The New Laowa 10mm F4 Makes a Very Exciting Claim

It’s time for one of our favorite things: pancake lenses! And Venus Optics are calling their new Laowa 10mm f4 lens a “cookie” (but we can traditionally call it a pancake). This new, super thin is designed for APS-C cameras. So that means Fujifilm, Sony, Canon, L-mount, and Nikon owners can use it with relative ease. What’s even more impressive is the fact that Laowa made this into a wide-angle lens that they claim is the world’s smallest rectilinear lens. Further, they’re saying it can fit in your pocket.

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Tech Specs of the Laowa 10mm f4

These specs are taken from the Laowa press release.

Laowa 10mm f/4 Cookie

Focal length

10mm

Aperture range

f/4-22

Angle of view

109.3°

Format

APS-C

Lens structure

12 elements in 8 groups
(4 ED elements)

Aperture blades

5 blades

Maximum magnification

0.15x

Minimum focusing distance

100mm

Focus Method

Manual (MF)

Dimensions for Filter Thread

Ø 37mm

Dimensions

About Ø 59.8mm (2.35”) * 25mm (0.98”)

Weight

About 130g (0.29lbs)

Mount

Black & Silver version for all mounts:
Canon RF / Nikon Z / Sony E / L mount / Fuji X

Price

$299

Laowa Keeps Putting Out High-Quality Glass

It’s true; it seems like there’s a new announcement from Venus Optics Laowa every few weeks. And they’re putting out new lenses at a pace far faster than the Japanese. This new Laowa 10mm f4 lens is satisfying the needs of so many different photographers. For years, there haven’t been a lot of small wide-angle lenses made for APS-C cameras. Instead, manufacturers would tell you to just go reach for full-frame variants. But with APS-C cameras being more prevalent because of supply issues, it makes sense to support them with lenses. 

Something we’re very curious about though is Laowa’s claim that this is a fully rectilinear lens. We’re a little shocked and amazed at that claim. It’s one we’ll need to test for ourselves once the review unit comes in. 

But more than that, we’re expecting a few things from Laowa:

  • High-quality optics while maintaining the character we like
  • No weather resistance despite a metal build
  • No focus confirmation chips inside

All of these things make Laowa lenses more difficult to use but also more rewarding. Focus peaking on modern cameras isn’t always that great or even that accurate unless there are focus confirmation chips.

With this said, we’re excited to be testing the Laowa 10mm f4 on the Fujifilm X series cameras we have around. Combining this lens with the Velvia or Provia film simulations are bound to give really fun results. Plus, the Laowa 10mm f4 has five aperture blades that will give you a sunstar lens flare. Lots of the sample images the company gave us included heavy post-production. With that in mind, any lens can do a great job with a lot of edits via software. But, we’re curious to see how it performs for someone who doesn’t want to do any post-production editing. 

Speaking of mounts, we’re fascinated to see that Laowa bothered to make it for Leica L mount. I mean, why? The only camera maker that put out APS-C cameras was Leica for the TL series. And the entire TL series of cameras have been discontinued because they didn’t sell well. Instead, everyone goes for the Leica full-frame cameras that are a million times better. I also don’t see Panasonic or Sigma putting out APS-C cameras anytime soon. If anything, I’d hope that Sigma just stays out of cameras and sticks to lenses.

Chris Gampat

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