The Crazy 9mm Full Frame Lens by Laowa That Isn't a Fisheye

Laowa, the king and queen of interesting lenses, have released a 9mm non-fisheye lens. That is, an ultra wide-angled prime lens, with "zero distortion."

Laowa came onto most people's radar with their incredible and slightly ridiculous 24mm probe macro lens. The truth is, that's the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Laowa and the more my relationship with them develops, and the more I get to try their arsenal of lenses, the more I'm blown away, and a touch confused.

I'm blown away because their lenses are fantastic quality, usually singular in one way or another, and lots of fun to use. I'm a touch confused because I always feel they charge around half the price of what I expect the lens to be. The 9mm f/5.6 lens that Mattias Burling reviews is pre-production and different to their Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D that costs $499 as that one is not a full frame lens. But the "Zero-D" part appears to be carrying over, so what does it mean?

Well, the lens, as you can see above, doesn't have the fisheye effect, even on a GFX 50R medium format camera! (That said, it does obviously require some cropping.) As seems to be the case with almost all Laowa lenses, it has such a close minimum focus distance that it's practically a macro lens too.

What do you make of this lens? Have you tried it? Let me know in the comment section below.

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7 Comments

Andy Day's picture

Want.

jim hughes's picture

This sounds like a way to get a lot of really interesting pictures. How I wish they'd produce it for Nikon Z.

The 9mm Zero-D is superb (on my Fuji APS-C) It's literally zero distortion, tack sharp even in the corners at f2.8. It has a nice sunstar ist small und light. The only disadvantage is the enormous vignetting.

I had the APS-C version for my A6500. While a nice lens overall, I did not find it to be exactly Zero-D. Landscape shots I took with people in them showed distortion at the edges. One looked like a person nearer to the lens had elf ears. Still, I’d be willing to a FF version a try on my A7R II, assuming this one will take a filter. Their current 12mm FF version doesn’t have filter threads and goes for $950. One would assume that a true 9mm version for FF would be even more, no? (Almost double the price of their APS-C version) i know the filter threads is an issue mostly for folks like me who have full spectrum cameras.

That's not really distortion, but an artifact of the wide angle. It's the way things look at that focal length. Distortion would be barrel or pincushion (curved lines that should be straight) or chromatic aberration (purple fringing, etc.).

Kenneth Muhlestein's picture

While you are correct that its not "curved" distortion, it's still a type of distortion in the perspective distortion family called extension distortion.