New Venus Laowa 7.5mm f/2: first impressions and a few questions...

martink111

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Oct 31, 2012
Messages
104
Location
Orange County, CA
So after a whole lot of internal debate, I finally broke down and picked up the Laowa 7.5 over the other obvious choices (Pany 7-14 f4, Pany 8-18 f2.8-4 or Oly 7-14 f2.8). My rationale for the Laowa ended up being simple: I could either look for a walk-around replacement that I'd be comfortable using in place of my 12-40 OR a small but capable accessory lens that would be used along with the 12-40. That kind of ruled out the 7-14's for me since they would need a normal to go with them, so it was either the 8-18 or the Laowa. The Laowa won out on price and size: I simply don't see the ultra-wide zoom being able to match a fast standard zoom in normal use so its 7.5 and 12-40 for me.

Now that I got to play with it, I can only say I'm really perplexed with this lens. This lens is simply a strange beast: Wide open it is incredibly sharp in the center, beating my Oly 12f2 handily. Edges, not so much, but still plenty useable. However, it gets strange as you stop it down. Wide open the lens is clearly takes in less light at the same scene and settings as my other fast wide lenses. For example, where the oly will get 1/6400th of a second with a given scene at f2, the Laowa will be around 1/5000th or so. However, when you stop it down, it doesn't lose full stops but rather closer to 1/2 to 2/3rd stops, to the point where eventually the same exposure at f5.6 on the Oly will get 1/800th but the Laowa will be at 1/1600th. By f22, the Oly will be down to 1/50th while the Laowa will still be up to 1/320th. On top of that, by f16, the other lenses will be noticeably softer, and absolutely worthless at f22, whereas the Laowa will be perfectly useable all the way to f22!

The only explanation I can think of here is that the lenses aperture settings are mis-calibrated... by a lot. What it thinks is f22 is actually closer to f8 and that the "full stop" clicks are actually half-stops. Has anyone here run into this on the Laowa lenses before, or am I missing something? Overall I'm pretty impressed- it is sharp and very dramatic. It does take a whole lot more care in composition: my first attempts with this have been less than stellar, but so far I see some real potential here. Thanks in advance for your input, guys.

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

A sample of the simply amazing hand-holdability: a full five second shot! (EM1 mk ii)

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

That is a lot of scenery!

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

Finally a lens that I can get true hyperfocal shots with. Composition could be better, but this thing has some potential.

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

Shot directly into the sun. Surprisingly, the flair isn't too terrible (but clearly some contrast lost).

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

Colors and detail are lovely, but very warm. I'm having a heck of a time setting white balance on this thing.

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

My kid hunting hermit crabs. Love the ability to pull the subject right into the scene with this focal length.

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

Close-up wide open. Good subject isolation, but heavy distortion. Makes for a dramatic shot.

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

Should have stopped this down a bit, but I liked the water.

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

Getting dangerous here....

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

Impressive closeup capability

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)



Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

Attachments

SojiOkita

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
1,389
Location
France
Now that I got to play with it, I can only say I'm really perplexed with this lens. This lens is simply a strange beast: Wide open it is incredibly sharp in the center, beating my Oly 12f2 handily. Edges, not so much, but still plenty useable. However, it gets strange as you stop it down. Wide open the lens is clearly takes in less light at the same scene and settings as my other fast wide lenses. For example, where the oly will get 1/6400th of a second with a given scene at f2, the Laowa will be around 1/5000th or so. However, when you stop it down, it doesn't lose full stops but rather closer to 1/2 to 2/3rd stops, to the point where eventually the same exposure at f5.6 on the Oly will get 1/800th but the Laowa will be at 1/1600th. By f22, the Oly will be down to 1/50th while the Laowa will still be up to 1/320th. On top of that, by f16, the other lenses will be noticeably softer, and absolutely worthless at f22, whereas the Laowa will be perfectly useable all the way to f22!
I just made a quick test with mine, with spot exposure (to avoid having too much influence from vignetting that is pretty heavy at the highest apertures.
From f / 2 - 2.8 - 4 - 5.6 - 8 - 11 - 22, I got: 1/1250 - 1/800 - 1/500 - 1/250 - 1/125 - 1/100 - 1/50 - 1/30
There's a strange step between f/8 and f/11, but it's not too bad.

With my 17 /1.8, at the same aperture values, I got: 1/1250 - 1/640 - 1/320 - 1/160 - 1/80 - 1/40 - 1/20 - 1/10.
I can't say if the spot measure is exactly the same, as the focal length is very different, but the steps are exactly how they should be.
To be more fair I should compare with another completely manual lens, like the Samyang 7.5 fisheye.
 

WaltP

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Oct 2, 2012
Messages
1,304
Location
Colorado, USA, Terra, Sol, W. Milky Way
Yes, several threads have documented the uneven aperture settings, but you should consider returning yours for a better copy. Generally, people have said the results are good enough to put up with the uneven apertures. Yes, I also have some color shifting, but not much, easily corrected.
Makes a great combo with a 12-40 or 12-60.
 

