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Laowa 14mm f/4 Zero-D Evaluation: A Small and Starburst-y Extremely-Vast Lens


For all DSLR customers on the market, simply while you thought a lot of the lens manufacturers might have forgotten about you and solely are specializing in the mirrorless market, Laowa has launched the DSLR mount for its 14mm f/4 Zero-D.

I used to be very excited to get my fingers on a duplicate of this Laowa 14mm f/4 to do some actual discipline checks. I’ll be pairing the lens with my Nikon D850 for these checks.

I’ll be sharing my opinion of this lens. In case you are into capturing with ultra-wide-angle lenses, you’ll be able to take into account whether or not this can be a lens you’ll need to add to your arsenal.

Full disclosure: Laowa supplied the copy of the lens used on this evaluate.

First Impressions

Having owned a number of copies of ultra-wide-angle lenses and having examined completely different lens manufacturers as nicely, I used to be amazed at how gentle this lens was. The lens solely weighs at 11.3oz/320g, this may very well be the lightest full-frame vast angle at 14mm available in the market that I do know of.

A lot of the DSLR ultra-wide-angle lenses weigh a ton — the Nikon 16-35mm f/4 weighs 680g, the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 weighs 1000g, and the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 weighs 530g. In fact these won’t be the most effective apples-to-apples comparability, but it surely offers you an thought of how gentle this Laowa lens is.

After I took it out from its field, the lens was so small in my hand — it might simply match into my pocket. The scale and weight of this lens do remind me of the Samyang 8mm fisheye (APS-C model), small and compact. I’m a fan of touring gentle on the subject of my very own leisure capturing the place I simply need to be free and simple with out carrying a number of heavy gear with me.

The following innovation that Laowa included into this lens was the filter thread. Previously, 14mm wide-angle lenses had very cumbersome spherical entrance glass that didn’t permit filter threads to be put in. You would need to buy further filter holders and sq. filters like 100x100mm and even 150x150mm with a purpose to use a impartial density filter. These issues take up a number of area within the digicam bag, and sq. filters don’t come low-cost both.

Now gone are the times of cumbersome filter holders and sq. filters after Nikon launched its first-ever 14-30mm f/4 with filter threads on the Z mount. I’m glad Laowa can also be transferring in the identical course to have a filter thread for its new wide-angle lenses now. As of late everybody simply desires to journey gentle.

One attention-grabbing factor was that the lens got here with a lens hood put in on it. Initially, I believed it was a built-in lens hood, then I really came upon it may be eliminated. When working with filters, it’s best to take away the hood to entry the filter thread.

Adjustable Focus Scale

This was one attention-grabbing characteristic that I’ve ever heard of. Laowa supplied an adjustable focus scale the place you’ll be able to calibrate the infinity level precisely to the infinity icon. In all of the wide-angle lenses I’ve tried earlier than, the infinity level was by no means on the precise brand and the precise infinity level was at all times barely earlier than the icon.

Laowa included an adjustable handwheel (which I’ve highlighted with a white field). Turning it counter-clockwise, unlocks the handwheel. That’s the place you’ll find the infinity level within the digicam and mark the purpose on the lens, after which you’ll modify/align the dimensions after which tighten again the handwheel.

Sharpness

That is at all times the most effective half I like about trendy lenses – their tack sharp efficiency even on high-resolution sensors. I owned the Laowa 12mm f/2.8 and I used to be fairly proud of that lens sharpness evaluating to another lenses I owned. So I used to be fairly excited to see how nicely this lens can carry out as nicely.

It is a handbook lens for which you’ll be able to modify your f-stop by rotating the aperture ring. I can be going by means of lens sharpness throughout the completely different aperture settings so that you do a comparability by yourself.

Sharpness at f/4

Uncropped
Heart body
Prime proper nook

Sharpness at f/5.6

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Heart body
Prime proper nook

Sharpness at f/8

Uncropped
Heart body
Prime proper nook

Sharpness at f/11

Uncropped
Heart body
Prime proper nook

Sharpness at f/16

Uncropped
Heart body
Prime proper nook

Sharpness at f/22

Uncropped
Heart body
Prime proper nook

I used to be fairly proud of the sharpness efficiency, sharpness within the heart of the body was fairly good to begin off with throughout all of the apertures. Even at f/4, the lens performs fairly nicely. On the nook of the body, f/4 and f/5.6 had been barely weaker in efficiency. The nook sharpness began to get higher after I stopped right down to f/8 and f/11. At f/16 and f/22, nook sharpness efficiency begins to drop once more attributable to lens distraction. My discovering was for the most effective efficiency of this lens can be to cease down f/8 and f/11.

Starbursts

The starburst impact is among the distinctive traits of each lens while you cease down its aperture. This is among the distinctive results when capturing in opposition to the Solar or avenue/lamp lights — it turns robust gentle sources right into a stars-looking impact.

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Cropped

The starburst impact begins to be seen when the lens stops down from f/8 onwards. The robust distinctive impact of the starburst is de facto laborious to overlook it for anybody in case you are capturing within the metropolis space the place there’s a number of avenue lights and robust gentle supply. In my private choice, though I really like the starburst impact, this may very well be an excessive amount of for my liking the place the starburst impact sort of took away the main target from my predominant topic, which was the buildings.

