Venus Optics, a Chinese lens manufacturer established in 2013, has released several interesting manual focus lenses, but perhaps none as intriguing as the Laowa 15mm F2 FE Zero-D. This lens, for Sony Full Frame E-mount cameras, strikes a unique balance with its small size, wide field of view (110 degrees) and fast aperture. Even more impressive is its promise of almost zero distortion. Venus Optics claims that it is ‘the world’s fastest 15mm rectilinear lens for full-frame.’
At $850 MSRP, it’s also priced competitively. So how does it hold up in the field? Read on.
The build quality of this lens is very good. At 500 g (17.6 oz) it’s not too heavy but has some heft to balance out the weight of the camera (I shot mostly with a Sony a7R II). The body and lens mount are all made of metal, as is the accessory lens hood. In hand, it has a reassuringly dense and sturdy feel to it.
The focus ring is slightly stiffer than I’d expected, but still rotates smoothly. Perhaps with a little use, it will loosen up. A focus scale is helpful for hyperfocal focusing, but for absolute accuracy you’ll want to use the camera’s focus magnifier. I programed a button on our a7R II to this function. The focus rings turns slightly past infinity but on our copy, infinity lined up pretty closely with the center of the infinity symbol on the lens.
|The Venus 15mm F2 is a nice complimentary size and weight to the a7r II.|
The Venus 15mm F2 has a 72mm filter thread, which is a nice feature, especially for videographers who → continue…