Venus Optics launches Laowa 20mm f4 Zero-D Shift Lens for Architectural Photography

With the Laowa 20mm f4 Zero-D Shift, the Venus Optics introduced another wide-angle shift lens after the Laowa 15mm f4.5 Zero-D Shift. The new 20mm lens was designed for full and medium format cameras, where medium format means Fujifilm’s GFX cameras with the Fuji G mount.

Laowa 20mm f4 Zero-D Shift

In total, the new Laowa 20mm f4 Zero-D Shift lens is offered with eight of the most common mounts. Specifically, it is available with Canon EF, Canon RF, Fujifilm G, L-Mount (Leica, Panasonic, Sigma), Nikon F, Nikon Z, Pentax K, and Sony E mounts.

Thanks to a maximum shift of up to ±11mm in full format, the new Laowa lens is perfect for architectural photography. The built-in rotation function allows photographers to change the shift direction to portrait on the fly. Unlike most shift lenses in recent years, there is no tilt function.

The 20mm is also another lens in the Zero D series, which allows photographers to obtain image results with straight lines and no distortion, but which makes it very different from other shift and tilt-shift lenses. The high-quality lens coating has been further improved for this new lens in order to further minimize flares and ghosting in addition to the already significant reduction in chromatic aberration.

According to the manufacturer, the Laowa 20mm f4 Zero-D Shift offers excellent optical properties and technical features. The angle of view is 94.4 degrees. With a complete shift, the panorama shot even 117 degrees, which corresponds to a focal length of approx. 13mm.

With medium format, the shift on the X-axis is also up to ±11mm and on the Y-axis up to ±8mm. Even very tall buildings can be imaged without converging lines. Shifting would also be possible today via image processing, but the image would be cropped, and the advantage of the large angle of view reduced. This also saves work, and the quality of the original is retained.

The built-in rotation function allows photographers to change the shift direction to portrait on the fly. The mechanism is available for a full 360 degrees, with the lens locking in place every 15 degrees.

This optical peak performance and great sharpness are achieved thanks to 16 elements in 11 groups with 2 spherical and 3 ED elements. The close-up limit of just 25cm allows interesting close-ups, while the focal length of 20mm ensures a natural perspective in the wide-angle range.

Laowa 20mm f4 Zero-D Shift
Example photos with converging lines corrected by shifting during shooting (left image by Manny, right image by Wu Wei)

The high-quality lens coating has also been improved again to further minimize flares and ghosting in addition to the already significant reduction in chromatic aberration. Thanks to the 14 aperture blades, a very beautiful 14-ray sun star results when shooting against the sun or a point light source.

Another highlight is the rotatable lens hood, which can be turned in the direction of the incident light to avoid unwanted reflections. Because the front does not have a dome-shaped glass element (like the Laowa 15mm mentioned above), screw-on filters with a diameter of 82mm can be used.

Focusing and aperture settings (in contrast to most mirrorless lenses) work purely mechanically and can be done manually. There is no data exchange between camera and lens.

Price and availability

The Venus Optics Laowa 20mm f4 Zero-D Shift lens is available now to pre-order via the Bhphotovideo.com and Adorama.com for $1,099. It is offered with Canon EF, Canon RF, Nikon F, Nikon Z, Sony E, L-Mount (Leica, Panasonic, Sigma), Pentax K, and Fujifilm G mounts.

Laowa 20mm f4 Zero-D Shift specifications

  • Mount: Fujifilm GFX, Canon EF, Canon RF, Nikon F, Nikon Z, Sony E, L-Mount, Pentax K
  • Focal Length: 20mm
  • Aperture Range: f/4 – 22
  • Coverage of Image Circle: 2.55″ (65mm)
  • Angle of View: 94.4 Degree
  • Lens Structure: 16 elements in 11 groups (2 aspherical elements and 3 ED elements)
  • Filter Size: 82mm
  • Aperture Blades: 14 blades
  • Maximum Magnification: 0.17x
  • Min. Focusing Distance: 9.84″ (25cm)
  • In-Focus Driving Mode: Manual (MF)
  • Dimensions: Ø 95mm x 91mm
  • Weight: 747g

About Ankeet Solanki

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