Venus Optics announces the Laowa 15mm f/4 – the world’s widest 1:1 macro lens

Venus Optics announced the Laowa 15mm f/4 wide angle 1:1 macro lens - the world’s widest 1:1 macro lens (pre-order here). Here are the details:

  • 110 degrees of view angle
  • 1:1 macro ability with infinity focus
  • +/- 6mm Shift ability
  •  12 elements in 9 groups with 3 pieces of High Refractive elements and 1 piece of Extra-low dispension lens
  • Multi-layer low-reflective coatings to avoid unnecessary flare
  • Carefully control on the sharpness both in the centre and the edge.
  • Limited barrel distortion
  • 14 pieces of aperture blades form a close-to-circular aperture
  • Flat Front element surface for filter installation.
  • The enclosure of the lens is made of metal to strengthen its durability.
  • Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony Alpha A, Sony FE & Pentax K mounts are available.
  • Full Frame Sensor Supported
  • Price: $479

Additional information:

The first 1:1 Macro lens with a 110° angle of view. It offers an impactful and unprecedented macro photography experience.

Anhui China, Jun 12, 2015 – Venus Optics, the Chinese camera lenses manufacturer who had launched the world’s first 2:1 Macro Lens in last Sept, has just released the world’s widest Macro lens for full frame cameras, Laowa 15mm f/4 Wide-Angled 1:1 Macro Lens.

The new Laowa 15mm f/4 1:1 Macro lens is the first lens in the market which possesses a ultra wide angle of view and 1:1 Macro ability. This allows photographers from around the world to start experiencing the rather undeveloped field of ‘Wide Angle Macro Photography’ without using an extension tube. Macro Lenses currently in the market tends to have a mid to long focal length and it limits users to take very close-up shots on the insect or flowers, without showing much of the background details like its habitat or environment.

The new Laowa 15mm f/4 1:1 Macro lens features an ultra wide angle of view of 110 degrees with 1:1 maximum magnification. Photographers can focus very close to the subject and let the foreground dominates in the photo but at the same time, have the background telling viewers about where and how the subject lives. You picture will immediately become very informative and intriguing.

The lens can also serve as an excellent ultra-wide angle lenses with infinity focus for cameras with full frame sensors. A shift mechanism is added at the rear end of the lens with a maximum adjustment of +/- 6mm, which is extremely useful for landscape/architecture photography for distortion correction.

The lens houses with 12 elements in 9 groups with 3 pieces of High Refractive elements and 1 piece of Extra-low dispersion elements to deliver crystal sharpness both in the center and the edge. Barrel Distortion was also carefully controlled. 14 pieces of aperture blades form a close-to-circular aperture, capable of creating creamy shallow depth of view. The enclosure of the lens is made of metal to strengthen its durability. Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony Alpha, Sony FE and Pentax K mounts are available.

Pricing and Availability

The Laowa 15mm f/4 wide-angle macro lens is currently available at authorized resellers and at the English official website. The recommended retail price is at USD 479. Free shipping will be provided during the promotion period. Pre-order starts from today and shipping will start from late July.


Focal Length 15mm
Maximum Aperture F/4
Minimum Aperture F/32
Angle of View 110 degrees (FF)  85 degrees (APS-C)
Format Compatibility Full Frame
Shift (for APS-C sensors only) +/- 6 mm
Lens Structure 12 elements in 9 groups(High Refractive Elements x 3pcs, Extra-low Disperson Elements x 1pc)
Aperture Blades 14
Min. working distance  0.47 cm (1:1)
Min. shooting distance 12 cm
Max. Magnification Ratio 1:1
Focus Manual Focus
Filter Thread 77mm
Dimensions  83.8 x 64.7 mm
Weight  410g
Mounts Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony A, Pentax K, Sony FE

MTF & optical structure

Venus-Optics-Laowa-15mm-f4-Wide-Angle-1-1-Macro-Lens-design Venus-Optics-Laowa-15mm-f4-Wide-Angle-1-1-Macro-Lens-MTF-chart

Sample Photos

Additional sample photos taken with the new lens can be found here.

Venus-Optics-Laowa-15mm-f4-1-1-macro-lens-sample-photo-2 Venus-Optics-Laowa-15mm-f4-1-1-macro-lens-sample-photo-6 Venus-Optics-Laowa-15mm-f4-1-1-macro-lens-sample-photo Venus-Optics-Laowa-15mm-f4-1-1-macro-lens-sample-photo-3 Venus-Optics-Laowa-15mm-f4-1-1-macro-lens-sample-photo-4 Venus-Optics-Laowa-15mm-f4-1-1-macro-lens-sample-photo-5
About Venus Optics

Anhui ChangGeng Optical Technology Company Limited (Venus Optics) is a new Chinese camera lens manufacturer based in Hefei, Anhui. We currently manufacture and distribute Macro lenses under the brand name of ‘Laowa’ & ‘ Venus’.

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  • Louis-Félix Grondin

    I hope sigma or some big third-party player will buy them. This company has original ideas/glass that deserves to be upgraded with AF and/or auto-diaphragm control…

    • harvey

      or the other guys can make their own.

      • longzoom

        Not for so cheap!

        • harvey

          if Venus can do it, why not Sigma since they would have some company size behind the product?

          • longzoom

            Japanese paycheck and Chinese one…

        • fjfjjj

          They could make it for the same price, but not if they wanted to keep it in line with their customers’ quality expectations.

    • ChuLin

      I hope they don´t. I´d prefer to see this company quickly growing and competing with Sigma.

  • ShakyLens

    Now THAT is a neat idea. The sample images look great!

  • longzoom

    Looks great! Can’t imagine what would be done for video! Well done, guys!

