Venus Optics, the brains behind the brand Laowa, has released another unique focal length for filmmakers. This time it's the 9mm F5.6 FF RL, a full-frame lens capable of capturing a very wide angle of view.
The focal length is one of the widest available lenses for full-frame that isn't a fisheye. It provides a 135° angle of view without much distortion which is ideal for filmmakers looking to frame a unique perspective. Optically, it's comprised of 14 elements in 10 groups including two aspherical elements and two extra-low dispersion elements to thwart chromatic aberrations and distortion.
The 5 blade aperture design creates a near-perfect 10-point sunstar, and though a slower F5.6 aperture, it should still work well in low lighting conditions. Especially cameras with dual native ISO.
The lens is very compact, only 2.4" (6 cm) in length and it weighs only 12.3 oz (350 g), making it a solid candidate for gimbal or drone use. It also touts a close focusing distance of 4.72" (12 cm) from the subject to the sensor allowing filmmakers to control depth of field much more easily. Despite not having a front filter for accessories, Venus Optics has teamed up with partners to design a filter holder where 100mm wide filters can be used without serious vignetting.
The 9mm F5.6 FF RL doesn't have Laowa's Zero Distortion feature like the 9mm F2.8 Zero-D but should do fine in most situations. If you have a Micro Four Thirds Mount, Fuji X, Sony E, or Canon EF-M mount, the 9mm F2.8 Zero-D is the better option because of the faster aperture and zero distortion.
The 9mm F5.6 FF RL is available now in Sony FE, Nikon Z, L mount, and Leica M. The latter is a first for Laowa and it comes in either silver or black colorways. The U.S. price for the Leica M mount is set at $899, and for Sony FE, Nikon Z, and L mount, it's $799.