Laowa Argus 28mm F1.2 FF review

The Laowa Argus 28mm F1.2 FF is all things bright and beautiful, up to a point

Laowa FF II Argus 28mm F1.2
(Image: © Matthew Richards)

Digital Camera World Verdict

Super-fast lenses aren’t always big, heavy and expensive. This full-frame compatible Laowa wide-angle lens for mirrorless cameras cuts everything down to size with a modest size, weight and selling price, despite having an f/1.2 aperture rating and robust metal construction. It’s a fully manual lens, so you need to set the focus distance and aperture via onboard control rings, but it works and handles well, delivering very pleasing image quality.


  • +

    High-quality construction

  • +

    Impressive image quality and handling

  • +

    Click/de-click aperture ring switch


  • -

    Manual focus and aperture control

  • -

    Mediocre wide-aperture edge-sharpness

  • -

    Not weather-sealed

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The Laowa Argus 28mm F1.2 FF from Venus Optics follows in the confident footsteps of several predecessors in the Argus range, designed for both full-frame and crop-sensor mirrorless cameras. Previous lenses in the series have all shared an ultra-fast 0.95 aperture rating, but the 28mm is about an f/stop slower at f/1.2. That’s still super-fast in our books and an upside is that the lens is surprisingly compact and lightweight for such a speedy, full-frame compatible prime. Engineered for mirrorless cameras, it’s available in Canon RF, Leica L, Nikon Z (FX) and Sony E (FE) mount options, the L-mount version also hitting the marque for Panasonic and Sigma bodies.


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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.