The Laowa 7.5mm f/2 is a manual focus prime lens with an equivalent field of view of 15mm in 35mm format, making it the widest rectilinear prime for the Micro Four Thirds system. Due to its fast aperture, extreme wide angle, and highly compact design, it is certain to appeal to aerial, astro, landscape and architectural photographers, as well as those who want to travel with the lightest set-up possible.
Below you can find our full review in video format, followed by a bullet point summary of our main findings and a series of sample images. Enjoy!
Important: Our first copy of the lens was de-centered, so we had to ask for a second copy to complete our review. This is why many of our sample images display imperfections in the corners. Our hope is that no other production copies of the lens suffer from the same issue.
Ethics statement: The Laowa 7.5mm was kindly provided to us by Venus Optics to test for a month. We were not asked to write anything about the lens nor were we provided with any other compensation of any kind. Within the article, there are affiliate links. If you buy something after clicking the link, we will receive a small commission. Don’t worry – prices remain the same for you. To know more about our ethics, you can visit our full disclosure page. Thank you!
- Mount: Micro Four Thirds
- Focal length: 7.5mm (15mm in 35mm equivalent terms)
- Lens configuration: 13 elements in 9 groups
- Lens coating: None
- Angle of view: 110°
- Minimum focusing distance: 12cm
- Aperture blades: 7
- Aperture range: 2 to 22
- Filter diameter: 46mm
- Weather-sealing: No
- Optical stabilisation: No
- Dimensions: 50mm x 50mm
- Weight: 170g (or 150g for the lite version)
Table of contents:
- 0:36 – Design and Build Quality
- 2:02 – Optical Quality
- 4:24 – Price and Conclusion
Summary of our findings
- It is surprisingly small, light and compact, making it an excellent match for any Micro Four Thirds camera, even the smallest models like the Olympus Pen E-PL8 or Lumix GM5
- It comes in two versions: Standard and Lite. The latter has been designed for aerial photography. For this review, we tested the Standard version which is already extremely light.
- Because it is so small and wide, it is important to avoid placing your fingers too close to the front element because they might just end up in the frame!
- The metal construction is very good and the focus/aperture rings are pleasant to use thanks to their good resistance and ridged design. (The lens doesn’t feature any weather-sealing however.)
- The lens is less appealing for video work because you can’t carry out smooth manual aperture changes.
- Because the lens doesn’t transmit EXIF data to the camera, you have to keep note of the values you use.
- Sharpness is excellent across the frame at both close and long focus distances and in the corners. The sharpest value is f/4 but f/2.8 and f/5.6 perform in a very similar manner. f/2 is only slightly less sharp than f/2.8.
- The lens suffers from some slight astigmatism at the fastest aperture for astrophotography but by f/2.8, the results are almost perfect, even in the extreme corners.
- There is some slight barrel distortion, vignetting at the fastest apertures and chromatic aberration close to the edges but nothing that could be considered out of the ordinary for this kind of lens.
- When you use the lens at its minimum focus distance of 12cm with the fastest apertures, you can achieve a good amount of shallow depth of field and a decent bokeh with the right background.
- Flare is the most annoying issue as it can occur in any situation where a strong light source is present, both indoors and out.
The Laowa 7.5mm is one of the most unique offerings within Micro Four Thirds range due to its extreme wide angle and highly compact design.
Sharpness across the frame is excellent, and you can achieve a decent amount of shallow depth of field by using the minimum focus distance and widest apertures. Barrel distortion is comparable to that of other extreme wide angles I’ve tried, while chromatic aberrations are only visible at the edges. It is even a good option for astrophotography since there is only some slight astigmatism in the extreme corners at f/2.
The only issues worth mentioning is flare when you encounter bright light sources.
Otherwise I can confirm that Laowa has done an excellent job with this lens and were I an avid landscape or architecture photographer, I wouldn’t think twice about adding it to my collection.
Check price of the Laowa 7.5mm f/2 on: