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

Venus Optics has continued to broaden on an already intensive checklist of ultra-wide-angle lenses with the addition of the Laowa 12-24mm f/5.6 C-Dreamer for full-frame mirrorless techniques. The place many ultra-wide lenses will be massive, cumbersome, and extremely expensive, this new “sluggish” 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 many of the different lenses from Venus Optics) that contains a fastened 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 almost 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 photographs 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 regularly 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’ll cease down for a deeper depth of subject anyway.

Design and Construct High quality

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

The aperture ring contains 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 focus ring has a protracted 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 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 can aid you keep away from damaging or scratching the glass component whenever you place the lens on a flat floor. The rear of the lens contains a strong metallic mount with the lens components additionally shielded from harm 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 embrace a small exterior filter ring/lens hood that gives a typical 77mm filter thread so you possibly can connect a wide range of filters with out having to buy extra 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 try to be conscious that the lens is just not weather-sealed, so you’ll want to 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 extra lighting it’s even attainable to deal with this large angle as pesudo macro lens.

Moreover, the brand new lens provides a little bit of a welcome change to the boring and gentle solar stars that lots of the current lenses I’ve examined have produced with some impressively sharp ten-pointed star patterns. The draw back nevertheless, is when taking pictures large open the lens does appear to lose quite a lot of distinction. This could be the place the corporate got here up with the “dreamer” identify since it may be a bit softer than one would love at that aperture. Stopping down a bit (f/11 to f/16) appears to to repair this challenge and handles the distinction loads 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 digicam system’s focus-peaking instruments to make sure they get a pointy picture, however this may be difficult in vibrant outside positions when taking pictures shallow and nearer up objects and sometimes instances (since I’m a glasses wearer and should put quite a lot of religion within the autofocus/peaking techniques) it wasn’t completely 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 perimeters with regard to sharpness alongside the perimeters. Once more, stepping down cleans this up a bit, however it’s a little disappointing. From testing the distortion, whereas slight, cleans up whenever 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 shade forged current when taking pictures on the large finish of issues as seen within the “macro” photographs above and some of the opposite samples right here. For essentially the most half, that is simply cleaned up in publish with a white stability adjustment, however nonetheless price being conscious of as one thing that wants addressing as soon as again on the pc.

Utilizing filters on the lens works easily with no points so long as the filters are tailored 77mm and used along side the supplied filter ring/lens hood. Should you occur to make use of a step-up ring to make use of bigger filters or sq. techniques, when taking pictures large 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’ll want to simply zoom in a bit bit to say 14mm or 15mm and issues ought to be okay.

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

General, 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 large angle lenses from Laowa which beforehand have been greatest performing on the widest subject of view.

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

Lastly, since that is a completely handbook lens with no electrical elements in-built, try to be conscious that there will likely be no EXIF knowledge transmitted to the digicam. For many customers this shouldn’t be a lot of a problem, however for folks like myself who do quite a lot of testing and have to maintain observe of the f-stop and focal ranges, it could possibly get somewhat 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 similar to the “cookie” lens I reviewed lately, 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 lots 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 could possibly present some attention-grabbing and enjoyable photographs, however past the low value, you’ll most definitely spend most of your time with this lens dwelling within the f/8 to f/11 vary to get essentially 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 knowledge it could be rather more interesting, even when the worth needed to transfer up a bit 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 techniques on the market, and a few are even near the identical value as the brand new Laowa 12-24mm f/5.6. These embrace 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 in case you are 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 strong choices for his or her respective mounts.

Ought to You Purchase It?

Most likely not. Should you want an ultra-wide angle lens to 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 may see it. In any other case, this lens most likely isn’t for you.

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