Venus Optics Laowa 19mm f/2.8 Zero-D GFX lens
Image courtesy: Venus Optics

Venus Optics has launched its latest zero distortion prime lens, the Laowa 19mm f/2.8 Zero-D GFX lens. The new lens is available exclusively with a Fujifilm G mount (GFX) for Fujifilm medium-format cameras.

Medium-format sensor

The sensor in a medium-format camera is larger than full frame. As such the crop factor compared to full frame is 0.79. This means the Laowa 19mm f/2.8 Zero-D lens has the equivalent field of view to a 15mm lens on a full-frame camera.

Light and compact

Venus Optics Laowa 19mm f/2.8 Zero-D GFX lens side shot
Image courtesy: Venus Optics

The Laowa 19mm f/2.8 Zero-D lens is significantly lighter than most GFX lenses currently on the market, weighing around 19.2 ounces (546g). It’s also compact, measuring a little over 3 inches (80mm) in length. Due to the larger sensor, medium-format camera lenses are also usually large. However, Venus Optics says that the Laowa 19mm f/2.8 Zero-D lens is closer to the size of a full-frame camera lens.

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Fast aperture

The Laowa 19mm f/2.8 Zero-D lens has a fast f2.8 maximum aperture. This means the lens will be great for use in low-light conditions. The iris has 5 aperture blades which Venus Optics say will give a beautiful 10-point sun star. The Laowa 19mm f/2.8 Zero-D lens is a fully manual lens which means that the aperture is controlled by a ring on the body of the lens.

Zero distortion

The Zero-D in the name of the Laowa 19mm f/2.8 lens, is short for zero distortion. Venus Optics says that the lens exhibits close-to-zero optical distortion compared to regular wide-angle lenses. This means you won’t get curved vertical lines in your images, even at the edges.

Optical construction

Venus Optics Laowa 19mm f/2.8 Zero-D GFX lens with white background
Image courtesy: Venus Optics

The Laowa 19mm f/2.8 Zero-D lens has 12 elements in 10 groups. These include two aspherical lenses. There are also three extra-low dispersion elements and one ultra-high refractive glass element. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 7 inches (180 mm). In addition, the filter thread is 77mm.

Focusing scale adjustment system

The Laowa 19mm f/2.8 Zero-D lens has a focusing scale adjustment system. With this feature, you can easily calibrate the focus marks against your individual camera. This means that you can ensure that the actual infinity point is right on the infinity mark. This is especially useful for astrophotography.

What we think

Medium-format cameras are specialist tools normally chosen by photographers. However, they can also shoot video. If you shoot video with a Fujifilm G mount camera and are looking for a wide-angle lens, the Laowa 19mm f/2.8 Zero-D lens should be on your shortlist.

Pricing and availability

The Laowa 19mm f/2.8 Zero-D GFX lens for Fujifilm G mount is available now. It costs $999.

Pete Tomkies is a freelance cinematographer and camera operator from Manchester, UK. He also produces and directs short films as Duck66 Films. Pete's latest short Once Bitten... won 15 awards and was selected for 105 film festivals around the world.