Rolling-Review: Laowa 9mm 5.6 FF-RL


laowa 9mm 5.6 ultra wide w-dreamer uwa hyper wide heliar 10mm distortion zero-d
Laowa 9mm 5.6 on Sony A7rII

The king is dead, long live the king! After the Voigtlander 10mm 5.6’s field of view has been matched by the Samyang 10mm 3.5 XP and the Laowa 10-18mm 4.5-5.6 it has now been surpassed by this Laowa 9mm 5.6 FF-RL. Can a lens be wider and at the same time better? Let us try to find out!
Lens is being tested on 42mp Sony A7rII and 24mp Leica M10

This is a rolling-review to give a first impression. It will get steadily updated as we get to know the lens better.

Sample Images

laowa 9mm 5.6 ultra wide w-dreamer uwa hyper wide heliar 10mm distortion zero-d
Sony A7III | Laowa 9mm 5.6 | f/11
laowa 9mm 5.6 ultra wide w-dreamer uwa hyper wide heliar 10mm distortion zero-d
Sony A7III | Laowa 9mm 5.6 | f/11
laowa 9mm 5.6 ultra wide w-dreamer uwa hyper wide heliar 10mm distortion zero-d
Sony A7III | Laowa 9mm 5.6 | f/5.6

Continue reading Rolling-Review: Laowa 9mm 5.6 FF-RL

A Photography Ride through Spring

So, Phillip: You haven’t published an article for three months: Where have you been? Well I sat in front of my PC for work a lot but I also was out in nature on my bike with a camera bag on my back.

Enjoying the freedoms C19 left

16.3.20: The first day schools were closed in Germany

I am a teacher so my daily routines changed completely with the closure of schools: I had no longer to be in school by 8am which gave me the freedom to do early morning rides but at the same time my workload increased significantly since new formats had to be developed to fit the new setting, individual feedback took a lot of time and digital tools had to be deployed and colleagues trained in them. So my hours in front of the PC increased a lot, so much so that it would have been stressful to invest even more hours to produce any blog content. A big thanks to Bastian and also to David and Juriaan wo kept the blog alive in the last months.

While C19 took many liberties I tried to make the most of the liberties which C19 left. Riding my bicycle in the early hours when none is around was still allowed under our relatively liberal lockdown rules.To me there is no better place to find respite from the turbulences of life than getting up with the sun and riding through the forest on a cold morning or slightly less frosty evening all by myself. We also had very sunny weather for weeks which I used to experience and capture the spring like no spring before. I want to share some of the many pictures I took in this article.

The Teutoburger Wald in spring

I live at the “slopes” of the Teutoburger Wald, one of Germany’s many low mountain ranges. It is best known for the fact that Varus lost many of Rome’s legions in it when it was a dark and inaccessible area in the roman times. Now some 2000 years later nature has been shaped by humans for many generations, the next road is never far away and there is no true wilderness left here. There are also no big vistas or iconic landmarks around here. I haven’t met a serious photographer in my area ever. But there are many more intimate scenes to be discovered and I want to show you a few in this article.

The forest is without leaves so the early sun still reaches the ground where early plants have already appeared.


31.3.20: One of the very few frosty mornings we had this “winter”
I have photographed the lower run of this brrok many times but only this spring did I discover this location in the Teutoburger Wald a kilometre or so from its spring. I am not yet 100% happy with it but I will have to wait until next spring to improve on it.

11.4.20: A lone mouflon close to the forest. We have had a flock of them for decades but recently there was a legal battle over them which resulted in a “death-sentence” for them but so far it seems to not have been carried out fully.
Our “medieval” castle which sits above a pass in the Teutoburger Wald. Like most castles it had become a ruin after for many many years when some romanticists decided to rebuild it into what they though was a proper castle. So what you see today is a romantic interpretation supported by nice light and a flattering framing.
A badger I just notices because it made a lot of noise walking through the old leaves
In some areas like this the forest is allowed to return to a more natural state with more dead wood
A typical vista on the eastern side of the Forest


The valley with the old mill

Meadow in the foreground, mill in the middle of the image and farm in the background.

There are many smaller brooks starting at the foot of the Teutoburger Forest which have shaped our landscape with its many hills and shallow valleys. Back in the day the energy of these brooks was used in many mills. One of these valleys is my favorite photo location around here. The valley isn’t large or very wild and the mill which was build in 1888 wasn’t ever an especially nice looking building but with time I have really learned to know the area and taken many images which are dear to me.

A nameless side arm of the Schwarzbach valley, a few hundred meters before the old mill
22.3.20: A few meters from the last image wood anemones cover much of the ground.
I used one of the too few occasions where the forest was wet and could be captured in all its lushness. Taken at the same place as the image before but in a different direction.
A 150m down the street from the first image this image against the setting sun shows the old mill and the brook.
23.3.20: After being locked in for many months the flock of sheep I have photographed so often is finally allowed out

Mill to the left, Teutoburger Wald in the background

5 years ago I had never seen a wild stork in our area now a few couples have been breeding successfully in the wider area and I hope for some of their offspring to settle in the valley.

The pole in the middle of the image is meant to carry a storks nest. So far it hasn’t been used.
  • The meadow and some of the trees around the old mill start to get green again
  • Not two weeks later nature has made a big leap

This year I was lucky to catch two foggy spring morning in the valley



The Farm

About a kilometre below the mill the valley has widened and merged with another one. The area is managed by an organic farm to which also belongs a forest I have often roamed when I lived just 5 minutes from here.

Continue reading A Photography Ride through Spring