Laowa – the company sometimes known as Venus that is much respected for its macro and wide angle lenses – announced (via Canon News) a rectilinear 11mm f/4.5 lens to be released in March. This will be one of the first super-wide full frame lenses in the mirrorless market, and the first such lens with the street cred of a third party firm like Laowa. Previous entrants, like the TTArtisan equivalent, are usable but not considered competitive with first party lenses and those from firms like Sigma and Tamron.

The difference between 15mm and 11 mm is starker than many first think. The image below was taken with a pre-production version of the Laowa 11mm f/4.5, showing with the inner rectangle where 15mm leaves off. The image shows some slight barrel distortion, but is surprisingly straight for the focal length. Laowa does not consider it to being its “Zero D” line, where it claims no distortion at all.

The MTF chart indicates it should be a very sharp lens, especially in the inner two thirds of the frame. Astigmatism appears to be especially well controlled.

Its 14 lens elements in ten groups are narrow enough that the lens manages to have filter threads (62mm) without having to resort to filter holders. The lens is only two and a half inches long.

As is common with Laowa lenses, the minimum focus distance (7.4 inches) is relatively short, granting a magnification potential of 0.1x, which for a super-wide is a close focusing lens.

The lens will be priced at $700 for all mounts but for Leica M, which will be priced at $800.