That is an Virtually Excellent Lens

I’ve all the time puzzled why nobody ever made a 28mm f1.2 lens that mattered and even in any respect. It’s such a forgotten focal size. However the Laowa 28mm f1.2 is placing that to relaxation. And extra importantly, they’re packing it into a very small physique that’s extremely succesful. The Laowa 28mm f1.2 balances out the sharpness and picture high quality that isn’t clinically good. And in so some ways, that is Laowa’s finest lens.

The Phoblographer could obtain affiliate compensation for merchandise bought utilizing hyperlinks on this weblog put up.

The Massive Image

There’s rather a lot going for the Laowa 28mm f1.2. First off, it’s a really small lens for what it’s. And it seems like a basic lens because of the handbook focus and metallic physique. You possibly can simply use it when zone focusing and even when trying by means of the viewfinder. It’s solely if you peer into the sweetness the optics produce that you just’ll see how the pictures glow with a radiance you’d solely discover within the motion pictures. Regardless of all this, the lens isn’t climate resistant. And we’ve acquired some qualms with that along with the minimal focusing distance and the shortage of lens contacts.

Regardless of all this, the Laowa 28mm f1.2 is being awarded 4 out of 5 stars. It’s an unbelievable lens that may please tons of photographers. Need one? Please verify them out for $599.


  • Metallic physique
  • Clicked or de-clicked aperture possibility
  • f1.2 aperture
  • Stunning lens character
  • Depth of subject scale that works successfully sufficient
  • The lens flare of the Laowa 28mm f1.2 is a surprising magnificence equal to the golden sundown all of us want to stare at on our days off.
  • Small sized
  • It’s $599


  • I want that this had focusing and publicity contacts
  • Laowa refuses so as to add full climate resistance to its lenses. And it’s killing me at this level; as a result of in the event that they solely did this, they’d have an automated purchaser in me.
  • Minimal focusing distance that I’d anticipate of a rangefinder lens.

Gear Used

The Laowa 28mm f1.2 lens that we reviewed is a loaner offered to us by Venus Optics. I examined it with my very own Sony a7r III and my very own Tiffen Cut up Display filter.


The Laowa 28mm f1.2 is a primary of its variety. I couldn’t discover any present 28mm f1.2 lenses available on the market. So Laowa has taken the 28mm lens, historically a not very fashionable focal size, and given it the f1.2 therapy. They may’ve performed actually something they needed with this, and it could’ve been revolutionary. However they don’t must. Not solely is that this an f1.2 lens, but it surely’s additionally apochromatic, which implies that no matter is in focus can have a lot extra pure pop to it. Really, this can be a work of pure artwork.


The Laowa 28mm f1.2 lens appears a complete lot like many different optics available on the market. In direction of the entrance of the lens, there’s an enormous focusing ring. Behind which are the gap markers and depth of subject scale. And nearer to the lens mount is the aperture ring.

The entrance of the lens has a 62mm filter thread. That implies that it’s certainly fairly small. However be aware you could’t use a lens filter and the lens hood on the identical time. That’s a disgrace.

Down right here, on the underside, you’ll discover the press or declick change. That is good for hybrid shooters.

Construct High quality

Strolling round NYC with the Laowa 28mm f1.2 in my hand jogged my memory at each single flip of the nook that this can be a metallic lens. Throughout among the metropolis’s coldest winter days, my fingers had been freezing. And touching the lens absolutely jogged my memory that it was product of metallic. Some of us may complain about this, however I don’t. I’ve been asking manufacturers to make extra metallic lenses for some time. In reality, they’re Hillary’s favourite! With all this mentioned, the Laowa 28mm f1.2 feels nice within the hand.

The one factor that I believe is disappointing about this lens is the truth that it doesn’t have full climate resistance. I need to have the ability to take this lens out into probably the most inclement climate circumstances that may in any other case make autofocus lenses pause. And I believe that this needs to be the subsequent precedence for the corporate.

Ease of Use

The Laowa 28mm f1.2 is a handbook focusing optic. So if you realize the ins and outs of how one can use these, then you definitely’ll be simply high-quality. Zone focusing is usually the way in which to go. Nonetheless, with Sony, you’ll be able to see the main focus peaking taking place when you’ve enabled that. Additional, you also needs to allow focus magnification to a button.


After all, this can be a handbook focus lens. So the Laowa 28mm f1.2 shall be approached by of us in one among two methods: zone focusing or focusing by means of the viewfinder. In reality, there’s good cause to need to do each. First off, zone focusing simply makes probably the most logical sense for handbook focus lenses. However if you wish to reap the benefits of that lovely bokeh, then you definitely’ll be taking pictures with it fairly large open. That’s when the viewfinder or LCD display screen, together with focus peaking, magnification, and prayer, really helps.