  • El Aura

    Is that 4.7 mm working distance with the hood on or off?

    • I would like to know this too.

      • Guest

        Either way, that will not do for 1:1 shots…

    • johnny

      According to the Chinese spec, the MFD is 122mm (including the lens barrel), and the working distance (subject to the first lens element) is 4.7mm @ 1:1 ratio. BTW, its shift feature is for APSC sensor. On a FF sensor, there will be severe vignette.

  • WillWeaverRVA

    This definitely seems like a really, really cool lens. I might have to get one!

  • Bo Dez

    This looks seriously interesting.

  • harvey

    now this looks cool. Wish it was available as m4/3s … would like the macro thing in a wide. I can always adapt.

    • Will

      it is available as m4/3, just get an adapter ring

      its a manual focus lens with no electronic parts anyway

      • harvey

        as I said, I can adapt and indeed already have the adapters, but an all in one piece lens means less work and fewer egress points for dust and moisture.

        • duck

          hmmm, then seal the lens/adapter seem with glue?

        • neversink

          But you will get poorer image quality with this lens. You will be happier with the extension tube solution. It’s not much more work. But hell, take the suggestion of duck here and get some glue and you won’t have to worry about the tedious work of connecting an extension tube to a lens. Does this mean you don’t use tripods or lights as too much work is involved. Guess what? Photography is work as well as an art!!!!!

          • harvey

            you don’t say. Since I have been shooting since 1975 and own more macros than I have fingers and toes and probably all yours as well, I will ponder your experienced words.

  • Yawn

    4.7 mm working distance LOL. Still, it does offer creative options.
    By the way, if you are looking for a close up wide, the Zeiss 25 2.8 can be found used below 500.

    • The Zeiss one is not a true 1:1 macro but rather 1:2. Plus, we’re talking 15mm here. Nuff said.

      • Guest

        Try getting half a centimetre close and see what happens. Beginners should be a bit humble.

  • sausage_grinder

    Yes, please. I use the 14-24mm Nikkor for a lot of my food photography and this lens would be a godsend.

    • neversink

      Read my posts above. Use extension tubes with your 14-24. It will be cheaper and sharper.

  • sausage_grinder

    Also is it just me or is the Venus website down right now?

  • Hmmmm, I am not convinced yet. The video they released looks pretty poor. The photos (above) are interesting though. And 1:1 CWD distance (less than 5 mm) is un-usable IMHO.

  • Chaitanya

    Wide angle lens with macro and shift capabilities, that is really interesting. I would like to see the price and reviews of this lens soon so that I can add this to my bag.

  • neversink

    I posted this in the Nikon Rumors section and in my conclusion I said I hadn’t tested this. But looking more closely at the sample images compared with images I have taken with the technique described below, I am convinced that using high-quality wide-angle prime or zoom will give you much better results. Anyway – here is what I posted in the Nikon Rumors section:

    For better results with wide-angle macro photography than this lens, get some extension tubes and attach them to your lenses. Use an old manual focus lens or turn the Auto Focus button to Manual. Zooms will work, but I find primes are better, though the results on the 14-24 and 17-35 or 16-35 are very good. I would not use a 28-300 zoom or any zoom that actually zooms beyond 35mm.

    To determine the magnification that you will need, use this formula:

    Magnification = the length of the extension tube / focal length.

    Here is an example: a 24mm lens with an extension tube of 12mm will give you a magnification of 0.5 times or 1:2

    12 (the length of the extension tube) divided by 24 (the focal length) equals a magnification of 0.5

    So you would need a 24mm extension on a 24 mm lens for 1:1
    This formula works when the focus is set at infinity. But as you turn the focus ring away from infinity, the internal focusing can vary your magnification. Each lens is different depending upon which extension tubes are used.

    Unless you really are searching for the precise hyper focal distance where everything is in focus, the tilt is unnecessary. If hyper-focal precision is what you are after, Nikon made a bellows attachment (check eBay) which will work much better than a built in tilt as you will also get shift. It works in place of the extension tube and its length can be adjusted. My Nikon bellows is sitting in storage and I haven’t used it in years. I prefer to work more simply these days….

    An even cheaper, and easier method is to purchase some threaded magnifying filters of different magnifying power and put them on the frond of your lens, but image quality will be severely reduced and you won’t get that incredible depth of field that wide angle macro photography will give you with the extension tube or bellows.

    In conclusion – this new Venus lens is an innovative idea, but probably won’t have has good results has a sharper lens with extension tubes. And with several different size extension tubes and different wide-angle lenses of varying focal lengths, you will have a more versatile macro system than buying this lens, which I obviously haven’t tested.

    • neversink

      After looking at the sample images, I am convinced that the method I described in the above post with a prime will give you much sharper results. The sample images look incredibly soft compared to the results you will get with an extension tube and a wide-angle prime or zoom lens.

  • ChuLin

    This lens is a dream come true! Maybe good for movies too.

  • Nutz

    The hood (shade for the colonials) is deeper than the WD!!!!!!

  • animalsbybarry

    This lens is vitrtually useless.
    The working disance is so short as to make lighting your subject extremely difficult, and squashing it extremelhy easy.
    The snail in the video is attacking the lens!
    All the samples show terrible distortion. ..altthough that may be what someone wants to create..
    Most macro users prefer 90mm, with 50mm already considered short.
    The mtf charts on this lens are terrible…it does not have anything resembling a flat field..if you occasionally want this type of effect use extension tubes or diopters. It is not somyething snyuone will want to do often enough to warrent a dedicated lens for.

  • johnny

    I’ve been expecting this kind of lens for a long time. Great for still life photography. I will put an order for it!

  • 24×36

    At last, the perfect lens for rattlesnakes and grizzly bears. LOL.

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