Venus Optics Laowa 9mm f/5.6 FF RL Lens Review

My Venus Optics Laowa 9mm f/5.6 FF RL Lens Review

87
Widest Full Frame Lens Option Available!!

In the review I will be covering the Venus Optics Laowa 9mm f/5.6 FF RL Lens for the Sony E-mount and will be using my Sony A7C for the camera body. This lens is the widest lens available today for the full frame E-mount cameras and although the aperture is a bit slow at f/5.6, the lens is very light weight and compact as a benefit.

This lens is particular great for Landscape Photography, Architecture Photography, and Real Estate Photography. However, you can also use this lens in many other creative ways such as ultra wide angle portraits, sports, and more…

In full disclosure Venus Optics did send me this lens as a loaner so I could do the review, but no money was exchanged and I was strongly encouraged by Venus Optics to do an honest review, which was nice to hear and honestly I would not have done the review otherwise. If you want to check out this Venus Optics Lens on their Website Click Here >>

In my quest to review the Venus Optics Lenses, I have so far worked with the Venus Optical Laowa Argus 33mm f/0.95 Lens which you can check out here >> and now this 9mm beast! I also have the 15mm f/2 FE Zero-D Lens coming for my next lens and I plan on getting some killer Astrophotography while camping if possible 😉

This Venus Optics Laowa 9mm f/5.6 FF RL Lens is just insanely wide! It is by far the widest lens I have ever used and with the Rectilinear optical design it has very little distortion, unlike a fisheye lens which often comes in at these ultra wide angle numbers. Wait to you see some of the sample photos below!

Key Features:

  • E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/5.6 to f/22
  • 14 Elements in 10 Groups
  • Two Extra-Low Dispersion Elements
  • Two Aspherical and Two UHR Elements
  • Rectilinear Design, 135° AOV
  • Manual Focus Design
  • 5-Blade Diaphragm
  • Filter Thread = None
  • Built-In Petal-Shaped Lens Hood
  • Minimum Focus Distance = 4.72″ / 12 cm
  • Weight = 12.35 oz / 350 g
  • Retail Price = $799 US @ BHPhoto | Amazon

My Venus Optics Laowa 9mm f/5.6 FF RL Lens Review

When watching my video below, please be sure to select the 4k best quality and to view in full screen for the best viewing experience 😉 Thanks, Jay

VIDEO NAVIGATION LINKS:

  • – Intro: 0:00
  • – Hands-On: 1:53
  • – Lab Testing Sample Photos: 4:06
  • – Real World Sample Photos: 6:43
  • – HDR Photos: 10:56
  • – Sample Video: 13:29
  • – Conclusions: 14:00
Venus Optics Laowa 9mm f/5.6 FF RL Lens Review
My Venus Optics Laowa 9mm f/5.6 FF RL Lens Review
An Ultra Wide Angle Beast of a Lens
At the end of the day I will tell you the Venus Optics Laowa 9mm f/5.6 FF RL Lens is an unbelievable ultra wide angle lens that will get some amazing shots in a variety of scenarios.. Sharpness, color, clarity are all very good in my opinion and the build quality is also fantastic. I particularly like the ultra compact lightweight design of this lens, because in most situations I was using it, I wanted to use f/8 anyway so a faster aperture lens would not be necessary. With that being said the slower f/5.6 lens doe snot make it ideal for low light situations. The focus and aperture rings felt great and overall build quality is excellent I would say. The lens does suffer from some sever vignetting however, but I honestly add that to most of my Landscape photos anyway, so it's not that big of a deal for that in my opinion. However, if you are doing architecture photography or real estate photography, you might want to correct for that a bit in post.
Bang For The Buck
85
Feature Set
75
Build Quality and Design
97
Ergonomics
97
Real World Usability
85
Video Quality
85
Real World Image quality
85
Lab Testing Optical Quality
82
Lens Distortion Control
82
Low Light Performance
75
Fun Factor
100
Pros
Crazy Wide
Compact and Lightweight
Sharp
Cons
Sever Vignetting
Slower f/5.6 max aperture which is not good for low light
87
Widest Full Frame Lens Option Available!!

HDR Sample Photos

Real World Photos

Lab Testing Photos

Full Lab Scene

– Note the significant vignetting and just how insanely wide this lens is in my lab!!

Minimum Focus Test

GEAR USED FOR THIS REVIEW: 

Conclusions

At the end of the day I will tell you the Venus Optics Laowa 9mm f/5.6 FF RL Lens is an unbelievable ultra wide angle lens that will get some amazing shots in a variety of scenarios.. Sharpness, color, clarity are all very good in my opinion and the build quality is also fantastic. I particularly like the ultra compact lightweight design of this lens, because in most situations I was using it, I wanted to use f/8 anyway so a faster aperture lens would not be necessary. With that being said the slower f/5.6 lens doe snot make it ideal for low light situations. The focus and aperture rings felt great and overall build quality is excellent I would say. The lens does suffer from some sever vignetting however, but I honestly add that to most of my Landscape photos anyway, so it’s not that big of a deal for that in my opinion. However, if you are doing architecture photography or real estate photography, you might want to correct for that a bit in post.

