Laowa 7.5mm f/2 MFT C-Dreamer - Review / Test
Lens Reviews - (Micro-)Four-Thirds

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published February 2017

Introduction

Laowa may not be a well-known player to most of you but recently they caused quite some stir with their Laowa 105mm f/2 STF - a manual focus lens featuring an unusual apodization element for optimized bokeh rendering. Before that they released a 15mm f/4 Shift and a 60mm f/2.8 macro lens with 2:1 magnification. You probably agree that all this sounds existing?! Well, this time they have something in the queue specifically designed for Micro-Four-Thirds cameras - the Laowa 7.5mm f/2 MFT. Once it's released (planned: April 2017), it'll be the fastest ultra-wide angle lens available for the system. We received a late prototype (serial-no #000006) for testing.

Now you may ask why another 7mm-ish ultra-wide lens is needed. After all there's the Olympus M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO and Panasonic 7-14mm f/4 ASPH. Well, other than being faster than either of them, it is smaller ... WAY smaller. It's hard to come up with an exact figure but as a rough guidance we'd say that it's about half the size/weight of the Panasonic lens and a third of the M.Zuiko. The product image may tell the story better than I do here.

The build quality of the Laowa lens is very good. The lens body is made of metal down to the lens mount. It is a fully manual lens thus you have to live with manual focusing, a manual aperture and in fact without any electronic coupling (thus also no EXIF data). The tiny focus ring is a bit stiff although this doesn't impose any obstacles. The aperture ring operates in full clicks (f-stops). The detachable (metal-) lens hood is so tiny that you may actually leave it mounted all the time. However, it is an obstacle to remove the lens cap when the hood is in place. Unlike on the two mentioned zoom lenses, it is also possible to use (46mm) filters.

Specifications
Equiv. focal length"15mm" (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperture"f/4" (full format equivalent in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction13 elements in 9 groups
Number of aperture blades7
min. focus distance0.12m (1:9.1)
Dimensions (L x W)50x55mm
Weight170g
Filter size46mm
Hoodpetal-shaped, supplied
Other features-