The Laowa 7.5mm f/2 Ultra Wide Lens is a manual focus, super wide, fast lens aimed at the micro 4/3 camera system. It is sold as 2 different versions either lightweight (aimed at the drone market) or non lightweight – which is the one I purchased but is still extremely small & light! Its a 46mm rectilinear lens, as normally at this focal length, lenses tend to be fish-eye style. I found the image quality excellent, especially the central sharpness when shooting landscape photography.
There can be some barrel distortion which is common with such wide lenses but this can be easily corrected in lightroom. Its a fast lens i.e. shoots up to f/2, so could be very useful for night photography & astrophotography. It came with 3 screw on filters from Laowa (polariser, 10 stop Neutral Density & a UV filter) . It works with the square Lee seven5 filter system without vignetting, apart from when you also add the Lee polariser. Its a tiny and light metal lens with a good build quality i.e. has a smooth feel when adjusting the aperture or focus, although this can be a little fiddly, as the lens is so small.
Comparing it to other Olympus or Panasonic wide zooms is difficult depending on what & how you shoot. i.e. do you use filters (which is virtually impossible on the olympus and panasonic7-14mm wide zooms) and whether you already have a wide lens that covers 8mm – 14mm. I shoot mainly landscapes and need to use filters. I already have the Olympus 9-18mm f/4 lens & an Olympus 12:40mm f2.8 which allows me to use filters so I’m pretty much covered for the equivalent focal lengths of the Olympus & Panasonic wide zooms. The Panasonic and especially the Olympus wide zooms are much heavier, so it all depends on what you can fit in your kit bag. Shooting handheld manually, is trickier than using the Olympus or Panasonic wide zooms which have autofocus, so you have to experiment with exposure settings & manual focus but its worth persevering with e.g. the picture below of the Brighton Pavilion was shot handheld.
- Very small and light weight so can always fit in your kit bag.
- Excellent IQ.
- Reasonable price for such a wide & fast lens.
- Manual focusing.
- Lack of exif info stamped on file e.g. aperture.
- When inserting the lens on the camera, the red dot on the lens for matching up with the one on the camera is not very obvious, especially in low light conditions.