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Laowa Unveils an Insanely Fast 35mm f/0.95 Lens for Canon R, Nikon Z, and Sony Full Frame Cameras

Venus Optics has just unveiled the fastest 35mm prime lens available for full frame mirrorless cameras: the Laowa 35mm f/0.95 FF.

Available for Canon RF, Nikon Z, and Sony E-mounts, this manual focus lens will go on sale for $899. The lens does not have any electronic contacts to communicate data to the camera, and does not include weather sealing. 14 elements sit in 9 groups and featuring 1 ED glass element, 1 aspherical lens element and 4 high-refractive-index glass materials. The diaphragm uses 15 blades and the aperture ranges from f/0.95 through to f/16. The angle of view is 63.4°.

The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 19.7 inches (50 cm), the front filter thread is 72 mm, and at a little over 4 inches in length (10.3 cm) and 3 inches (7.68 cm) in width, the lens weighs in at around 1.66 lb (755 g).

Venus Optics mentions that the lens is in keeping with its goals of creating innovative and groundbreaking products, and that its design sought to find a balance between size, ease of use, and optical performance.

Filmmakers will appreciate the presence of a switch that declicks the aperture, allowing for smooth exposure changes.

Will you be placing an order? Let us know in the comments below.

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8 Comments

Richard Kralicek's picture

Depends on the character of this lens when shot open. Stopped down it probably will be pretty normal, but such a lens will be bought for sucking light when shot open. The RF 35mm f1.8 IS is that versatile and lightweight I'm probably not placing orders.

Richard Kralicek's picture

Well, in case you haven't used the 35/1.8, it has near macro features, IS and way enough room for creativity.

When you go to Petapixel or DPreview you'll see some pictures with the 35/0.95 and get more information about characteristics.

Why do I compare? Because comparison tells you if you should purchase or not. When I read the article above I thought about what might be the character I'd get with that new lens. It has to deliver something special, something different in many cases. Otherwise it's just a heavy one trick pony, and I do have many of them as I collect lenses with special features (lensbabys, M42, Meyer Görlitz and Lomography).

Joe Hogan's picture

excellent reply

Mel Gross's picture

Well, for a few, the bokeh may be important. But please, don’t throw that word around, it doesn’t make someone seem more knowledgeable. There are several reasons for wanting a really fast lense. Shallow depth of field, assuming you can focus that accurately, which is doubtful. Ability to shoot in lower light, which is less important as time goes one because of far better IS capabilities of cameras and lenses these days. And yes, even bokeh.

That has to be balanced out by the lack of automatic features such as automatic focus, likely only fair, or no IS since nothing is being communicated between lens and camera, with the likelihood of shake. The fact that no, this is not a professional lens in build or dust/water exclusion.

Considering that Canon/Nikon/Sony all have 1.2 lenses that are just a half stop slower, but have none of the negatives this lens has, thought with higher prices, and this lens will be looked at a a niche device that very few pros would be interested in, but some amateurs might.

Mel Gross's picture

He’s right to compare it. It’s about a 1.5 stop difference. But just because it’s faster doesn’t make it useful for much. How good is that stop? If you have to close down by a stop, or more, to get equal quality, then it’s going to be a very narrow use lens. But if the quality is decent enough wide open, then it will lend itself to more work.

But the total manual nature of the lens also means that it’s going to be a much slower working element in your system. Back when I began in the late 1960’s, when I was a kid, that’s the way everyone had to work, so it didn’t matter much, but that’s no longer true. So the many disadvantages need to be balanced with the speed of the lens itself, and possible quality at that speed.

We don’t really know about the quality yet, so that remains a question.

So the comparison is indeed perfectly fair. Just because a reviewer doesn’t agree means nothing. That reviewer is nobody, really, just another photographer of questionable quality who happens to write for a publication.