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Venus Lens has just announced their latest tilt/shift lens, which is the Laowa 15mm f/4.5R Zero-D Shift. Wait, there is already a 15mm shift (not tilt/shift) lens from Laowa, right? Right, but this R version (Red Ring) is an upgrade from the existing non-R version (Blue Ring). Let’s take a closer look!
The upgraded Laowa 15mm f/4.5R Zero-D Shift lens now sports a 14-blade aperture, the older non-R variant has a 5-blade one. The result is a different sunstar effect and a softer, rounder bokeh effect.
Ultimately, it is up to the user to decide which model they prefer in terms of the resulting effect.
The angle of view for Laowa 15mm f/4.5R Zero-D Shift is 110° and it covers a huge image circle up to ⌀ 65mm. So this lens is suitable for both full-frame cameras and medium format cameras as well.
The maximum possible shift amount of the lens is ±11mm for full-frame cameras and ±8mm for medium-format cameras (e.g. Fujifilm GFX / Hasselblad X1D). By shifting the lens, perspective distortion can be corrected so that lines that appear to converge in the distance are straightened. This is especially helpful when photographing architecture, such as tall buildings.
For filmmakers, tilt/shift lenses can still be very useful, as they can help capture unusual and unique shots that would be virtually impossible to achieve with regular lenses. Note: This lens lacks the tilt part, so it’s a shift lens not a tilt/shift lens.
The Laowa 15mm f/4.5R Zero-D Shift consists of 17 elements in 11 groups with 2 aspherical elements. It suppresses corner-to-corner distortion to a claimed value near zero. This zero is the reason why Laowa labels this lens as Zero-D.
The Laowa 15mm f/4.5R Zero-D Shift is $1,199 for all mounts. Check out their website here. Also available is an optional lens support that helps create huge panoramic images through stitching.
Link: Laowafeatured image credit: Background image by Zhang Xiao Pang (via Laowa)
What do you think? Do you sometimes use (Tilt/)Shift lenses for your workflow? Share your experiences in the comments below!
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Olaf von Voss is a freelance cameraman who is in business for well over a decade. He is living in Berlin, Germany but has traveled the world as well while shooting mostly documentaries.