Lens review

Venus Optics LAOWA Argus 25 mm f/0.95 MFT

30 November 2022
Maciej Latałło

4. Image resolution

The resolution test (resolution meaning here MTF50 function values) of the Venus Optics LAOWA Argus 25 mm f/0.95 MTF was based on RAW files from the Olympus O-MD E-M5 Mark II. In this case the decency level is situated near 48-50 lpmm and high quality fixed focal length lenses can reach as high as 85 lpmm or more. The best performance so far has belonged to the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45 mm f/1.2 PRO, that managed to get near 96 lpmm, and the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17 mm f/1.2 PRO, the actual record holder on this sensor, with a result of 98.6 lpmm.

Now let’s check how the tested lens compares; a graph below presents its results in the frame centre and on its edge.

Venus Optics LAOWA Argus 25 mm f/0.95 MFT - Image resolution

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In case of lenses with such an extreme aperture fastness you almost never see a good image quality at the maximum relative aperture. In fact, it would be foolish to expect it. The supreme aperture fastness might allow you a creative play with blurry areas, provide great resolution values already by f/1.2 – 1.4, and ensure levels close to record values but only on stopping down the lens even more.

If you assess the Argus's performance in such a way you find out that the lens performs in accordance with your expectations. By f/0.95 images are still slightly 'soapy' but by f/1.1 -1.2 they start to be completely useful. By f/1.4 image quality is already good, by f/2.0 it becomes great, and by f/2.8 we got a result of 96.7 lpmm that is able to put the Laowa on the podium, along with the rest of our record holders. It seems the Argus is not weaker than the more expensive Nokton and, at the same time, it is able to reach higher resolution levels than the Olympus 1.2/25.

On the edge of the frame the situation is noticeably worse, though. By f/0.95 and f/1.4 the lens lands distinctly below the decency level and by f/2.0 it reaches a local chromatic aberration maximum that prevents it from a rebound we hoped it would get. Images of a sensible quality are available only up fom f/2.8. In this category the Argus lags behind its rivals - the Olympus had the edges corrected in a splendid way and the Nokton performed sensibly well already near f/2.0.

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

Olympus E-M5 II, JPEG, f/0.95
Venus Optics LAOWA Argus 25 mm f/0.95 MFT - Image resolution
Olympus E-M5 II, JPEG, f/2.8
Venus Optics LAOWA Argus 25 mm f/0.95 MFT - Image resolution