How the New Laowa Argus 25mm F0.95 Compares to the Voigtlander

It looks like there’s a brand new entry to compete in the super-fast aperture space for Micro Four Thirds! That’s very good news. Being announced today is the new Laowa Argus 25mm f0.95 MFT APO lens. Besides having an apochromatic design in the same vein of what Leica does, there are a few new things too. I’m positive Micro Four Thirds users are going to be super elated. But one also has to wonder how the new Laowa Argus 25mm f0.95 MFT APO will compare to the nearly-decade old Voigtlander 25mm f0.95 lens. So we’re breaking it down very quickly here.

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Laowa Argus 25mm f0.95 Specs vs Voigtlander 25mm f0.95

Laowa Argus 25m f0.95 MFT APO

(First) / Voigtlander 25mm f0.95 (Second)

Focal Length

25mm

25mm

Aperture

f/0.95 – 11

f0.95 – f22

Angle of View

46.7°

47.3

Format Compatibility

MFT

MFT

Lens Structure

14 elements/ 8 groups 

( Aspherical Lens*1, ED glass*1, UHR glass*3 )

11 Elements / 8 Groups

Aperture Blades

9

10

Min. Focusing Distance

25cm (9.8’)

6.69″ / 17 cm

Dimensions

71mm*86mm (2.8x 3.4”)

2.39 x 2.76″ (60.6 x 70 mm)

Filter Thread

62mm

52mm

Max. Magnification

0.17X

Focus

Manual Focus

Manual focus

Weight

1.25 lb /~570g 

(without lens hood, front cap, rear cap)

15.34 oz / 435 g

Mounts

MFT

MFT

Our Analysis

Here’s our quick analysis of both lenses so far:

  • We haven’t tested this lens yet, but we’re excited to do so. This analysis is based off of looking at the specs and also from our own knowledge of using these lenses. We’ve reviewed the most lenses of any publication in real-world tests. And I personally own a close cousin of the Voigtlander 25mm f0.95 (the Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95). I reviewed it many years ago. Junior Photo Editor Feroz Khan recently reviewed the Laowa 45mm f0.95 for Nikon Z mount.
  • Both lenses have a metal build.
  • Both lenses have a design that caters to photo and video. Knowing Laowa though, they’ll probably have a smooth aperture ring. For photographers, this is annoying. Voigtlander, in comparison, uses a clicked aperture ring. If you want to set it to the de-clicked position, you simply activate and turn a special ring. 
  • Neither of these lenses are weather-sealed. For Laowa, this is incredibly disappointing. It’s been one of our main critiques for years.
  • The Laowa Argus 25mm f0.95 is quite a bit heavier at 1.25lbs where as the Voigtlander is just under 1lb. This is also because the Laowa lens has 14 elements in 8 groups, while Voigtlander has 11 elements. 
  • Voigtlander has 10 aperture blades, where Laowa has 9. 
  • The Laowa Argus 25mm f0.95 is quite a bit bigger when you look at the specs.
  • While the Voigtlander lens goes all the way down to f22, Laowa goes down to only f11. In more practical terms, the Laowa makes sense because Micro Four Thirds has double the depth of field. At f11, you’ll get the depth of field of f22 on a full-frame camera.
  • The Laowa Argus 25mm f0.95 is $399 while the Voigtlander is much more than that.

So in the end, will bigger mean better? Will Micro Four Thirds shooters still want to go with the older, classic look of the Voigtlander lens? Or will they prefer the later and bound-to-be sharper look of the new lens? Will they not care because they know they’re going to edit the images anyway? And how many folks will be tempted by just the price tag? 

Personally, I think lenses like this truly belong on the more rangefinder-style Micro Four Thirds camera bodies. But we’ll have to see how this all works out.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.