Quirky lens specialists Laowa has outdone itself with the Laowa 15mm f/4 1:1 macro lens. Not only does it feature the widest focal length for a macro lens, but you get perspective control chucked in for good measure.
For some users - thinking Pentax K mount and Sony A/ E/ FE mount, there really is no other option. For others, like Canon and Nikon users, this lens by far represents the best value for money.
All these features are packed into a solid and compact form, with the lens measuring a mere 82mm in length. For me the lens is a little too compact because it can be quite fiddly to operate. That click-less aperture ring is all too easy to shift out of place, the shift mechanism is clumsy and the markings on the barrel are too small to read clearly without a closer look.
Also, I'm not 100% convinced of the effectiveness of both the macro and perspective control features. It is possible to create unusual looking images with both of these features. However, it is hard to light your macro subjects because of the close working distances. Also, because of barrel distortion, perspective control is not entirely appropriate for those that need clinically correct images of architecture.
As a straight-up ultra-wide angle lens, the Laowa 15mm f/4 is able to create very sharp images, with only a little fall-off in sharpness in the corners. I’d be happy to use this lens for wide-angle landscape images without even exploring the macro and perspective control world.
The Laowa 15mm f/4 1:1 macro lens has been particularly enjoyable to test. It’s a unique lens that breaks convention, is packed with character, and offers plenty of creative opportunities. Ironically though, perhaps where it works best is as a conventional ultra-wide angle lens.
For the full review, head over to Photography Blog.