Rodney Campbell's Blog

Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D – with Filters!…

by on May.16, 2017, under Life, Photography

I’d received my new Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D lens quite some time ago but had only just received the Laowa filter holder for the lens more recently.



NIKON D750 + 12.0 mm f/2.8 @ 12 mm, 8 sec at f/11, ISO 100

The holder is designed specifically for this ultra wide lens with a bulbous front element. It accepts slot in 100mm wide filters (same as the existing Lee and other plate filters I regularly use) and also has a filter thread for a 95mm circular polarising filter. There are fairly tight tolerances and with this holder setup the CPL is on the inside of the slot in filters (close to the lens front element). Laowa suggests a CPL thickness of 4.9mm with a maximum thickness of 5.8mm.

I’d been using a 105mm Heliopan Slim multicoated CPL for some time with my Lee kit which I was extremely happy with so I ordered the Heliopan 95mm Slim Circular Polarizer SH-PMC Filter from Teamwork in the UK. This filter is 5mm thick so is pretty much ideal for going in this holder.

The CPL arrived shortly before our trip to South Australia so I took the lens, the new holder and my filters with me on the trip.

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images.

Cape Banks

Laowa 12mm - Cape Banks

NIKON D750 + 12.0 mm f/2.8 @ 12 mm, 10 sec at f/11, ISO 100

This evening session at Cape Banks was my first chance to try the Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D with the attached filter holder for some serious landscaping.

Crossing Dimension

Crossing Dimension

NIKON D750 + 12.0 mm f/2.8 @ 12 mm, 20 sec at f/11, ISO 100

My first impressions…

The lens is uber wide as expected – which allows you to really get in close to your foreground.

The filter holder is really solidly made and works well. I’m really very happy with the ability to use the circular polariser – I expect I’ll just leave the CPL screwed into the holder at all times (since it’s a bit fiddly to get in and out).

The slots for the 100mm slot in filters are quite tight – much tighter than the Lee holder (I tried both Lee and Formatt-Hitech filters). It does require fairly strong pressure to move the filters which I guess is both good and bad. Good in that they’ll never fall out, bad in that you have to be careful as you exert pressure on the whole kit when making finite adjustments.

There is some noticeable vignetting in the extreme corners – I can’t tell if this is just the CPL, the holder or slot in filters (possibly a combo of all three). Basically something is clipping the very tip of the corners. Those tips of the corners of the frame are extremely dark so I expect in real use some slight cropping of the frame (as I’ve done here) or some slight lens correction anti warping will be required.

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