Meet the Venus Optics Laowa 20mm f/4 Zero-D “Shift” lens. Available in no fewer than 8 mounts, this new manual focus wide-angle optic lets users shift the focal length by up to plus or minus 11mm, something that is quite useful for correcting perspective distortion when shooting architectural exteriors and interiors.
Who’s it for
In addition to architecture and real estate photography, a wide-angle shift lens is also handy for landscape and cityscape photography, especially panoramas.
Priced at $1,100, the Laowa 20mm f/4 is significantly less expensive than most first-party tilt-shift lenses (though it lacks tilting capability). This is Venus Optics’ second shift-capable lens, joining the wider, slower Laowa 15mm f/4.5 Zero-D Shift.
The Laowa 20mm f/4 is available in Canon EF- and RF-mounts, Fujifilm G-mount, L-mount, Nikon Z- and F-mounts, Pentax K-mount, and Sony E-mount.
The lens covers a large, 65mm image circle, which allows for its plus or minus 11mm shifting capability. However, on Fujifilm G-mount, shifting is limited to plus or minus 8mm due to the system’s larger sensor size.
Optical design & construction
The Laowa 20mm f/4 has a somewhat complex optical design consisting of 16 elements arranged into 11 groups, including two aspherical and three ED (extra-low dispersion) optics. Venus Optics says it should offer well-controlled chromatic aberration and solid edge-to-edge sharpness. The close-focus distance is 9.8 inches for a maximum magnification of 0.17x.
A 14-blade aperture offers a range of f/4 to f/22. When stopped down, Venus Optics says the lens should produce pronounced 14-point sunstars. Shot wide-open, the brand promises pleasing, rounded bokeh.
On the front, you’ll find an 82mm filter thread; a rotating lens hood ships with the optic. Physically, the Laowa 20mm is 3.7 inches in diameter, 3.6 inches long, and weighs 26 ounces. It’s worth noting that those specifications vary slightly, depending on the lens mount.
Price and availability
The Venus Optics Laowa 20mm f/4 Zero-D Shift lens is available for purchase right now, in all mounts, for $1,099.
Check out a selection of sample images, provided by Venus Optics, below.