Laowa’s 17mm Is Great News For Micro Four-Thirds Shooters

New prime optic boasts impressive image quality and a great price...

Venus Optics has pulled the covers off the brand’s new Laowa 17mm f/1.8 prime lens – an optic designed for use with Micro Four-Thirds cameras – and has also shared a number of sample images that showcase the lens’ optical quality.

The lightweight lens is perfect for small MFT cameras.

Joining the three other Laowa optics for MFT cameras (7.5mm f/2, 9mm f/2.8 and 4mm f/2.8 fisheye), the compact 17mm boasts portable dimensions, tipping the scales at just 172g, making it suitable to pair with cameras like the lightweight Olympus E-PL9.

The 34mm effective focal length makes this a versatile optic. Image by Jimmy Cheng.

With the 2x Micro Four-Thirds crop factor, the 17mm gives an effective focal length of 34mm, making the lens suitable for landscapes, street photography and wider-angle portraiture. The lens also offers a very close minimum focusing distance of just 15cm and uses a 46mm filter thread.

The fast f/1.8 aperture can produce impressive bokeh. Image by Udom Sathanurukkul.

Built with a 7-blade aperture design, the Laowa 17mm offers a fast f/1.8 aperture that will help create shallow depths of field and will also help keep shutter speeds fast in low light conditions. The lens is manual focus and the front element features a coating to repel water droplets, making it suitable for use in harsh conditions.

The lens also boats a close focusing distance of just 15cm. Image by Richard Wong.

Thanks to the lightweight and compact dimensions, the Laowa 17mm f/1.8 prime lens is also suitable for filming and is drone-friendly as it can even be fitted to DJI’s X5 camera. Despite the features, Venus Optics have placed a very affordable price-tag on the Laowa 17mm f/1.8, with the lens due to cost $149 and expected to ship from late October.

The Laowa 17mm boasts a coating to repel droplets.