A Short Week - Part One - Laowa Starts Dreaming

on September 02, 2018
I do not normally succumb to poesy when it comes to advertisements for photographic gear - I'm too old and cynical for that. I still respond to bright colours and burlesque kick lines, however, so there is still some culture in me. The reason I mention this is the " Compact Dreamer " label applied to the Loawa 9mm f:2.8 lens...I hoped when I opened the package that I wasn't going to be swamped with Art Department hype. In the event I ended up very pleased. The presentation of this lens is first-rate....including a heavily wrapped plastic bag over the actual lens to protect it from water vapour. The packaging department of this Chinese manufacturer has put a great effort in the presentation. The lens itself is tiny and extremely well-made. The helix seems smooth and the aperture ring clicks evenly into each division. There is even an effective depth of field scale engraved in the barrel - which is hilarious with a lens of this short a focal length. But more of that on the trial day. The lens hood is removable and reversible. No cheesy aluminium mount with this one - That's quality machining. It mounts very smoothly indeed. The dedicated user of auto-focus may decry the fact that both aperture and focusing on this lens are manual. If it were anything but an extremely wide lens this might be a nuisance, but with this one you can effectively set a scale distance as central focus and look at the depth of field scale to see if you are going to be in the range - and you nearly always are. With a modern mirror-less camera like the Fujifilm X-T2 one can set the viewfinder to disregard the stopped down aperture when it presents the view in the EVF...and then it becomes just a matter of framing and shooting. Careful workers can still focus with in-camera focusing aids, but this sort of focal length makes that just a refinement. Here's the BCATP hall at Air World at minimum focus distance - you can see all the way through to the Canadian Car Foundry Hurricane in the back hall and there is enough resolution to pick up the characteristic open propeller hub. Note: the advertising department were not all that controlled with the packaging - one line on the wrapper advertises a frog-eye coating and another line tells is that " Laowa ens (sic) never cease. " Copy writing notwithstanding, the lens proved to be a beauty.