Venus Optics Laowa Argus 35mm f/0.95 Reviews
Fine Art Lens
Rated 4 out of 5
Another keeper from Laowa! I consider this lens an engineering feat because creating a usable lens with f/0.95 has to be very difficult. As to be expected, the lens renders rather soft images wide open, but is still relatively sharp in the center. In this case, I don't care much for the corner sharpness, because everything with respect to the center is blurred out anyway, so that the center is always sharp relative to the outer regions (if in focus). This creates rather artsy and dreamy images, and when the light of the day is right, it lets you create images conserving the mood of the moment to your taste. Some of these effect are captured in the images I have uploaded. Stopping this lens down renders truly sharp and contrast rich images, even into the corners, as far as I can tell. However, sharpness is not my main criteria unless it comes to Astrophotography, but character and rendition is. Besides this, the lens is build like a tank so that right away, Zeiss comes to mind. There are absolutely no tolerance causing play in the aperture or focus rings. Having said that, the lens is heavy. With regards to the focus, it is manual, but I didn't buy this lens for action photos and taking artful images requires time anyway, so it gives me more control and creativity. For some the weight maybe a no go, but I do like it because it feels like something of value.
As I have done before, I have to congratulate Laowa for yet another nice lens in addition to the venerable Laowa 15mm f/2 when considering the price to performance ratio. I am looking forward for more to come from Laowa.
widest fastest - great for shooting northern lights handheld
Rated 5 out of 5
for shooting northern lights this is great. this is the widest lens for fullframe sensor at F0.95 . I shoot northern lights realtime video with this baby, handheld thanks to IBIS, And even photo of northern lights , handheld - no tripod , at 1/5 sec shutter thanks to IBIS ... for portrait work the 45mm f/0.95 is probably better but for wider sky view this is a great lens .
A lot of cons over pros
Rated 2 out of 5
My first impression of this lens is the great build quality. It is all made of metal and feels very premium, which also makes it a little heavy. For the imaging, it is a f0.95 lens and of course delivers awesome bokeh, as most reviews said you would have found on YouTube.
HOWEVER, image quality at f0.95 is very soft and it feels like you are shooting with a bad filter (very vague image and terrible purple fringing). This problem would be partially alleviated with f1.4 and completely resolved with f2.8, but who wants a manual and heavy 35mm f2.8 lens that costs almost a thousand dollars? Besides, the focus ring has a lot of travel distance and it is a little bit tiring to do manual focus.
In conclusion, this lens is designed only for certain people. If you are really into the bokeh thing and would like to sacrifice A LOT other components, this is probably a buy. Otherwise you will most likely regret having it.
Rated 3 out of 5
There is no doubt that this feels like a solid, and well made lens. It also offers reasonably sharp results, even wide open at f/0.95. The quality of the bokeh is nice and smooth, promising dreamy results in the right conditions, or with the right subject matter. The focus ring has a long throw but offers almost the perfect resistance right out of the box. Finally, the aperture dial performs well, both clicked, and de-clicked, which is a simple slide activated option. So far, so good, and it really is quite good in the respects I have noted.
So why only three stars (and I feel that I was being generous)?
This lens, or at least my specific example of it, has an Achilles heel, and it is a very obvious, and significant one at that--light fall-off! As you move away from the centre of the frame, and approach the edges/corners, the image becomes noticeably darker. I would be putting it somewhat mildly to say that the vignetting with this optic is poor. I would probably be better advised to describe it as bordering
on atrocious! I've noticed well over two stops of vignetting in the corners, which is in-itself quite serious, but worse, the vignetting on my Canon EOS R version of the lens is also asymmetrical, with the bottom of the frame in landscape mode being dramatically darker than the top. In the extreme corners of the bottom of the image frame, vignetting is around three stops darker than in the centre.
If all you take are landscape oriented photos, you can probably work around the light fall-off issue, at least to some degree. The problem with this asymmetry, top to bottom, really becomes apparent when you rotate the camera 90 degrees for a portrait shot. In that orientation, the vignetting can't be ignored--one side of the frame becomes so much darker than the other as to almost look like you
have a misaligned lens hood, or somehow managed to get the camera strap in the shot.. It's so dark that fixing it in post, at least for me, isn't a reasonable option. I'll see if I can upload one of my first
photos with this lens as an example to illustrate what I'm seeing.
The only other complaint I have, and this is a niggling one, is weight. This is not a lightweight lens. It's heavier than my EF 17-40mm f/4 with the EF-EOS R adapter attached; but it is a fast lens, so that is to be expected.
Rated 5 out of 5
Rated 5 out of 5