Lens review

Venus Optics LAOWA 15 mm f/2 ZERO-D

10 March 2018
Arkadiusz Olech

4. Image resolution

The resolution test (resolution meaning MTF50 function) of the Venus Optics LAOWA 15 mm f/2 FE ZERO D was based on RAW files from the Sony A7R II camera. In the case of that mirrorless device the decency level is situated around 39-41 lpmm and the best fixed-focal lenses can reach 70 lpmm or so. So far the resolution records belong to the Tokina Fírin 20 mm f/2 FE MF (72.6 lpmm), the Voigtlander Apo-Lanthar 65 mm f/2 Aspherical 1:2 Macro and the Sigma C 16 mm f/1.4 DC DN ( both of them got 78.5 lpmm).

Now let’s check how the Laowa 2/15 compares here – the graph below presents its results in the frame centre, on the edge of the APS-C sensor and on the edge of full frame.

Venus Optics LAOWA 15 mm f/2 ZERO-D - Image resolution

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It is clear the tested lens is hardly the sharpest tool in the drawer, mainly because its maximum results. Near f/4.0 it is able to reach about 60 lpmm so a value by more than a dozen lpmm lower than the resolution of the best lenses of this system. You have to admit that difference is big.

Still calling the Laowa a failed lens would be preposterous. The 50-60 lpmm level ensures that you get images of good quality and the maximum relative aperture, with a result of over 49 lpmm, means your photos will be completely useful.

Still small physical dimensions of the lens combined with a bright aperture and an ultra wide angle of view made themselves felt on the edge of the frame. As a result, in order to get an image of a sensible quality on the edge of the APS-C sensor and on the edge of full frame, you have to stop down the aperture to near f/4.0. Additionally even by f/5.6 and f/8.0 the performance can hardly be called good as the MTFs exceed the decency level only slightly.

At the end of this chapter traditionally we present crops taken from photos of our resolution testing chart; they were saved as JPEG files along RAW files used for the analysis presented above.

A7R II, JPEG, f/2.0
Venus Optics LAOWA 15 mm f/2 ZERO-D - Image resolution
A7R II, JPEG, f/4.0
Venus Optics LAOWA 15 mm f/2 ZERO-D - Image resolution