Laowa 7.5mm f/2 Micro Four Thirds Review

Laowa 7.5mm f/2.0 Handling and Features

Laowa 7,5mm F2 Vertical View

7.5mm, or 15mm in 35mm format terms, is definitely ultra-wide. This is approximately as wide as a rectilinear lens will traditionally get, and the first Zeiss, Leica and Pentax 15mm lenses were revelations in their day. However, those first designs were limited to an f/3.5 maximum aperture and this Laowa breaks newer ground with a very bright f/2. Aspheric elements were the key to new designs in the 1970s, very expensive to produce, and now Laowa has a design that includes two double sided aspheric glass elements in its 13 element in 9 groups construction. There are also 3 ED (Extra Low Dispersion) elements. It is remarkable that all this is contained in such a diminutive lens, weighing in at a very modest 163g without hood. There is even a “Lite” version (150g) which is intended for use on drones, definitely a sign of changing times.

Taking a tour of the lens, starting at the front element we see a fairly bulbous shape, but a much smaller diameter than we might expect. The filter thread is 46mm and there is a bayonet fit for the small petal lenshood. The lens construction is all metal and made to a very good standard. The fitting of the hood itself though is very tight, nowhere near the slickness of some, but on the other hand, there is no way it is ever going to become accidentally detached. I would keep the hood on at all times as it adds very little bulk to the lens.

Laowa 7,5mm F2 On Lumix G6

The manual focusing ring is smooth and firm in action. There is also an effective depth of field scale provided. This is especially useful as focusing a 7.5mm lens on a small format camera is not easy. The quickest technique is to use the scale to set the hyperfocal distance for a given aperture, and then just shoot away without trying to refocus. This works well for landscape, architecture and street photography, the available depth of field being huge. For example, if set to f/5.6 the scale suggests that everything will be in focus from infinity to around 12 inches (30cm). If a higher standard of sharpness is required, then leave that as set but use f/8 instead, thus increasing the amount of depth of field but keeping within the parameters for the wider aperture.

However, it is fair to say that some effort with manual focusing can yield interesting results, and the picture of the frog is an example. Very close subjects such as this, which was around 3 inches away from the front element, do need to be focused on. The background will then be very much out of focus, despite the ultra wide angle. Effects can thus be obtained that reveal the quality of the bokeh of the lens.

The only other feature on the lens barrel is the aperture ring, and this follows the normal progression of apertures from f/2 through to f/22. The ring is very nicely click stopped, with just the right amount of firmness.

Going back for a moment to the subject of frogs, the lens has FEC (Frog Eye Coating) on the front element, this being designed to repel grease and water. Otherwise, we have multi coating on all elements. Overall, a unique, well-made lens that is easy to use despite its ultra wide angle.

Laowa 7,5mm F2 Rear Oblique View

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