Venus Optics have been making some unique camera lenses such as the crazy 24mm probe lens and the eagerly awaited OOOM 25-100mm T2.9 cine zoom, has just unveiled the pricing and availability of the Laowa 17mm f/1.8 for Micro Four Thirds. This new lens marks the fourth wide angle lens that Venus Optics designs for MFT mirrorless cameras, following the success of Laowa 7.5mm f/2, 9mm f/2.8 and 4mm f/2.8 fisheye lenses.
The new Laowa 17mm f1.8 MFT will be priced at just $149, thus making it the most affordable lens Venus Optics has ever released.
Images by Venus Optics
The 17mm gives the equivalent to a 34mm angle of view on a full-frame sensor. The optical design incorporates 9 optical elements arranged in 7 groups; the lens also features a 7-blade aperture for pleasing bokeh. At just 172g, the new Laowa 17mm f1.8 MFT is quite compact and lightweight making it almost invisible when mounted onto the camera and a breeze to carry in your camera bag.
The minimum focus distance is 15cm and the lens features a 46mm filter thread. An ultra-fast f/1.8 maximum aperture not only creates smooth bokeh with its rounded 7-blade diaphragm, but also offers great low-light performance. Despite the f/1.8 fast aperture, sharp and high-contrast images of distant subjects can be still captured even when shooting wide open.
Images by Venus Optics
Photographers can make use of the “Mini-macro” feature to capture close-up shots with shallower depth of field, creating smooth out-of-focus rendering and good subject separation from the background.
The new Laowa 17mm f1.8 MFT is also perfectly suited for run-n-gun video work as demonstrated below be the beautiful footage shot by James Tonkin of Hangman Studios.
Z-Cam E2 test footage by James Tonkin testing the Laowa 17mm f1.8 MFT lens:
The compact size and lightweight footprint of the Laowa 17mm f/1.8 lens make it perfect for handheld work and handheld gimbals. The high-performance optical design incorporates one ED (extra-low dispersion) glass element that delivers high-definition images with minimum ghosting and flare.
The small footprint and MFT mount makes it an ideal candidate for drone work; below you can see an example of some footage shot with this lens mounted on the DJI X5 camera. The front element has adopted premium FEC (Frog Eye Coating) to repel water droplets and pollutants from sticking onto the lens, enhancing the lens’ durability in frequent outdoor shooting.
Laowa 17mm f1.8 MFT + DJI X5 on DJI Inspire 2 drone footage by Macgver Liu:
Here is some more video footage from the ground shot on the Panasonic GH5S 4K 50p/60p by Steve Chan of DSI Pictures Entertainment:
Laowa 17mm f1.8 MFT Tech Specs:
Micro Four Thirds
Focal Length: 17mm
Angle of view: 65°
Aperture: f/1.8 – 22
9 elements in 7 group
Aperture Blades: 7
Min. Focusing Distance: 15cm
Max. Magnification: 1:5 (0.2X)
Filter Thread: 46mm
Ships October 2019
The Laowa 17mm f/1.8 MFT is currently available to pre-order for $149 USD from authorized resellers and directly from Venus Optics‘ website where you can also check out some sample images.
Pricing may vary in different countries. The lens is expected to start shipping end of October.