The Laowa 10mm f/4 ‘Cookie’ lens looks mighty tasty
This Cookie might have no ‘smarts,’ but its wide angle and diminutive proportions could make it a rather tasty treat for APS-C mirrorless shooters regardless.
Apparently, it’s wide-angle, crop-sensor mirrorless lens week and we didn’t get the memo. Having just finished telling you about Meike’s new 10mm f/2 lens for APS-C mirrorless cameras, we now have another crop-sensor 10mm prime to share with you. Yet, although it’s aimed at the exact same mounts (plus one extra), this time around the diminutive Laowa CF 10mm f/4 Cookie lens from Venus Optics is targeting a very different target customer.
Where Meike’s lens is big and bright, the Laowa—as alluded to in its quirky “Cookie” branding—is an exceptionally compact prime that trades off a brighter maximum aperture for much greater portability. Emphasis decidedly on the word *much*, as according to Laowa, this is the world’s widest rectilinear pancake lens.
Who’s the Laowa 10mm f/4 Cookie for?
The Laowa Cookie lens is aimed at photographers who want to shoot with an APS-C crop on Canon RF-, Fujifilm X-, Leica/Panasonic/Sigma L-, Nikon Z-, or Sony E-mount mirrorless bodies. These should yield roughly a 15mm equivalent focal length, after accounting for sensor crop factor.
With its wide field of view, trim dimensions, and a design said to yield “high image quality with minimal distortion,” the lens will be of particular interest to street photographers. It should also make a nice choice for landscapes, cityscapes, and architecture, as well as for some light macro work.
The Laowa 10mm f/4 Cookie is quite an attention-grabber thanks to its compact proportions. Less than an inch deep from the front face of the lens mount, it’s just 2.4 inches across and weighs only 4.5 ounces. While lensmaker Venus Optics doesn’t state the material used for the lens barrel, the mount looks to be all-metal. There are no electrical or mechanical contacts to be found on the mount, indicating that you’ll need to control both aperture and focus entirely manually.
The mechanical focusing ring sits in front of the lens barrel and allows a working range from 3.9 inches to infinity. At the minimum focusing distance, the lens will yield a maximum magnification of 0.15x (1:6.7), enough to bring smaller subjects up close for background separation while retaining a sense of the overall scene. Further back, you’ll find a mechanical aperture ring that can access a range from f/4 to f/22.
Aiming to suppress distortion, aberrations, flare, and ghosting, the Laowa CF 10mm f/4 lens has quite a complex optical formula with 12 elements in eight groups, four of them crafted from extra-low dispersion glass. A five-sided aperture likely won’t yield the roundest bokeh balls when stopped down, but realistically, for such a wide-angle optic, you won’t get much background separation anyway, unless you’re shooting macro subjects.
The company’s sample images do suggest that you can expect fairly nice 10-pointed sunstars, though. And courtesy of 37mm threads up front, you’ll also be able to unleash your creativity with some filters.
Pricing & availability
Available immediately in the US market and with shipments also expected by the end of the month in Canada, the Laowa 10mm f/4 pancake is offered in silver or black versions for all available mounts.
Pricing is set at $299 in the US market or $444 in Canada, making the latter about 15% more expensive at current exchange rates.