This is among the attention-grabbing methods to showcase the star impact of the supertree. Utilizing the lens to its benefit, it may possibly create some actually cool impact of a tree filled with stars.

Starburst at Varied Apertures

f/4
f/5.6
f/8
f/11
f/16
f/22

I examined the starburst impact capturing in opposition to a robust gentle supply. Aperture at F4, the starburst impact wasn’t seen but. As soon as stopping right down to f/5.6 and onwards, the star impact was very seen all through the opposite aperture setting.

Lens Flare

Unique
Cropped

Starburst when capturing straight in opposition to the solar is at all times superior however this additionally comes with a small trade-off, which is the lens flare! On the proper the place you see my unique shot picture, there may be some minor lens flare within the shadow space.

As I cropped in to indicate the lens flare that was simply beside the particular person’s shadow, I’d say it wasn’t too dangerous! It actually depends upon the way you level your lens in the direction of the solar. At sure angles on to the solar, it should create a visual lens flare within the picture. All these lens flares may be minimized simply by tilting the lens angle away from the solar barely.

Apart from this minor lens flare, I didn’t discover any chromatic aberration in my cityscape pictures.

Distortion

Simply as marketed, this can be a “zero distortion” lens. I didn’t discover any critical distortion points like barrel distortion, pincushion distortion, and even mustache distortion. Contemplating there wasn’t any lens profile apply in-camera or in Lightroom.

The lens carried out fairly nicely for architectural pictures wherein traces are concerned. This lens would undoubtedly swimsuit the wants of those that wish to shoot structure work.

Shut Focusing

I used to be actually stunned how shut this lens might nonetheless focus at a brilliant close-up distance. You won’t be capable to inform from this picture alone. So I’ve connected a behind the scene photograph to indicate how shut up the lens was.

There was additionally some purple fringing after I capturing in opposition to a robust backlight throughout a close-up shot. Coloration fringing may very well be simply fastened in post-production software program like Lightroom. Subsequently not a lot of a problem.

Apparently I didn’t expertise any fringing points after I was capturing panorama or cityscape pictures.

This was how shut up the lens was
An unique photograph with no crop.
Behind the scenes.

Is is a 14mm Lens Good to Have?

The Nikon 16-35mm f/4 zoom simply seems gigantic in opposition to the Laowa 14mm f/4.
Laowa 14mm f/4
Nikon 16-35mm @ 16mm
Laowa 14mm f/4
Nikon 16-35mm @ 16mm

Have you ever encountered a scenario the place you might be utilizing a 16-35mm lens at its widest 16mm and it’s nonetheless not vast sufficient to cowl your topic? That is one good instance of how a 14mm lens can change your sport in shoot cityscape or panorama the place the topic is near you and 16mm is simply not sufficient to cowl it totally.

Specs

Listed here are the specs of the Laowa 14mm f/4 Zero-D (DLSR mount):

  • Lens development: 13 parts in 18 teams
  • Variety of Diaphragm Blades: 5
  • Dimensions (Diameter x Size): 72.5×75mm
  • Minimal Focusing Distance: 14.5cm
  • Filter Measurement: 67mm
  • Weight: 320g

Pattern Pictures

Listed here are extra pictures from the Laowa 14mm f/4. All of the pictures had been shot at apertures between f/8 and f/11.

Abstract

I’ve been strolling round with my Nikon D850 and Laowa 14mm f/4, I really like the light-weight from this combo. In case you are utilizing a full-frame digicam like D750/D780, it could be even lighter than my combo.

My general expertise was fairly good. I really like the steel construct of this lens. It’s ultralight, super-wide-angle, and better of all takes a 67mm-size filter. A lot of the wide-angle lenses are utilizing 72mm-82mm measurement filters, relying on the model and focal size. A 67mm filter is an efficient alternative because it isn’t as costly as a 72mm-82mm filter. Additionally it is smaller to carry round.

I’ve to say I’m really not a giant fan of handbook focus, however this lens was very easy to make use of. On most of my cityscape photographs, I simply dial my focal distance to about 5m and issues at all times got here out superbly sharp for buildings. No complaints about that. The sharpness was first rate at f/4 vast open and the magic begins from f/5.6 onwards the place nook sharpness begins to enhance. The candy spot of this lens is at all times f/8-f/11 if you wish to get the most effective out of it.

So is that this Laowa 14mm f/4 a lens it’s best to take into account including to your arsenal? I’d say sure. All through my time with it, I didn’t miss the pliability of my Nikon 16-35mm zoom and undoubtedly not the burden both. Handbook focus wasn’t that troublesome to make use of, I didn’t want any peak focusing operate to do handbook focus. In case you are a fan of starbursts, that is undoubtedly one lens you’ll be able to’t miss.

The lens is priced at $499 with free transport on the official Venus Optics web site. I imagine that is fairly a good worth level for such a fantastic performing ultra-wide-angle lens.


In regards to the writer: Andy Chua is an expert photographer based mostly in a Singapore. The opinions expressed on this article are solely these of the writer. Chua’s portfolio is 70% sports activities, and he has coated each native and abroad worldwide meets. His sports activities work additionally gained a number of awards in IPA through the years and has been printed on completely different platforms. Along with sports activities, he additionally shoots underwater pictures, automotive, merchandise, inside, and many others. You’ll find extra of Chua’s work on his web site or by following him on Instagram. This text was additionally printed right here.



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