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World's Fastest Ultra Wide Laowa 12mm f/2.8

Ultra wide, super fast, and free of distortion (almost), this 12mm lens from Venus Optics is the fastest of its kind.

Venus Optics has announced their UWA Laowa 12mm f/2.8 lens and it has some pretty impressive features. Not only is it the widest f/2.8 lens on the market, but it also boasts great image quality, portable size, as well as “close-to-zero” lens distortion. It has already completely obliterated its $10K goal on Kickstarter (it’s currently at over $217K still with 29 days to go), so check out the campaign video to see what all the fuss is about:

Technical Specifications

  • Maximum aperture: f/2.8
  • Minimum aperture: f/22
  • Focal Length: 12mm
  • Angle of view: 121.96°
  • Elements/Groups: 16/10 (3pcs ED, 2pcs ASP)
  • Aperture Blades: 7
  • Format compatibility: full frame
  • Minimum Focus distance: 7.09” (0.18 cm)
  • Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 0.2x
  • Focusing: Manual
  • Dimensions(DxL): Φ74.8×82.8mm
  • Weight: 1.34 lb (609 g)
  • Mounts: Canon EF / Nikon AI / Sony A / Pentax K / Sony FE
  • Detachable hood

Being the fastest UWA 12mm lens isn’t the Laowa’s only selling point. Again, it has almost no lens distortion, which allows shooters to capture incredible ultra wide-angle images without the classic wide-angle line bending. Furthermore, it was designed to be much smaller and lighter than typical UWA lenses, which makes it more portable for those that want to use it as their everyday lens. Here’s a bit from the press release that explains Venus Optics’ design approach:

The lens [includes] 16 elements in 10 groups, including 3 pieces of Extra-Low Dispersion elements and 2pc of Aspherical Elements. This design not only delivers an outstanding image sharpness and controls the distortion to [a miminum], but also controls the chromatic aberration at its lowest level. A floating design is also adopted to ensure good performance even [at] the closest focusing distance (0.18cm). The enclosure of the lens is made of metal to strengthen its durability. 

To get a better idea of what the combination of its 122° angle of view and near zero lens distortion looks like, here are some samples photos.

Photographer Nicky Bay got his hands on the lens and was able to do a quick video preview which you can check out below, but for a more in-depth review, check out his blog post here.

You can preorder the Laowa 12mm f/2.8 lens on Venus Optics’ Kickstarter campaign—if you move fast you might even get it for less than its retail price of $950. But, if you don’t make it before the campaign ends, the Laowa 12mm will reach distributors and resellers this September.      

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