Smaller, Lighter, Wider
This is the first time that Better Photography has reviewed a lens made for aerial photography applications. Saruhan Firat tests the lens on land to find out how good it is for general shooting.
Laowa, also known as Venus Optics in the imaging industry, is well known for offeringspecial purpose manual lenses for different camera mounts. The Laowa 7.5mm f/2 is the only widest rectilinear lens available for MFT camera systems. There are two versions of this particular lens—One is intended for generic photography, and the other one, which is lighter by 20g, is well suited for use with gimbals and drones. Apart from the weight difference, there is no distinction in the optical formula of the lens. However, to reduce weight, some of its parts have been redesigned and replaced.
When connected with a Micro Four Thirds system, the lens gives a field of view that is equivalent to a 15mm lens on a full-frame sensor. As the MFT sensor offers 2x multiplication factor, this effective focal length allows MFT users to enjoy an impressive 110° ultra-wide angle view, for an expansive range of shooting. The optical formula of the lens consists of two aspherical elements and three extra-low dispersion elements. This controls distortion and aberrations, for improved clarity and sharpness. The optical elements are arranged in 9 groups and has a total of 13 elements. A Frog Eye Coating has also been applied to the front element, to guard against water and dust.
This is a full time manual focus lens, with no electronics built-in. The lens has no electronic contact at the mount. So there’s no communication with drones/gimbals, and therefore, there is no electronic control of the aperture or focus. So when you mount the lens on the camera, you need to enable the setting that allows shooting without the lens, from the menu. The aperture is adjusted mechanically (directly on the lens), thereby restricting the use of programs that actively adjusts the aperture. It is best, however, to use the aperture priority setting.
I used this lens on my Panasonic GX85 camera, whereby the combination was light and was balanced well in my hand. Considering the weight, I was expecting more use of plastic, but the outer shell is made up of metal and the hood is also metallic.
- Small size
- Filter attachmentpossible
- Lens hood included
- No electronics
- No weather seals