Venus Optics ‘Laowa’ 15mm f/4 Macro lens review with samples (Full-frame & APS-C)

Venus Optics are a new, Chinese lens manufacturer who are specializing in manual focus, macro lenses…often with special capabilities. This particular macro lens is multi talented – not only is it the widest angle 1:1 macro lens ever made, but it has a very interesting optical shift feature for correcting perspective. With the overall quality of lenses manufactured in China greatly increasing these days – this could be a really interesting offering.

As always, this is a totally independent review.

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This video includes my new test chart, as I’ve moved to a new place far away from all my old shooting locations. I’ve tried to make it a colourful one.

My Canon 70D had to be sold as I was saving up for my wedding/ honeymoon, so I’m still using my old Canon 60D. It’s kind of falling to pieces by now! All pictures and footage shot by me on Canon 6D and 60D cameras.

Here’s a link to Venus’s site:

Be sure to follow my Photostream on Flickr, to see sample pictures of lenses I’ve reviewed and to see previews of upcoming lenses, too!

‘Opportunity Walks’, Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0…


David Bryant says:

seems over priced at $500.

Rauno Pakarinen says:

I just received this lens today! I bought it second hand for 450 euros… What kind of flash would be the best for this lens, Chris? I’m thinking of buying the Rayflash RFU-L since I already have the Speedlite 403EX III for my Canon EOS 6D…

John Dennis Macapagal says:

I got this lens a few months back. It is nice but i want more tips to use it more than usual. Great tips! Surely il hit outside as soon as i wake up! Thanks for sharing!

Rachel Z says:

great! It can even achieve 1X magnification, and the shift mechanism is such a bonus!

Daniel Spaniel says:

Cmon, a man who loves lenses would surely choose the F mount – it’s glorious.

Sister luke says:

Is there any way I can use this lens on a Sony A6000?

ray raditya says:

how about vs samyang 14mm?which one better image quality?

Achilleas Labrou says:

Tilt shift lens have much bigger image circle than other typical lenses. That leads to soft corners. It’s unavoidable.

Lorsey Jones says:

I brought this lens for the wide angle and extreme sharpness not the macro 1:1 on my D500

Lorsey Jones says:

I really enjoy this lens, I ordered a lens filter with it. Now I own both Laowa 60mm 2.8 and 15mm f/4. Best lenses in each categories.

Joe's Photo & Video Channel says:

O wow.. I didnt know that lens had a shift option to correct perspective.. Thats pretty huge for a lens under $500! Having to stop down the get the corners sharp is completely forgiving as you will have to stop down for slow apertures for macro work. If thats what you buy the lens for. Even landscape images will need to be at least stopped down to around f/6.3 as well. So it appears to be excellent value for the money..

Magnus Lundborg says:

This lens is amazing.
Have you tried the new Laowa 105mm f/2 (STF)? I would love to see a review on that one!
Venus optics are really interesting..

Aurelie Nani says:

Nice lens. They should make one with less distortion if possible, the 10-18mm STM has practically 0 distortion at 14-18mm, so it is possible I think.

It’s super cheap for a shift lens and great for architecture I bet. I see so many pictures on news sites of buildings falling over backwards, even though they had time to use a shift lens.

Lorsey Jones says:

I’m awaiting for my copy of the lens now, I hope I don’t have any issue. I have the Laowa 60mm f/2.8 lens also.

Sergey Shorokhov says:

Useless for architectural shooting, because of noticable distortion.

Harvey Li says:

Why do the images seem to get brighter as you stop down the lens? I thought smaller aperture = less light

pinkeye00 says:

To bad it shifts only up down vs. left right and you can’t unscrew the mount to switch the shift perspective. Also the shift is only 6mm in either direction. This is very limited. The Rokinon (usually just 100-150$ more in the bargin bin shops) has a full shift and tilt of 12mm in each direction. This is the niche of the niche. Rokinon / Samyang 24mm f/3.5 … you get better range / motion for dedicated architecture lens. Venus gives you macro 1:1 and wider angle lens. I wonder now if the wider angle + 6mm is about as good as the full shift from the Rokinon. Have to compare that. I still find it annoying not to be able to rotate the lends in position. You have to turn the CAMERA to do that .. which brings to bear an RRS style adapter / head system to really get the slide on easily …. bummer. I have one now, and its wide / sharp as expected, but the shift is disappointing at this price point still.

Jan Žagar says:

Would love it if you could review the Irix 15mm f/2.4. Looks great

Mike B says:

If this were priced similarly to, say, the Samyang 12mm UWA ($300ish), I’d be all over it. I could use a more portable tilt shift than my Canon 17mm, but for $500…I’ll hold off.

tom nguyen says:

Chinese lens! no thanks

Darryl Sooknanan says:

I’m new to photography but I would really like to get this lens for the lumix g7. Is t possible to get this lens without any adapters?

Jørgen Mikkelsen says:

Hi Christopher. I wonder if you can help. I recently  bought the Laowa 15mm 4.0 macrolens. I have a problem with the lens. The front element is quiet loose. Perhaps because of the lenshood, which was very tight. Wonder if you have any idea of tightening it?

Lorsey Jones says:

Which lens is better the Laowa 15mm f/4 wide angle Macro or Laowa 12mm f/2.8

Marco Crescenzi says:

Wow! Against the bright light it’s awfull!
How was the aperture there? Is there any chance that at f/8-11 it acts better?
Thank you for your reviews…

Nickolas Dewet says:

Hi Christopher… I adore your reviews… thank you for putting in such effort educate us feeble beings. Do you have any idea WHEN Venus Optics will be sending you a Laowa 12mm Lens which recently finished its Kickstarter thingy to test and review? I’m currently in the market for a wide-angle lens predominately for video use in capturing simple wide shots of people and the like. Just curious to know how it will compare to this 15mm and which would seem a better choice? Thank you kindly and keep up the good work!

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