Gear Tech

Supercharge your architecture photography with the Laowa 15mm Zero-D Shift

This 14-blade tilt-shift lens will help you capture the bigger picture…

Laowa has pulled the covers off a new version of its 15mm tilt-shift lens. Called the 15mm f/4.5R Zero-D Shift, the new optic sits in Laowa’s ‘Red Ring’ series of lenses and the brand says its the ‘World’s Widest Shift Lens for Full Frame Cameras’.

Image by Jimmy Chan, taken with Laowa 15mm F4.5 Zero-D Shift / Laowa

A key difference included on this upgraded version of the lens is the aperture design – instead of 7 blades, the Red Ring 15mm offers a 14-bladed aperture and this means the lens can produce amazing ‘sunbursts’ when greeted with a lightsource in the scene, such as artificial street lighting.

Image by Carlo Yuan, taken with Laowa 15mm F4.5 Zero-D Shift / Laowa

Tilt/Shift lenses do an excellent job at controlling converging verticals, which is the phenomena you’ve probably seen when shooting tall buildings with a wide angle lens and the tops of the buildings appear to lean into each other. The Tilt/Shift optics corrects this and the Laowa 15mm has +/- 11mm of shift. 

The angle of view for Laowa 15mm f/4.5R Zero-D Shift is 110° and it covers a huge image circle up to ⌀ 65mm, meaning it will prove to be a hugely useful lens for professional architecture photographers, who wish to frame up buildings in tight spaces where they can’t retreat too far to use a standard wide-angle lens.

Image by Ch Sharpen, taken with Laowa 15mm F4.5 Zero-D Shift / Laowa

Amazingly, the Laowa 15mm Zero-D Shift has such a huge imaging circle that the lens is compatible for use on Medium Format cameras like Fuji’s G-mount bodies, along with full-frame mirrorless cameras, too. 

Image by Jimmy Chan, taken with Laowa 15mm F4.5 Zero-D Shift / Laowa

Built around a ‘17 elements in 11 groups’ construction, the 15mm Zero-D Shift includes not one, but two aspherical elements. Laowa says the lens suppresses the distortion to nearly zero level from corner to corner, suggesting the optic is suitable for professional use. What’s more, the lens includes a newly-designed coating technology to suppress chromatic aberration, flaring, and ghosting effects.

Image by Carlo Yuen, taken with Laowa 15mm F4.5 Zero-D Shift / Laowa

Other features include an incredibly close minimum focusing distance of just 20cm, which will allow photographers to also make more of the foreground interest in the scene. Lastly, the 15mm Zero-D features a rotation function on the barrel, enabling photographers to change the direction of the shift by pressing an unlock button with the lens barrel that can be rotated at 360° and clicks every 15°.

Image by Ch Sharpen, taken with Laowa 15mm F4.5 Zero-D Shift / Laowa