LensTip.com

Lens review

Venus Optics LAOWA 17 mm f/1.8 MFT II

28 January 2020
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality

The following chart presents a comparison between basic properties of the tested lens, its predecessor, and other rival Micro 4/3 constructions. It's easy to notice that the new Laowa is the biggest and the heaviest; apart from that it doesn't differ much from other competitors. Overall the whole group consists of lightweight, compact instruments.

In the photo below the Venus Optics LAOWA 17 mm f/1.8 MFT II is positioned between the Voigtlander Nokton 25 mm f/0.95 and the Olympus M.Zuiko PRO 12–40 mm f/2.8. Such a comparison shows it clearly that the Laowa is a really small lens.

Venus Optics LAOWA 17 mm f/1.8 MFT II - Build quality

The tested lens starts with a metal mount without any contacts. On its rim you see an inscription „Made in China”; inside there is a black fragment of the barrel surrounding a rear element that is 13 mm in diameter. The element moves but not very much – when the focus is set at infinity its edge hides slightly inside the barrel, when you pass to the minimum focusing distance it hides further, about 5 mm deep. The inner tube, revealed during that movement, is black and well-matted.

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Venus Optics LAOWA 17 mm f/1.8 MFT II - Build quality

The proper body of the lens, made of metal, starts with a narrow ring which doesn't move. Then you find a manual focus ring, 18 mm wide, its center covered by fine ribs; above them you see a distance scale expressed in meters and feet. The ring is well damped and moves smoothly. Running through the whole focalmrange needs a turn through an angle of about 110 degrees. For a manual lens that value seems to be a tad too small.

Then you see another immobile part of the barrel with parameters of the lens, „1.8/17”, and a depth of field scale with markings at f/22, f/11, f/5.6 and f/1.8.

Venus Optics LAOWA 17 mm f/1.8 MFT II - Build quality

A narrow aperture ring is the next part of the lens, with fine ribbing and markings from f/1.8 to f/22, omitting f/2.0. The ring moves every 1 EV step (apart from the bigger jump between f/1.8 and f/2.8) but it also allows smooth regulation between integral aperture values.

The lens ends with an immobile ring adorned with a blue stripe and fixed with a hood mount – a metal hood is included in the box with the lens. The noticeably convex front element is 20.5 mm in diameter, surrounded by inscriptions with the logo of the producer, serial number, the name and parameters of the instrument. The Laowa also features a non-rotating filter thread, 46 mm in diameter.

Venus Optics LAOWA 17 mm f/1.8 MFT II - Build quality

When it comes to optical construction you deal here with 9 elements positioned in 7 groups. The website of the producers informs us that one of these is made of low dispersion Super ED glass. Inside you also find an aperture with seven blades which can be closed down to a value of f/22 at the maximum. The front element is covered by hydrophobic FEC (Frog Eye Coating) coatings.

Buyers get both caps, a petal-type, metal hood and a not especially stylish, plastic case in the box with the lens.

Venus Optics LAOWA 17 mm f/1.8 MFT II - Build quality