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Laowa 12-24mm f/5.6 C-Dreamer Assessment: Not Fairly a Dream

Venus Optics has continued to increase on an already in depth checklist of ultra-wide-angle lenses with the addition of the Laowa 12-24mm f/5.6 C-Dreamer for full-frame mirrorless programs. The place many ultra-wide lenses might be large, cumbersome, and extremely expensive, this new “gradual” lens turns into much more spectacular with its comparatively small $649 value. Whereas the entry-level inexpensive lens is accessible for Canon RF, Sony E, Nikon Z, and Leica M (for $50 extra) mounts, is it actually a “dream” to make use of?

The brand new $649 12-24mm f/5.6 C-Dreamer is a completely handbook lens (Like a lot of the different lenses from Venus Optics) that encompasses a mounted f/5.6 aperture and an all-metal physique that, in complete, weighs solely about 500 grams. Along with it being one of many extra inexpensive ultra-wide angles lenses available on the market — it’s practically half the worth of most of its own-brand rivals — it boasts a distortion-free optical design that frees you from having to use a lens profile to your photos throughout post-processing.

Laowa 12-24mm f5.6 Profile

Most different 12-24mm ultra-wide-angle lenses come within the “quick” f/2.8 model, which frequently makes them bigger, heavier, and much more costly. Taking this into consideration, the slower f/5.6 lens from Laowa begins to make much more sense since when most individuals shoot with an ultra-wide lens they are going to cease down for a deeper depth of discipline anyway.

Design and Construct High quality

Regardless of the decrease value of the lens, the standard of the development of the 12-24mm f/5.6 C-Dreamer appears and seems like it’s price much more. The small and dense design provides it a really high-quality really feel even when it isn’t notably quick.

The aperture ring encompasses a “clicking” design with stops that vary from f/5.6 to f/22 with a really small beneath 30-degree rotation that ensures you gained’t expertise any aperture drifting whereas making zoom or focus changes. Conversely, the zoom and focus rings are easy with no click-stops alongside their respective rotations, however they’re stiff sufficient to not have to fret about them drifting when positioned at odd angles. The main target ring has an extended journey that permits for very detailed distance markings

Venus Optics Laowa 12-24mm F/5.6 C-Dreamer

Venus Optics Laowa 12-24mm F/5.6 C-Dreamer

The lens cap can also be absolutely metallic and locks into place securely to make sure it doesn’t fall off in transit. There may be additionally a non-traditional lens hood constructed into the physique of the optic that may provide help to keep away from damaging or scratching the glass component once you place the lens on a flat floor. The rear of the lens encompasses a stable metallic mount with the lens parts additionally shielded from injury when inserting flat on a floor.

Venus Optics Laowa 12-24mm F/5.6 C-Dreamer

Venus Optics Laowa 12-24mm F/5.6 C-Dreamer

Venus Optics Laowa 12-24mm F/5.6 C-Dreamer

Laowa does embody a small exterior filter ring/lens hood that gives an ordinary 77mm filter thread so you possibly can connect quite a lot of filters with out having to buy further step-up rings.

Venus Optics Laowa 12-24mm F/5.6 C-Dreamer

Venus Optics Laowa 12-24mm F/5.6 C-Dreamer

The small kind issue and light-weight design make it straightforward to pack and journey with, however you ought to be conscious that the lens is just not weather-sealed, so you should definitely take that in thoughts when heading out into the weather with it and produce correct safety.

Dealing with and Efficiency

One thing good about ultra-wide-angle lenses is that they have an inclination to have the ability to focus extraordinarily near topics. The Venus Optics Laowa 12-24mm f/5.6 C-Dreamer isn’t any exception on this entrance with a minimal focus distance of nearly one inch from the entrance of the lens. This implies with some further lighting it’s even doable to deal with this broad angle as pesudo macro lens.

Moreover, the brand new lens provides a little bit of a welcome change to the boring and delicate solar stars that lots of the current lenses I’ve examined have produced with some impressively sharp ten-pointed star patterns. The draw back nonetheless, is when taking pictures broad open the lens does appear to lose a variety of distinction. This may be the place the corporate got here up with the “dreamer” identify since it may be slightly softer than one would really like at that aperture. Stopping down slightly (f/11 to f/16) appears to to repair this difficulty and handles the distinction quite a bit higher whereas nonetheless offering some incredible-looking sunstars.

