We get our hands – briefly – on the amazing Laowa 10mm F/2.8

 Laowa 10mm f/2.8 Zero-D.
Laowa 10mm f/2.8 Zero-D.

We first reported on the Laowa 10mm f/2.8 Zero-D lens back in February, but now we’ve been able to check it out in the flesh. This super-wide lens is pretty special on two counts. First, it’s the first autofocus lens from Laowa, a company that’s made its name with manual focus ultra-wide and macro lenses. Second, it’s the widest f/2.8 rectilinear full-frame lens you can get.

We tried it out on a Sony A7 body, and it feels a good match. Autofocus lenses are typically larger than manual focus optics, but while this lens is fairly big by Laowa standards it’s still very compact compared to the best Sony lenses. It also has a terrific finish and feel, and in our brief tests the autofocus was fast and quiet.

The styling is a bit of a departure from Laowa lenses we’ve used in the past, with a dark gray satin finish rather than black. There’s also no manual aperture ring and no focus distance scale. The 10mm F/2.8 connects to the camera electronically, so the aperture is controlled by the body.

Laowa 10mm f/2.8 Zero-D
Laowa 10mm f/2.8 Zero-D
Laowa 10mm f/2.8 Zero-D
Laowa 10mm f/2.8 Zero-D

This is one of Laowa’s Zero-D lenses, though Laowa does actually describe its distortion control as "close to zero". That’s still impressive for a lens with an ultra-wide 130.4-degree angle of view. It weighs 420g and does not feel heavy to handle at all. It also has an impressive 12cm minimum focus distance.

The autofocus version of this lens will be available in Sony FE and Nikon Z mounts. You will also be able to get L-mount and Canon RF versions, but these will be manual focus only.

Laowa initially expected to start shipping this lens in March, but due to the level of demand it says  that new orders will be arriving in April. The cost will be $799 (about £628 / AU$1,552). We’re not surprised this lens is in demand! It’s a very good price for an extremely wide lens.

You can still try the new Laowa lens for yourself at The Photography & Video Show which runs at the NEC, Birmingham, UK, until Tuesday March 19.