SojiOkita

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
1,389
Location
France
On mine, the aperture values are good enough for my use (I get nice starbusts when I step down to f/16 or f/22).
If I need long expostures, I've got ND filters.
Apart from this I find the lens very sharp, much sharper than any other wide angle lens I've used, and it's a pleasure to use.
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2017
Messages
378
Location
Thessaly, Greece
Apart from this I find the lens very sharp, much sharper than any other wide angle lens I've used, and it's a pleasure to use.
Cropped down, until what mm would you say it is good enough sharpness wise?
I am considering this instead of the 9-18 that would not be used beyond 14mm.
If the 7.5 is good enough when cropped down to 12mm FOV it may suit my needs better despite slower MF.
 

SojiOkita

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
1,389
Location
France
I replaced my 9-18 with it (I was using mostly at 9 mm).
I rarely crop the pictures though.
However, I compared cropped 9 mm from the Laowa and 9 mm from the 9-18, the Laowa images are far better.
I liked my 9-18 but the corners were poor.
 

SojiOkita

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
1,389
Location
France
thanx! Ehm... can you tell if at a 12mm crop is it any softer than the 9-18?
I didn't tested this, because I still have my 12-32 which was already a lot better at 12 mm than the 9-18.
Not that the image quality of the 9-18 was ever a real problem though.
 

WaltP

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Oct 2, 2012
Messages
1,304
Location
Colorado, USA, Terra, Sol, W. Milky Way
Cropped down, until what mm would you say it is good enough sharpness wise?
I am considering this instead of the 9-18 that would not be used beyond 14mm.
If the 7.5 is good enough when cropped down to 12mm FOV it may suit my needs better despite slower MF.
It depends on your standards, but I would say that 12mm is just about the limit. But I'm too picky for some - so you should try it. Get a few full images and put them in YOUR software in YOUR work flow and decide. The Showcase on this forum should have images to download.
 

SojiOkita

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
1,389
Location
France
I agree, 12 mm is approximately 40% of the surface of the initial picture. I think this is a little extreme.
 

pcr1040

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Sep 14, 2015
Messages
240
I didn't tested this, because I still have my 12-32 which was already a lot better at 12 mm than the 9-18.
Not that the image quality of the 9-18 was ever a real problem though.
I appreciate your experience with the 12-32 Pana Vs the Oly 9-18. Are you saying that the Pana 12-32 produces better sharpness that the Oly 9-18? That is at variance with my experience. I have both lenses and IMHO, the 9-18 is IMHO, noticeable sharper than the 12-32 Pana. Of course there may well be variation sample to sample, but I doubt that could account for a marked difference between these two lenses.
 
Joined
Jun 19, 2016
Messages
221
Real Name
Mike Peters
The weird aperture, shutter speed thing is a by product of heavy vignetting wide open. It actually does let in an f2.0 amount of light in the middle of the frame, but towards the edge it probably looses a stop. When you stop down, although overall brightness is lost, it might not appear to be a full stops worth. By f4.0 it's pretty even, and 5.6 is probably as small as you want to go to avoid diffraction.

In this post, https://www.mu-43.com/threads/lumix-g9-for-milky-way.100248/#post-1265088, I shot wide open and it's pretty darn sharp to the edges. Focus is very tricky with this lens. If/when you nail it, it's super sharp. In my experience if it's not sharp it's because I missed focus.
 

martink111

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Oct 31, 2012
Messages
104
Location
Orange County, CA
I kind of figured that was the case and to be honest I have kind of come to terms with this lens. Yes it is weird but it is also amazing. I would recommend it over the 9-18 any day. It definitely brings out the creativity in you...
 

Attachments

Bushboy

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Apr 22, 2018
Messages
982
Location
Aotearoa
Real Name
Charlie
These wide lenses, I read somewhere that they’re supposed to be in focus just about anywhere?
I have the 12mmf2 Olympus, and I now take care to manual focus it for every shot, because of unreliable results with the autofocus mode. I think it might’ve be helping, but have not used it enough to be sure. Am I paranoid?
 

martink111

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Oct 31, 2012
Messages
104
Location
Orange County, CA
These wide lenses, I read somewhere that they’re supposed to be in focus just about anywhere?
I have the 12mmf2 Olympus, and I now take care to manual focus it for every shot, because of unreliable results with the autofocus mode. I think it might’ve be helping, but have not used it enough to be sure. Am I paranoid?
Surprisingly enough, even with a 15 mm equivalent I still have to be careful with my focus for no other reason than the lens is sharp enough that it’s pretty obvious when it’s not fully in focus. Sure you could stop it down to 56 or F8 and at normal viewing distances it would seem OK but pixel peeping you would clearly see a difference versus verifying your focus before shooting
 

Robertom

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Dec 2, 2018
Messages
32
I can buy red version in good price .
Do you have any idea blue and red have got the same optics?

I understand that red one can be plastic , and blue is metal build .
 

Latest posts

Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Mu-43 is a fan site and not associated with Olympus, Panasonic, or other manufacturers mentioned on this site.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Copyright © 2009-2019 Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom