Lately there has been an increase in Chinese brands popping up in all kinds of industries and providing people with rather impressive products, Laowa is one such company. A fairly recent player in the camera lens industry, Laowa has managed to make a name for itself with the introduction of its 12mm f/2.8 wide angle lens. Today, we are going to be taking a look at this company’s 15mm f/2 lens that they have produced with Sony’s E-mount kept in mind, this compact, fast and incredibly smooth lens has a lot to offer that makes the lens really impressive.
Looks wise, the Laowa 15mm seems quite small due to the fact that it is designed specifically for the Sony E-mount and that it is a purely manual lens without any circuitry in it. One of the most impressive things about its body is the fact that the lens completely metal, this gives it a very nice weighty feel and also ups the lens durability. Anyone who is into vintage looking cameras will immediately fall in love with this lens since it gives a very old fashioned cinema camera feel to any camera that it gets attached to.
Aesthetics aside, the lens also has a number of thoughtful markings on it, its focus ring is also quite smooth and satisfying to use, and the smoothness of the ring will also allow the camera to perform as a decent videography lens. Its 72mm front comes with a detachable hood that can be swapped with various filters quite easily, Laowa’s 15mm is designed to be filter friendly, which is a handy feature for those of you who like to a play around with their camera a lot.
A great thing about this camera is its spot on manual focus, the smoothness of the ring makes carrying out even the minutest tweaks feel like a breeze, the lens also manages to provide decent focusing ability in darker areas. The 15mm offers very nice sharpness as well, every area of pictures manages to remain clear and defined, and the lens manages to deliver the “zero distortion” that Laowa has advertised about their lens.
Along with superb sharpness, this lens also manages to deliver very smooth and dreamy bokeh shots, which look even more fascinating when shot from as close as 15cm from the subject (the lens’ minimum subject distance).
Overall, Laowa’s 15mm f/2 lens comes in a small yet sturdy package that delivers surprisingly good performance, a great manual focus experience and the ability to accept filters quite easily, all at a very decent price. If you are someone who can get over the fact that this lens has no electronics in it, then you should definitely give it a go.