Venus Optics Laowa 15mm F/4 Macro (1:1) Lens for/Sony E mount

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by Phil Rudin, Sep 16, 2015.

  1. Phil Rudin

    Phil Rudin TalkEmount Regular

    28
    Jul 29, 2015
    Lake Park, Florida USA
    PHIL RUDIN
    The Venus 15mm F/4 is a new lens and what makes it interesting is that in addition to being a very wide rectilinear lens it also does tilt-shift (limited) and will focus to a magnification of 1:1 or life size. The lens retails for $479.00 in the US and is offered in Canon EF, Nikon F, Pentax-K Sony-A and Sony-E mounts. This thread is in regard to the Sony-E mount version. This is not a lens that is truly designed for A7 mirrorless cameras, it is a lens designed for DSLR with an extension added. So it is not the same as using a DSLR lens on an adapter but the same function wise. The extension makes the lens longer than the DSLR versions by about 33mm.

    I found that the lens hood and filter got in the way and causeed flare during very close focus. Life size (1:1) is the same for all lenses from 200mm macro to this 15mm. The difference is much more distortion and softness in the corners at 1:1 with the 15mm because it tends to round the image because it is so wide. To shoot "life size" and to be in focus you need to be only two or three millimeters from the subject which is the case with the attached images illustrating life size. My standard test for all lenses to assess minimum focus distance is to use a 35mm slide mount with a bill taped to a window for backlighting. As you can see at the closest in focus distance of about 3mm from the lens element the image is not quite 1:1. Without a high amount of back lighting the A7 II focus peaking will be very hard to see because the lens acts as a shade and cuts out much of the light. Most subjects will be very close to or touching the lens with the filter removed. A big issue for me is that when working this close you may damage the subject you are trying to photograph. At best fisheye lenses and fisheye zooms on full frame get you to about 1:4 and rectiliner lenses in the 14 to 16mm range get you to about 1:6. So working between 1:1 and 1:6 is a real upside for this lens.

    The other upside over standard fisheye and very wide rectilinear lenses is the tilt-shift feature.
    I have included images using the tilt-shift as well at +6 or up 6mm. Shift only works along the horizontal and only when the camera is set to APS-C. When tilt is used in full frame black lines appear in the frame along the top or bottom.

    At $479.00 US the 15mm is a decent wide angle lens but not stellar by any means. With the addition of the tilt and the increased magnification it will be very useful for those looking for the added features for travel, street and other types of W/A photography.

    For the macro images I shot at F/22-F/16, information which is not recorded in the meta-data.
    For the wide and tilt shots I was in the F/8-F/11 range. I found that it was easy to knock the aperture ring off a bit when focusing, so you need to check that frequently.

    The building shots were all taken from the same distance to the subject and demonstrate the tilt feature, all shot with A7 II. Courthouse is shot first with full frame, second with APS-C and then ASP-C with +6mm tilt or full up. Bell South building APS-C, second shot APS-C with tilt.

    DSC02790-2. DSC02791-3. DSC02676-4. DSC02642-1. DSC02647-1. DSC02654-2. DSC02656-3. DSC02694-4. DSC02695-5. DSC02700-6.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2015
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  2. slothead

    slothead TalkEmount Top Veteran

    544
    Mar 1, 2015
    Maryland
    Tom
    Hi Phil,
    So I went looking for this lens on B&H and Adorama and B&H does not list it for the Sony E-mount at all, but Adorama does. However when looking at Adorama's specs it shows the same length as that for the Nikon version. If they just cut and pasted the same specs into all 5 versions I wouldn't be surprised, but were you speaking of the FE version or the NEX APS-C configuration?
     
  3. Phil Rudin

    Phil Rudin TalkEmount Regular

    28
    Jul 29, 2015
    Lake Park, Florida USA
    PHIL RUDIN
  4. slothead

    slothead TalkEmount Top Veteran

    544
    Mar 1, 2015
    Maryland
    Tom
    Oh yeah, I see Phil. That IS a monster tailpiece isn't it! Thanks for the link. Since B&H won't be shipping until next Wednesday, I have some time to contemplate it, but with that length, I'm not entirely sold.
     
  5. Phil Rudin

    Phil Rudin TalkEmount Regular

    28
    Jul 29, 2015
    Lake Park, Florida USA
    PHIL RUDIN
    On the camera it is about the length of the FE 24-70 F/4 when not extended except it is smaller in diameter on the rear-end.