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Laowa Launches Pancake and Zoom Lenses

Despite being one of the newest lens manufacturers, Laowa is gaining popularity after garnering great customer feedback with their affordable and often unique options. In response to this Laowa launches pancake and zoom lenses to extend their range for many of the most popular camera brands including Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm and Leica.

Laowa Launches Pancake and Zoom Lenses

What is the Laowa pancake lens?

The Laowa pancake lens is an ultra compact and highly portable 10mm f/4 Pancake Lens, which is designed for APS-C format mirrorless cameras. It weighs just 130g and measures Ø59.8 x 25mm, which is amongst the smallest and lightest options found in any range of lenses.

The manual-only pancake claims the accolade of being the world’s widest rectilinear pancake lens, with 109.3° angle of view. This allows you to capture straight lines with extremely low distortion, perfect for architecture, interiors and landscapes, amongst other subjects, while enjoying the benefits of an extremely light lens, which is easy to handhold all day.

Sample photo 1 ©Alexander Martindes Chung using Laowa 10mm f/4 Pancake Lens

Sample photo 1 ©Alexander Martindes Chung using Laowa 10mm f/4 Pancake Lens mounted on Fujifilm X-T3 camera with settings: 1/50 sec. f/10. ISO 160

Which cameras fit the Laowa 10mm f/4 Pancake Lens?

The 10mm f/4 Pancake is available in four lens mounts and two colour options, which are listed in the table below:

Compatible cameras

Pancake in black

Pancake in silver

Comparable lenses

Fujifilm X cameras

Black for Fuji X

Silver for Fuji X

X mount lenses

Canon EOS R cameras

Black for RF mount

Silver for RF mount

RF-S lenses

Nikon Z mount cameras

Black for Z mount

Silver for Z mount

DX format Z lenses

Leica L Mount

Black for L mount

Silver for L mount

TL lenses

How much does the Laowa 10mm f/4 Pancake Lens cost?

In keeping with existing affordable options, the Laowa 10mm f/4 Pancake Lens price is £339. This is extremely competitive when comparing it to original manufacturer models with similar features and refined optical quality.

Sample photo 2 ©David Mckeegan using Laowa 10mm f/4 Pancake Lens mounted on Sony a6400

Sample photo 2 ©David Mckeegan using Laowa 10mm f/4 Pancake Lens mounted on Sony a6400 with settings: 1/80 sec. ISO 100

What are the Laowa 10mm pancake lens best features?

Features which create an extremely compelling lens include:

  • Super lightweight and compact for all day shooting
  • Extremely low distortion despite capturing an ultra wide angle of view
  • 5-bladed aperture renders desirable 10-point sunstars
  • 10cm minimum focus distance for dynamic compositions
  • Cost-effective 37mm filter thread to add lens filters
  • High optical performance, which is sharpest when stopped down to around f/8

What is the new Laowa zoom lens?

Joining the release of the pancake we’re adding a full-frame Laowa 12-24mm f/5.6 ultra wide angle zoom lens to our range. Although considerably larger than the pancake, the zoom weighs a respectable 497g, which is comparable to camera brands own designs.

In keeping with previous Laowa lenses, the zoom is manual-only and designed for photographers to capture subjects including landscapes, seascapes, interiors and architecture, where the ability to zoom and adjust compositions provides an advantage.

Sample photo 3 ©Tristan Todd using Laowa 12-24mm f/5.6 Zoom Lens mounted on Nikon Z6 II

Sample photo 3 ©Tristan Todd using Laowa 12-24mm f/5.6 Zoom Lens mounted on Nikon Z6 II with settings: 0.6 sec. ISO 100

Which cameras fit the Laowa 12-24mm f/5.6 lens?

Once again Laowa has designed the lens with four different mounts, which are available as full-frame lenses in these options:

Compatible cameras

Lens

Comparable lenses

Sony E mount cameras

12-24mm f/5.6 Lens for Sony FE

Full-frame FE

Canon EOS R cameras

12-24mm f/5.6 Lens for Canon RF

Full-frame RF

Nikon Z mount cameras

12-24mm f/5.6 Lens for Nikon Z

FX format Z lenses

Leica M digital rangefinders

12-24mm f/5.6 Lens for M mount

M mount lenses

How much does the Laowa 12-24mm f/5.6 lens cost?

Depending on the lens mount the Laowa 12-24mm f/5.6 zoom costs from £729. Once again this compares extremely favourably with camera brand own lenses, which are typically around twice this price or higher.

Sample photo 4 ©Alberto Ghizzi Panizza using Laowa 10mm f/4 Pancake Lens mounted on  Nikon Z6 II

Sample photo 4 ©Alberto Ghizzi Panizza using Laowa 10mm f/4 Pancake Lens mounted on Nikon Z6 II with settings: 5.0 sec. f/2.8. ISO 500

What are the Laowa 12-24mm zoom best features?

With an ultra wide range, the Laowa 12-24mm offers features which are beneficial to this type of zoom lens:

  • Extremely wide 84° to 121.9° angle of view
  • Constant f/5.6 aperture throughout the zoom range
  • 5-bladed aperture renders desirable 10-point sunstars
  • Close 15cm minimum focus distance
  • Convenient 77mm filter thread
  • Front element coating known as Laowa’s Frog eye coat
  • Unique design for Leica M within a range of prime lenses

Is it to use a manual focus lens?

We recommend trying a manual focus lens before discounting it as an option, particularly for subjects for which ultra wide angle lenses are suited, which are typically slow moving if not completely stationary. You may find an MF lens is easier to use than you imagined, particularly after practising.

All Laowa lenses are manual focus-only, which puts some users off, however after a little practice it becomes second nature. There are also a number of benefits of a manual focus lens, with some finding MF quicker and more precise than AF in certain situations.

If you shoot landscapes you may already manual focus, which helps to get subjects pin sharp in low light situations where the camera hunts to find any contrast or edges to focus on.

News summary

Laowa adds two new models to their growing range of affordable lenses for major camera brands, with the 10mm f/4 pancake lens and 12-24mm f/5.6 zoom lenses available from 19th July 2022. The pancake is priced at £339 in black or silver for APS-C format lens mounts – Fujifilm X, Canon RF mount, Nikon Z mount and Leica L mount.

The 12-24mm f/5.6 zoom lens is priced from £729 and is available for the following full-frame lens mounts – Sony E mount (FE), Canon RF mount, Nikon Z mount and Leica M mount for digital rangefinders.

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By Nick Dautlich on 19/07/2022

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