There’s a tribe of photographers on the market who’ve clearly by no means encountered a handbook focus lens earlier than of their a few years of taking pictures. And they also’ll flip the rings with the synonymous amazement of witnessing operating water from a faucet for the primary time.

Subsequent to them is a neighboring tribe of photographers who’ve largely labored with handbook focus lenses and adore all they will do. They make sacrifices for the Leica gods within the type of forex and vibes. These of us shall be proper at house with the Laowa 28mm f1.2. They usually don’t must be redeemed or liberated with the heretical phrases and teachings of autofocus.

Nonetheless, that is additionally one among my peeves about this lens. The Laowa 28mm f1.2 focuses to round a little bit over a foot and a half away. That’s one thing that I’d anticipate of a contemporary rangefinder lens and never a lens designed for full-frame mirrorless cameras. Maybe this was designed for Leica M mount initially?

Picture High quality

The Laowa 28mm f1.2 is, in each method, a implausible lens if we’re speaking about pure picture high quality. It’s sharp with out being excessively so. It’s not medical both, which affords it a complete lot of bragging rights with us. There’s additionally the attractive shade that appears phenomenal in the suitable lighting. However let’s do a little bit of a deeper dive.


This can be a semi-wide angle lens with an f1.2 aperture. So sure, there absolutely is bokeh. It’s good and creamy too! It could be even nicer if the lens might focus nearer. However it will possibly’t. The bokeh right here pops when taking pictures large open a complete lot extra due to the apochromatic factor. One of many few corporations that use these is Leica.

Coloration Rendition

You know the way Sony is fairly vivid and saturated? Properly, when mixed with the Laowa 28mm f1.2, that shade stays. However it’s acquired this stunning character about it you could’t fairly put your finger on. It doesn’t remind me of a portray. However as a substitute, my mind is harkened to the times when the American Attire fashion of photographing issues was in each photograph that we’ve seen. Besides that it’s married to the aesthetics of the late 2000s and early 2010s. That’s to say that it’s stunning, and for a few of us, there shall be a nostalgic look to it.

Lens Character

Considered one of my favourite issues concerning the Laowa 28mm f1.2 is the lens flare that it will possibly produce. At simply the suitable angle, it will possibly look golden and glowy and beautiful and glimmers and all the nice “g” phrases. The metaphorically golden lens optics of the Laowa 28mm f1.2 outdo any Sony G Grasp or G lens that I’ve used in relation to character.


Huge open, the Laowa 28mm f1.2 is comfortable but additionally nonetheless sharp. However the main sharpness comes if you cease it down. I discovered my favourite steadiness between bokeh and sharpness to be at round f2.8. However your opinion could fluctuate from mine.

Personally talking, I used to be capable of give attention to the main points of this portray and discover loads of issues that I couldn’t see with my eyes on the museum.

Additional Picture Samples

From day one, The Phoblographer has been big on transparency with our viewers. Nothing from this evaluation is sponsored. Additional, a lot of of us will put up critiques and present a lot of modifying within the pictures. The issue then turns into that anybody and everybody can do the identical factor. They’re not exhibiting what the lens can do. So we have now a bit in our Additional Picture Samples space to indicate edited and unedited pictures. From this, you can also make a choice for your self.



With Inventive Filter

Who Ought to Purchase the Laowa 28mm f1.2?

The Laowa 28mm f1.2 is a stupendous lens total. Right here’s who can purchase it:

  • Photographers working indoors that gained’t have to fret an excessive amount of about construct high quality points
  • Road photographers that don’t thoughts not having a lens that’s not climate resistant
  • Meals photographers

There are loads of nice causes to need one too. There’s the attractive picture high quality, metallic physique, and really inexpensive value level. Need one? Please verify them out for $599.

Tech Specs

Identify Laowa Argus 28mm f/1.2 FF
Format Full-Body
Focal Distance 28mm
Aperture Vary f/1.2-16
Angle of View 75.4°
Lens Construction 13 components in 7 teams
(2 ED glass and a pair of UHR glass)
Aperture Blades 13 blades
Min. Taking pictures Distance 19.69″ / 50cm
Max. Magnification 0.073X
Focusing System MF
Filter Thread Ø 62mm
Dimensions Ø2.7 x 4.2″ / Ø68.5 x 106.31mm
Weight 19.82oz / 562g
Mounts Sony E/ Nikon Z/ Canon RF/ L mount