Venus Optics Laowa 10-18mm F4.5-5.6 FE Zoom E-mount lens review by profhankd

reviewer#45849 date: Apr-6-2022
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 12-24mm, Sigma 10-20mm (APS-C), Sigma 8-16mm (APS-C), various other zooms and fixed ultrawides
price paid:850
positive:Widest FF zoom available
Small, well made (heavy metal construction)
Good enough IQ on 42MP FF, really good in APS-C crop
Good close focus
Distortion isn't annoying despite extreme view angle
negative:Rear-mounted filter a bit odd
Around 18mm, contrast drops off beyond APS-C crop
OK sunstars, but tends to flare with them
comment:I've had this lens for 3 years now, and it's still a very impressive lens that, simply put, can make images no other lens can. However, it takes a while to learn to use a lens this wide well. I think most folks can adapt to 15mm pretty quickly, and 12mm is easy once you're used to it, but 10mm always requires very careful composition. However, the result is that, if you do everything right, the images are truly stunning.

Focus is actually a bit touchy. Everything always looks in focus at a glance, but you really do need to focus to get the peak resolution. It does focus nicely close, which is important with such a short focal length.

Contrast falls off at full frame edges, especially around 18mm, but the APS-C crop area is actually better than my (really very good and much larger) Sigma 8-16mm APS-C lens. No problem using this on 24MP APS-C.

The rear-mounted filter is a great idea, but it requires an extra-thin filter. Beyond that, mine doesn't seem to have infinity match the infinity focus marking, and I wonder if that's from allowing for the rear filter to be present/missing?

Overall, I'm glad I got this lens, but I feel like a 12-24mm is a lot more versatile on FF... so it tends to complement my 12-24mm rather than replace it. 18mm just isn't narrow enough, and IQ isn't awesome at 18mm on this lens. However, this is very versatile if you're looking for a manual ultrawide with good ultrawide IQ on both FF and APS-C bodies.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 2
  • sharpness: 4.25
  • color: 5.00
  • build: 5.00
  • distortion: 4.00
  • flare control: 4.00
  • overall: 4.45 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania