12-24mm f/5.6 is certainly good value, but its performance and size work against it

Laowa 12-24mm f/5.6
(Image: © Rod Lawton)

Digital Camera World Verdict

It’s definitely worth considering the Laowa 12-24mm f/5.6 as a low-cost full frame ultra-wide zoom – it’s a lot cheaper than anything from the camera makers themselves. But the f/5.6 maximum aperture is somewhat restrictive and doesn’t translate into smaller, lighter lens, either. The main thing though is its lackluster optical performance. It’s cheaper than its rivals, but hard to recommend wholeheartedly.


  • +

    Ultra-wide angle of view

  • +

    Excellent build and ‘feel’

  • +

    Value for money


  • -

    Restrictive f/5.6 maximum aperture

  • -

    Patchy optical performance

  • -

    Not especially small, considering

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Full-frame ultra-wide-angle zooms are typically big, heavy and expensive. That last part – expense – is where the Laowa 12-24mm f/5.6 really scores. It’s half the price of its cheapest own-brand rivals, but boasts a distortion-free optical design that most modern lenses need digital correction profiles to achieve.

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Rod Lawton

Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW's Group Reviews editor. Before that he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar, as well as contributing to many other publications. 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. Rod has his own camera gear blog at but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at