This lens is currently (July 2019) the widest zoom lens available for full frame mirrorless cameras. Designed primarily for travel photography, Laowa has managed to compress the size to the smallest in its class, less than 9.1 cm long and only 496 g. The 130° (10mm) to 102° (18mm) angle of view provides flexibility for photographers to compose landscape or architecture photos with ease. The aperture blade system is carefully designed to produce the best sun-star renderings among all UWA lenses on the market.
A photographer cannot create a great landscape photo without using a filter. Laowa has conveniently designed a 37mm filter thread into the back of the lens for photographers to use ND filters with ease.
Due to its extreme compact size, this lens is able to take 100mm-wide filter systems as opposed to the much bulkier and more expensive 150mm systems required by other UWA lenses.
This combination from NiSi and Laowa is the only system wider than 16mm that is compatible with a 100mm filter system, by a massive 4mm margin.
This lens features one of the closest focusing distances among all UWA lenses for Sony cameras. It focuses as close as 15 cm from the sensor, which offers an additional degree of fun for making macro shots. Comparing other ultra-wide native FF E-mount lenses, the shortest focusing distance is only 28 cm for the Sony 12-24mm and 16-35mm lenses and 30 cm Voigtlander 10mm, 12mm & 15mm lenses.
The click/clickless aperture can be toggled by a switch on the lens barrel. This added feature is extremely useful for videographers.
The Laowa 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 is comprised of 14 elements in 10 groups with 2 aspheric elements and 1 Extra-Low dispersion element. The patented optical design successfully minimises distortion and chromatic aberrations to its lowest levels, while delivering superb optical performance from edge to edge.
Full size sample images can be found in Laowa’s Flickr gallery here.