That is all for this review, and I really hope you got what you were looking for! Please feel free to ask questions and comment below as always 🙂

Have a wonderful day, Jay

Venus Optics Laowa 9mm f/5.6 FF RL Lens Review
My Venus Optics Laowa 9mm f/5.6 FF RL Lens Review
An Ultra Wide Angle Beast of a Lens
At the end of the day I will tell you the Venus Optics Laowa 9mm f/5.6 FF RL Lens is an unbelievable ultra wide angle lens that will get some amazing shots in a variety of scenarios.. Sharpness, color, clarity are all very good in my opinion and the build quality is also fantastic. I particularly like the ultra compact lightweight design of this lens, because in most situations I was using it, I wanted to use f/8 anyway so a faster aperture lens would not be necessary. With that being said the slower f/5.6 lens doe snot make it ideal for low light situations. The focus and aperture rings felt great and overall build quality is excellent I would say. The lens does suffer from some sever vignetting however, but I honestly add that to most of my Landscape photos anyway, so it's not that big of a deal for that in my opinion. However, if you are doing architecture photography or real estate photography, you might want to correct for that a bit in post.
Bang For The Buck
85
Feature Set
75
Build Quality and Design
97
Ergonomics
97
Real World Usability
85
Video Quality
85
Real World Image quality
85
Lab Testing Optical Quality
82
Lens Distortion Control
82
Low Light Performance
75
Fun Factor
100
Pros
Crazy Wide
Compact and Lightweight
Sharp
Cons
Sever Vignetting
Slower f/5.6 max aperture which is not good for low light
87
Widest Full Frame Lens Option Available!!
  1. Jay, yes, this tiny 9mm lens is a gem. I had the privilege of hold one in my hand before the public release.

    But you’ll likely have greater use for the 2/15 Zero-D. Point it at the night sky: https://photos.app.goo.gl/gxzQL9Re9oTarVkX8 and then bring it to MFD in front of a tiny wildflower (this is a Western red columbine, w/ a dual macro flash): https://photos.app.goo.gl/3y3tQ3k5rbSbQU5g9 It’s not just a special purpose lens, but a lens with multiple specialties.

    Look forward to your review of the 2/15 Zero-D. I’ve enjoyed mine. And btw, the current model has a 5 leaf aperture creating 10 point stars, whereas my original version has 7 leafs producing 14 point stars. Both are nice.

    1. Hi Richard and thank you very much for the reply! I 100% agree the 9mm is not good for the stars, because the f/5.6 aperture is just too slow. I had no intention of using that lens for Astro, but I am going to try the 15mm f/2 for that! I have very little Astro experience and I’m looking forward to the new challenges it presents 🙂 Your photos are both amazing captures!! That Aurora is sick! Seriously, awesome work! It’s so cool the lens can be used for macro/ close-up type shots as well. The optics of the Argus 33mm f/0.95 were just incredible, so I’m hoping the 15mm f/2 will resemble that. The 9mm was really good, but it didn’t have the same punch as the argus. That flower shot you shared had some really nice punchy contrast and colors for sure. What kind of lighting were you using out of curiosity for that flower shot?

      All the best, and stay tuned for that 15mm review which will come in a few weeks. I still did not receive that lens yet, but I expect to have it soon 😉 Jay

      1. Jay, lighting for the columbine w/ the 2/15 Zero-D was a Bolt dual macro flash. Flash was mandatory to freeze motion. Columbines atop long stalks were bobbing in the wind, sometimes violently. Patience and acceptance of many failures was mandatory. So was caution, stretched prone in a roadside ditch also filled with poison oak. Lighting was easy, but precise close focus on a moving target was not. This was f/11, low power dual flash, ISO 100, 1/100″ to allow some natural illumination of blossoms not yet open in background (shade on a sunny day), ILCE-7RM3. Processing was LrC. I have since switched to a Kuangray dual macro flash which has an LED focusing light, but it takes more room in my camera bag. With the Bolt I used a flashlight to focus at small apertures for flash photos.

        The aurora was with the 24mp 7M3, 2.5″ @ ISO 3200, f/2, processed in LrC and Topaz DeNoise A.I. I like to show night skies black with bright white stars so process for this appearance, as opposed to the blue or varied color sky often seen in long exposures; just my taste. BTW, don’t worry about coma with the 2/15 Zero-D. It’s in extreme corners which you’ll probably crop off.

        1. Thank you very much for sharing all the info 😉 When I first saw the Columbine photo I thought it was done in a studio environment, but outdoor flash explains it perfectly! Really nice job! I’m also surprise the exposure of the Aurora is only 2.5 seconds, but at f/2 ISO 3200 that makes sense. I have never used a fast lens for Astro, only a wide angle f/4 once or twice over the years. This will be my first super high quality, ultra wide angle, crazy fast full frame lens to play with! And I’m going camping, so I should have the time to just sit there and experiment for hours! Thanks again for sharing and all the best my friend 🙂 Jay

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