The Laowa 15mm 2.0 Zero-D is a lens I have been waiting for eagerly since I took a few snaps with the prototype at Photokina in 2016. It is one of the very few lenses making actual use of the narrow flange distance of mirrorless cameras.
But does it only look good on paper or can it keep up with my high expectations? Find out in this review!
This is a Rolling-Review, bits and pieces will be added as we get to know the lens better. Last Update: Review finalized (12/03/17)
P: Hi Bob, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to use manual lenses?
B: I’m originally from New York City but oddly enough, I’ve never really photographed there. I live in the suburbs of Minneapolis, MN and work downtown. Hence, you can usually find me photographing both natural and urban landscapes. I’ve been photographing since the mid-80s but it was a fledgling interest initially. While I have a Ph.D. in organic chemistry, the darkroom was never all that interesting to me. My obsessions with photography took off when digital cameras took off as well. Maybe it was the instant feedback but the digital darkroom resonated with me. I started with a Nikon 880 but quickly transitioned to Canon with the Canon 10D. Then came the 20D, 30D and 5D. About this time, I really started getting into Canon L glass. In 2003, I joined FredMiranda.com. I learned more about photography by reading and looking at images on that site, than any other. It was there I was introduced to the Alternative Forum.
I have already reviewed the Canon EF 200mm 1.8 L and the rare Voigtlander SL 180mm 4.0 APO-Lanthar, but the Olympus OM 180mm 2.0 Zuiko Auto-T is even rarer. I guess most of you didn’t know it even existed.
The Olympus an exotic relic from the past, one of Olympus’ masterpieces when it comes to 35mm lenses. So let us have a look at what I think is the first and only review of this lens on a (high res) digital full frame camera like the A7rII.
User Characterization: Ordinary travel-by bike or car or planedoesn’t prevent you from taking many of the lenses we have recommended here. But there’s one kind of travel which places serious demands on the weight of your equipment. Hiking for many days, taking your accomodation and food on your back. Or even (In the style that many European outdoor photography enthusiasts may be used to) walking through mountains going from refuge to refuge.
This is a kind of travel that takes you to amazing landscapes that you can’t access any other way. But also, every gram of lens is a millilitre of water you can’t carry, or a gram of food you can’t have. Travelling light through the land, keeping pack weight down, is by far the best way to do this. Outdoors people will spend a fortune to reduce the weight of their knife by ten grams, their tent by fifty grams and so on. Because we know it all adds up, and when it adds up it means less food or a less enjoyable and slower experience.
For some this means that it’s a little compact camera that goes with them on wilderness adventure. But what to take if we still want to do top notch serious landscape photography with our A7 series camera?