In the last few years, Laowa, a Chinese company, released some very interesting lenses. Several of their wide-angle lenses have been praised for excellent performance and can be bought at relatively reasonable prices. The Laowa 15mm f/2 is one of these lenses and is currently the fastest 15mm lens that you can buy. Of course, there is the Sigma 14mm f/1.8 Art, and although that lens is almost double the price, Sigma's Art lenses have developed quite the following due to their incredible performance. But can the Laowa beat it? Kaiman "Kai" Wong helps us find out in this video review.
The Laowa is described as having zero distortion, which makes this a very useful lens for many landscape and architectural photographers. Some interior photographers may also consider this lens. However, it may be too wide depending on the space. Kai does, however, state that the lens seems to have a small amount of distortion, so it may not be worthy of its title. Still, distortion seems minimal, and the fast aperture makes this ideal for astrophotography, as it allows you to potentially shoot at a lower ISO or faster shutter speed to prevent star trails.
Build quality seems pretty good, and, being a manual lens, the focus ring has been described as being nice and smooth. The aperture ring is also both click and non-click, making this great for video shooters.
In regards to performance, Kai states that the lens is sharp, which is great for pixels-peepers such as myself. Vignetting is at an acceptable amount when shot wide open, and with wide-angle lenses, most people have come to expect some vignetting. Overall, this seems like a fantastic and very interesting lens that can be used for multiple kinds of photography and videography.
Despite the video title, the Laowa 15mm f/2 FE Zero-D will be available mid-September and can be pre-ordered for $849. It currently only comes in a version for Sony E-mount bodies.