Being a handbook lens, you’ll have to belief the main target distance markers (tough at greatest) or leverage your digital camera system’s focus-peaking instruments to make sure they get a pointy picture, however this may be difficult in vibrant out of doors positions when taking pictures shallow and nearer up gadgets and sometimes occasions (since I’m a glasses wearer and need to put a variety of religion within the autofocus/peaking programs) it wasn’t solely correct, leaving me with many throwaway barely out of focus photographs.

Whereas the lens was principally distortion-free on the widest settings, there was nonetheless a considerable amount of vignetting, ghosting, and fall-off alongside the sides with reference to sharpness alongside the sides. Once more, stepping down cleans this up slightly, however it’s a little disappointing. From testing the distortion, whereas slight, cleans up once you shoot across the 14-15mm mark after which when you get previous the 18mm mark there’s a slight pincushion sort distortion. None of it is a dealbreaker and have been all surprisingly straightforward to right in Adobe Lightroom.

Moreover, there’s a slight inexperienced coloration solid current when taking pictures on the broad finish of issues as seen within the “macro” photos above and some of the opposite samples right here. For probably the most half, that is simply cleaned up in publish with a white steadiness adjustment, however nonetheless price being conscious of as one thing that wants addressing as soon as again on the laptop.

Utilizing filters on the lens works easily with no points so long as the filters are tailored 77mm and used along with the offered filter ring/lens hood. Should you occur to make use of a step-up ring to make use of bigger filters or sq. programs, when taking pictures broad at 12mm you’ll virtually at all times see the filters within the corners of the shot. If that is within the playing cards for you, you should definitely simply zoom in slightly bit to say 14mm or 15mm and issues needs to be okay.

Venus Optics Laowa 12-24mm F/5.6 C-Dreamer

Total, the lens is sharpest throughout at concerning the f/8 to f/11 vary and that is fairly constant from 12mm to 24mm which is a reasonably large enchancment from the opposite broad angle lenses from Laowa which beforehand have been greatest performing on the widest discipline of view.

Sadly although, the corners nonetheless are inclined to fall off noticeably throughout the board. Chromatic aberration could be very minimal within the corners of this lens, but there might be some flare-ups close to the middle of the body in sure conditions. It’s nothing large although and could be very simply corrected in publish. Stopping right down to f/8 or f/11 helps clear this up fairly considerably as nicely. Nonetheless although, sharpness general disillusioned me.

Lastly, since that is a wholly handbook lens with no electrical parts inbuilt, you ought to be conscious that there shall be no EXIF information transmitted to the digital camera. For many customers this shouldn’t be a lot of a difficulty, however for individuals like myself who do a variety of testing and must hold observe of the f-stop and focal ranges, it will probably get quite irritating to observe.

Somewaht Helpful, however Not So Dreamy

Whereas the lens is helpful and inexpensive, it isn’t the sharpest of lenses, leaving me feeling prefer it wasn’t a lot of an precise “dream” to make use of. Very like the “cookie” lens I reviewed not too long ago, there are positively use case eventualities for this lens, however I didn’t actually discover a lot pleasure in bringing it out to shoot with in comparison with a lot of my different lenses.

The Laowa 12-24mm f/5.6 C-Dreamer will get some factors for a way inexpensive it’s and it will probably present some fascinating and enjoyable photos, however past the low value, you’ll probably spend most of your time with this lens residing within the f/8 to f/11 vary to get probably the most out of it, and that feels fairly limiting for a lens that’s already quickest at f/5.6.

I feel if Laowa was to enhance the design by making it sharper wide-open whereas additionally offering some electrical connections to permit for the transmission of EXIF information it could be rather more interesting, even when the worth needed to transfer up slightly bit to accommodate the enhancements. As is, it feels area of interest.

Are There Alternate options?

The excellent news is there are fairly a couple of various choices for the ultra-wide angle lenses for mirrorless programs on the market, and a few are even near the identical value as the brand new Laowa 12-24mm f/5.6. These embody the $699 Laowa 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 C-Dreamer FE and the $899 Laowa 9mm f/5.6 FF RL. Moreover you possibly can nab the $1,299 Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 Artwork DG DN or if you’re keen to leap up a good bit, the $2,998 Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 , the $2,497 Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 or the $2,299 Canon RF 14-35mm f/2.8 are all stable choices for his or her respective mounts.

Ought to You Purchase It?

In all probability not. Should you want an ultra-wide angle lens on your package and may’t justify paying $1,500 to $3,000 one of many bigger f/2.8 ultra-wide choices with autofocus, then I might see it. In any other case, this lens in all probability isn’t for you.

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