Laowa Launches Widest Shift Lens Ever, Includes RF

Oct 30, 2020 | Canon, Laowa, Lenses, Macro, News, Nikon, Sony

Chinese lens maker Laowa – know for its innovative macro lenses – launched a 15mm f/4.5 shift lens that offers up to 11mm of shift on full frame and up to 8mm of shift on medium format cameras. It offers the lens in Canon RF, EF and Sony FE as well as Nikon mounts. Medium format shooters will presumably use the EF mount option and use an adapter. It is a manual focus and aperture control lens.

Few third party lens makers have ventured into the new RF mount realm, with Laowa and Samyang being the first, mostly with non-autofocus lenses (the Samyang 85mm f/1.4 being the exception).

Laowa previously sold many of its 15mm f/4 macro shift lenses, which is a wider lens, but whose shift range was more limited due to an image circle allowing for about half as much shift. The f/4 macro started a trend in the macro genre to wider lenses that offer the opportunity to photograph macro subjects with more background context. The new 15m f/4.5 doesn’t quite reach the macro 1:1 ratio, but it has a very close minimum focus distance (20 cm, which is less than 10 cm from the front element). While Laowa didn’t include a reproduction ratio in its specs for the pre-launch period, the minimum focus distance implies magnification of higher than 1:2.

Calculated MTF charts indicate the new lens – sporting a new and more complex lens design – should be even sharper than the optically excellent 15mm f/4 macro. It is also more than twice as expensive, launching at $1,200.

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