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Lens review

Venus Optics LAOWA 9 mm f/2.8 ZERO-D

20 April 2018
Arkadiusz Olech

11. Summary

Pros:

  • solid, meta casing which is also small,
  • sensational image quality in the frame centre,
  • negligible longitudinal chromatic aberration,
  • slight lateral chromatic aberration,
  • lack of problems related to spherical aberration,
  • sensible distortion correction,
  • moderate astigmatism.

Cons:

  • weak image quality on the edge of the frame near f/2.8,
  • huge vignetting,
  • inferior performance against bright light.
The Venus Optics LAOWA 9 mm f/2.8 ZERO-D is undoubtedly a very interesting lens which fared in our tests even better than its brother we praised so much, the Venus Optics LAOWA 7.5 mm f/2 MFT. We got no negative surprises because, looking at its physical dimensions, we expected high vignetting and not especially impressive resolution results on the edge of the frame. Still we have to admit the edge was better than expected and the values in the frame centre, so close to resolution records, surprised us very nicely for a change. We have no qualms about recommending this lens to any prospective buyers, as long as they are aware of its limitations.

I got the Laowa 2.8/9 before going to one of our Photomission trips to Iceland. As the distributor didn’t have any objections I decided to take that lens with me. That’s why this test is exceptional – my opinion is much more practical than usually because I took more than one thousand photos with this lens in field conditions. My conclusions are completely positive. Because of the Laowa’s efficiency I’ve enjoyed one of most problem-free expeditions ever. In fact I must say I didn’t detach the lens from my camera body for a moment; situations when I had to make use of the Fujinon 18-55 mm could be counted on fingers of my two hands. What’s more, I had no problems whatsoever with focusing – almost 100% of time it was enough the ring was set in one position. I just took out a small camera with a tiny lens attached to it (sometimes I added an equally small ND filter) and I shot – nice and easy. I enjoyed it even more as the wide angle of view allowed me to approach photographed objects and take photos from a very close distance and still I could be sure they fitted the frame. It is a huge advantage when you visit Iceland – you can stand before a group of tourists shooting the same scene with their smartphones and you’ll never have to include them in your frame.

More than a dozen of photos from Iceland are featured in our sample shots gallery. Mind you, as always, we present only shots without any processing and/or embellishment, straight from our camera, with the minimum sharpening level applied and taken without any filters. As I’ve already started to write about practical aspects of work with the tested lens, below you can see several processed photos, improved with toggles of photo editing software and sometimes shot with the help of the ND 1000 Marumi filter – enjoy!

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Venus Optics LAOWA 9 mm f/2.8 ZERO-D - Summary

Venus Optics LAOWA 9 mm f/2.8 ZERO-D - Summary

Venus Optics LAOWA 9 mm f/2.8 ZERO-D - Summary

Venus Optics LAOWA 9 mm f/2.8 ZERO-D - Summary

Venus Optics LAOWA 9 mm f/2.8 ZERO-D - Summary

Venus Optics LAOWA 9 mm f/2.8 ZERO-D - Summary

Venus Optics LAOWA 9 mm f/2.8 ZERO-D - Summary

Venus Optics LAOWA 9 mm f/2.8 ZERO-D - Summary

Venus Optics LAOWA 9 mm f/2.8 ZERO-D - Summary

Venus Optics LAOWA 9 mm f/2.8 ZERO-D - Summary

Venus Optics LAOWA 9 mm f/2.8 ZERO-D - Summary

Venus Optics LAOWA 9 mm f/2.8 ZERO-D - Summary

Venus Optics LAOWA 9 mm f/2.8 ZERO-D - Summary

Venus Optics LAOWA 9 mm f/2.8 ZERO-D - Summary

Venus Optics LAOWA 9 mm f/2.8 ZERO-D - Summary