Lens review

Venus Optics LAOWA 9 mm f/2.8 ZERO-D

20 April 2018
Arkadiusz Olech

4. Image resolution

The resolution test of the Venus Optics LAOWA 9 mm f/2.8 ZERO-D was based on RAW files from the Fujifilm X-T2 camera. We developed them with the help of dcraw program (with the 3-pass X-trans filter algorithm) and analyzed by using the Imatest software.

Let’s remind here that the best system Fujifilm X lenses, tested that way, could reach as high as 80 lpmm and the decency level is situated near 44-45 lpmm. Lately, we’ve tested the Fujinon XF 50 mm f/2 R WR on the X-T2 camera and it proved to be one of the sharpest lenses in that system, with a result of about 83 lpmm.

Let’s check how the results of the Laowa 2.8/9 compare – an appropriate graph you can find below.

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Venus Optics LAOWA 9 mm f/2.8 ZERO-D - Image resolution

The performance in the frame centre is simply sensational. Not only the maximum MTF values are reached already at the maximum relative aperture but also by f/2.8 and f/4.0 the lens gets to a really excellent level with values of 80-81 lpmm. In order to appreciate the Laowa properly we should mention the fact that its result by f/2.8 is better than the result of the Fujinon XF 80 mm f/2.8 LM OIS WR Macro, a lens we’ve tested not so long ago and praised a lot. After all, macro lenses are supposed to be instruments with the best correction possible on the market.

The situation on the edge of the frame is quite another matter. In short we aren’t impressed but this was rather predictable if you took into account the dimensions of the tested lens. Such are the laws of optics – a relatively small ultra-wide-angle lens is always incredibly difficult to correct on its edge. Still we must say the Laowa performed decently well. Only by f/2.8 the image leaves a bit to be desired because the MTFs fall below the decency level. By f/4.0, however, you get to 50 lpmm and it means you can enjoy completely acceptable images. It’s a pity that, after further stopping down, the MTFs don’t increase more significantly and the lens never reaches 60 lpmm.

Are we surprised by the results of the Laowa resolution test? If we are, the surprise is only positive. We didn’t expect sensational results on the edge of the frame and the lens didn’t provide them; still those we saw in the frame centre should be considered well above average.

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

Fujifilm X-T2, JPEG, f/2.8
Venus Optics LAOWA 9 mm f/2.8 ZERO-D - Image resolution
Fujifilm X-T2, JPEG, f/4.0
Venus Optics LAOWA 9 mm f/2.8 ZERO-D - Image resolution