Laowa, known especially for their wide-angle macro lenses, introduced a new lens for EF and Nikon F mount. The Laowa 14mm F/4 Zero-D lens is a budget option for DSLR wide-angle macro lenses.
You probably heard of their Laowa Probe 24mm F/14 lens (check our review here), which created quite a hype for perspectives not really possible before at that price point. But Laowa has a pretty extensive lineup of various (mostly wide-angle) lenses, most of which have a macro-like minimum focus distance.
Don’t they have a 14mm f/4 lens already?
It’s a bit tricky to differentiate between some of their lenses, because they seem so close to each other, for example: 15mm F/4, 12mm F/2.8 Zero-D, and actually, there’s a 14mm F/4 Zero-D already. So to clear things up a bit:
The already existing 14mm F/4 Zero-D is made for mirrorless cameras (Sony E-mount, Canon RF, Nikon Z etc.). This made adapting to mounts with a bigger flange focal distance – like EF mount – impossible, or at least highly impractical.
The 12mm F/2.8 Zero-D still seems to be the better option. It has a wider field of view, a bigger aperture, but costs almost twice as much.
The 15mm F/4 is an older lens and doesn’t wear the “Zero-D” badge, which is Laowas own marketing label for lenses with minimal distortion.
So the new addition is an affordable, sharp lens meant for EF and F mount cameras.
Laowa 14mm F/4 Zero-D technical specs
The minimum focus distance is 14.5cm (5.71″), which should be more than enough to call this a macro lens. At that point and with that focal length the effect becomes quite interesting in my opinion, all the edges feel like running away.
The Laowa 14mm F/4 Zero-D covers full frame sensors, has five aperture blades, a 114° angle of view and a 67mm screw on filter thread.
The lens design features 13 elements in 10 groups, with 2 extra-low dispersion elements and 2 aspherical glasses to eliminate color fringing and distortion, staying true to the Zero-D (Zero-Distortion) label.
It’s a pretty compact lens at 75mm (2.95″) and 73mm (2,87″) length and a weight of 360g (12.7oz) and 320g (11.29oz) for the EF variant and Nikon F, respectively.
With this lens you have in-camera aperture control over the EF mount contacts or the F mount aperture coupling. Keep in mind that the EF mount variant doesn’t have a manual aperture ring, so changing the aperture is only possible over the camera menu. A lot of Chinese budget lenses don’t feature electronic contacts, so it’s nice that Laowa added them here. On video shoots you often prefer manual aperture rings over in-camera changes, but this is a lens also made for landscape photography, so a few trade-offs had to be made to serve a wider market.
A quite new addition to their lenses is a focusing scale adjustment system, with which you can align the distance marks according to your camera. You can loosen the focus marks, focus at a certain distance known to you and realign the scale according to that. It is shown in the video here:
Pricing and availability
You can preorder the lens on their website for the MSRP of 499$. Other resellers like CVP offer the same service. There is no official information about the shipping date, but we will update this segment once we know.
Like mentioned before, it’s a pretty good budget alternative to the more costly F/2.8 lenses from Laowa.
What do you think about Laowa and their lenses? Do you own one? Please let us know in the comments.