Laowa 7.5mm f/2 MFT Review

September 8, 2017 | Tim Coleman | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Laowa 7.5mm f/2 lens is a compact and well built lens that delivers where it counts most, in its excellent image quality. 

Pictures are sharp, while the lens demonstrates impressive control over distortions that are so common in ultra-wide angle lenses, especially chromatic aberrations. 

When making the most of the wide f/2 aperture for astrophotography - which is currently unrivalled this wide - lens corrections for vignetting should to be applied. 

Handling wise, you’ll need extra time during shooting to make sure images are sharp - especially with the wider apertures. The magnified live view display using manual focus assist is a godsend for manual focus lenses. 

The diminutive size has its impact - you may find yourself fiddling around with the lens cap, lens hood and aperture ring and wishing each part was easier to handle. 

But the payback is a lens a third of the size and weight of equivalent full frame lenses and less than half the size of its most direct M43 lens competition. 

Plus this a lens that accepts threaded lens filters - a sure fire hit with filmmakers and landscape photographers. 

While we are on competition, really we’re looking at the Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED and the Panasonic 8-18mm f/2.8-4 ASPH Vario. Both are fully automatic lenses that are massively easier to use, yet both are twice the price. 

The Olympus lens is more than twice the size and weight and requires a filter kit in order to attach lens filters. The Panasonic lens accepts threaded filters and is almost twice the weight of the Laowa lens. 

What is more, with the Laowa you get the extra stop of light, with maximum f/2 aperture. This should particularly appeal to astrophotographers and filmmakers. 

We haven’t directly compared image quality of these lenses, but would be surprised if the Laowa lens came up short - it’s image quality is excellent. As for its light transmission, there are no direct comparisons yet to see if the lens makes the most of its wide aperture. 

As for the price, £499 is reasonable. It’s more than a Samyang lens, but less than proprietary brands. The Laowa 7.5mm f/2 lens serves a niche audience very well indeed. If it suits your purpose, then it comes highly recommended by PB. For others, its ‘quirks’ and speed of operation may count it out. 

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 3.5
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 4.5
Value for money 4