Laowa's New Cine Zoom Is 'Out Of Our Minds' Awesome

Check out this new Laowa cine zoom. 

Venus Optics looks like they're about to get serious when it comes cine lenses. The brand is known for developing unique focal lengths but has mainly concentrated its efforts on the stills side. Until today, only 5 cine lenses were available and those were solely wide angle primes of 15mm or wider. The company has introduced its first cine zoom, the Laowa OOOM 25-100mm T2.9.

The development of the lens took over 3 years and Venus Optics is hoping to attract filmmakers looking for a budget-friendly parfocal cine zoom that provides a signature look. 

While the OOOM in its name stands "Out Of Our Minds" might be a marketing ploy more than anything, the optics do not cut corners. Designed from 20 elements in 16 groups, the T2.9 aperture is constant throughout the focal range. With Super 35 coverage and a 9-blade aperture design, the lens provides a 300° focus throw with minimal breathing for a smooth, buttery rack focus. 

More impressive is its minimum focusing distance of 1.97 feet (60 cm) which makes it comparable to the Fujinon Premista 28-100mm T2.9, a fantastic yet pricey lens. This Laowa zoom nearly covers the full range of both Fujinon MK zoom lenses, which is nice if you're looking to travel with a smaller footprint. But keep in mind, this is a parfocal zoom lens. 

Venus Optics says the lens can cover RED Monstro 6K, Gemini 5K, Helium 8K, and ARRI Alexa Mini 4K UHD, so you're getting slightly more than Super 35 coverage which should lead to less vignetting on Super 35 sensors. 

In terms of image quality, the company says the lens is a blend of  "modern and vintage optics," and the image is "not overly contrasty nor flat but with a very good sharpness of modern lenses" while rendering "a natural healthy skin tone and silky smooth transition."

The zoom, aperture, and focus rings are designed with 0.8 mod gears, and the 100mm front diameter can be stepped up to 114mm via the included step-up ring. The front filter thread is 95mm and is equipped for filters. On top of that, the lens has user-interchangeable PL, EF, and E mounts. The lens comes in PL mount by default and separate EF and E bayonets are included along with shim tools to tune the flange distance. Hopefully, more lens manufacturers pick up on this and make it standard. 

The 4x zoom factor makes it ideal for narrative and documentary work to one-man-band setups. With a weight of only 5.5 lbs (2.5 kg), it's sure to please. The Laowa OOOM 25-100mm T2.9 is available to order for $5,000 USD. Additionally, Venus optics has announced a 1.4x FF expander and a 1.33x rear anamorphic adapter for the lens. Expect those to be released in about 3 months. Each adapter is around $999 respectively.      

Your Comment

8 Comments

Would be quite interesting to see how good/bad this lens is against a SIGMA Cine for example. Granted the OOOM has a longer reach, yet the SIGMA is quite a nice lens too.

August 11, 2020 at 7:26PM, Edited August 11, 7:26PM

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The sigma zooms aren't parfocal, so they already lose the cinema zoom game

August 12, 2020 at 8:22AM

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Matthew Macar
DP
191

Okay, Laowa has better examples on their site. The most intriguing thing to me is the anamorphic adapter that creates a 2:35:1 squeeze on 16:9 sensors. I wish they had samples of that.

August 12, 2020 at 3:15AM

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Zarf
200

Since camera manufacturers are tending to produce more and more cameras with a full frame sensor in a low to mid price range (e.g. FX9, a7sIII, R5, R6), I would love to see a good budget lens like this with the respective coverage and focal length.

Or even better: less FF-cameras and more S35-cameras again!!! Small cameras needing heavy FF-glasses is ridiculous regarding modern uses like gimbal-setups.

I know, there is a use for FF in cinema. but it seems like everybody is going FF and then not being able to afford a good lens for the camera.

Fujinon MKs have E-Mount but can't be used on the FX9 or a7s.
DZO produced a nice MFT zoom-set. So basically, only BMD-Pocket and GH5 users in mind.
The Laowa includes EF- and E-mounts but most professional cameras with those mount haves FF-sensors. Who would use a 5k-lens on a Sony a6600.

Are they talking to each other? Feels like lenses and cameras are drifting more and more apart in terms of compatibility. Or is it just my confused mind?

August 13, 2020 at 2:34AM

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Matthias Schäfer
DoP, Editor, Photographer
86

Had a long meeting with a lens expert at Hot Rod Cameras about the OOOM zoom, at least an 90-minutes of talking and testing the OOOM right and several other "affordable" and not so affordable zooms. The Sigma zooms are fine, but they do feel a bit on the cheap side not being truly parfocal. I preferred the look and flares of the Tokina 16-28mm and 50-135mm. But ultimately decided to buy the OOOM, which might make me "out of my mind" too, but not really. The OOOM is the most practical, affordable, highest performing all-in-1 zoom out there and it doesn't feel like a compromise when you test it right next to a lens that costs 4x the price. Really happy with this decision, will probably have this lens for life.

August 13, 2020 at 11:10AM

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The music really got me goin' in the first one

August 13, 2020 at 3:38PM

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Ty Besh
Sponge
1

Check out this new Laowa cine zoom

August 14, 2020 at 12:46AM

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Xây Dựng Honghala
Honghala | Công ty xây dựng nhà ở uy tín số 1 tại Hà Nội
161

The Laowa 25-100mm OOOM is a really unique lens. Film Jams tested out one of the prototypes and shot a comparison of the 25-100 to a Fujinon 20-120mm lens, which had a lot of similarities (The Fuji is more than double the cost though): https://youtu.be/FiC9ToAq_eY

August 19, 2020 at 7:41PM

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Billy Boyd
Director of Plutocracy
176