At CP+ 2019 we talked to Laowa about their 25-100mm T2.9 OOOM cinema lens. We first saw the lens almost 5 months ago and we were keen to find out how its development was progressing and when it will start to ship.
I got to shoot with the latest version of the lens, which while optically the same as the one that will ship, is still undergoing mechanical changes. Here are my takeaways from using the lens:
- Nice and sharp (even at T2.9)
- Nice round bokeh
- Almost no focus breathing
- Very little chromatic aberration
- Focus rotation is probably too big for the users it is targetting
- It’s a little on the heavy side
The lens features industry standard 0.8 mod /32 pitch gears. The 270° focus rotation while nice, is probably a little too big for the intended audience for this lens. Even though Laowa is calling it a lightweight cinema zoom. At ~2.5kg (5.5lb) it is still a little on the heavy side, but in saying that, it is a reasonable weight for a PL zoom lens with a 4x magnification.
The 25-100mm t/2.9 Cine Lightweight Zoom only covers Super35 sensors. The optical design consists of 20 elements in 16 groups, and the lens has 9 aperture blades, so in theory, it should produce nice bokeh. The minimum focus distance of the lens is 60cm (23.6″). No, the OOOM written on the lens barrel isn’t a typo, it stands for “Out Of Our Minds”
Unlike some cine lens in the market which are re-engineered from a photo zoom lens, the Laowa Cine lens is a brand new purpose built cinema lens. Laowa claims that it is truly parfocal (not that there truly is such a thing), meaning the focus will never shift when you zoom in or zoom back out. It is designed to have nearly zero focus breathing throughout the whole zoom range and I found that to be the case.
In what is bound to be good news to potential purchases of this lens, Laowa did tell us that they are working on other focal length zooms to add to the series. I would imagine these would consist of a wider focal length zoom, as well as a longer focal length zoom. Laowa also said they are working on full frame cinema zooms as well.
Laowa wants to price this lens so that it is more affordable than say the Zeiss LWZ.3 21-100mm T2.9-3.9 ($9,900 USD) and the Angenieux EZ-1 30-90mm S35 Cinema Zoom ($12,990 USD). If I was a betting man I would be guessing that the Laowa zoom will probably sell for around $7,000 USD.
As far as shipping dates are concerned, Laowa is still targetting the middle to end of 2019 (I know that’s not very specific!).