Laowa is teasing us yet again with the promise of a 28mm f/1.2 L-mount lens which was first showcased at CP+ 2023 (opens in new tab). With an official release date confirmed for the end of the month, those wanting to get their hands on a wide-angle super-fast lens won't have much longer to wait.
The Laowa 28mm lens is a versatile lens well suited to landscape, street, and documentary photography. Available for full-frame Sony E-mount, Canon RF, Nikon Z and Panasonic L mount, at just $599 it’s well priced with very few other lenses to compete with at that specific focal length and aperture.
For the last decade, Laowa lenses (produced by Venus Optics) have specialized in making premium lenses for photo and video. Combining affordability with excellent optical quality and a distinguishable design, Laowa has created its own place in the lens market targeting both professional and amateur photographers and videographers who are after top-spec lenses at low cost to them.
• Check out the best lenses for landscapes (opens in new tab)
If you’re after a relatively wide-angle lens (opens in new tab) that will perform well in dark conditions, the Loawa 28mm’s wide f/1.2 aperture will let plenty of light in and even when shooting wide open, it's said to maintain sharpness in the corners (though we’d have to test it to be sure).
It’s constructed of 13 elements in 7 groups and has 13 aperture blades which combine to deliver ultra-smooth out-of-focus areas and sharp areas of focus. Since it’s strictly a manual focus lens, it wouldn’t suit someone who shoots very quickly and relied on AF but if you’re used to shooting on an older film camera manual focus will come very naturally.
With a minimum focusing distance of 50cm, you have to stand quite a way from what you’re shooting but since it's designed mostly to shoot landscapes chances are you’d be much further away anyway. At 562g it isn’t the lightest lens but when attached to something like the Panasonic Lumix S5 II, it would feel well-balanced. With a clickable aperture ring that can be turned off and on, it would also be well suited for video as it could be used silently.
There's been no announcement from Laowa about when the lens will start shipping but a reliable source told L Rumors (opens in new tab) it would be officially announced on March 28.