Venus Optics Laowa Lens Codes

Laowa lenss use various codes in their names to denote compatibility or particular features. Here’s how to make sense of them.

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Text & Photos By David Coleman
Last Revised & Updated:
Topics: Laowa

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Venus Optics is a Chinese lens manufacturer known for its unique and specialized Laowa-branded lenses, which cater to various niche applications in photography and videography.

Venus Optics lenses, under the Laowa brand, are designed for various camera mounts, including Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony E, Sony A, Micro Four Thirds, Fujifilm X, Canon RF, Nikon Z, and Pentax K mounts.

Like other manufacturers, Venus Optics / Laowa uses codes in the names of their lenses to identify key features and technologies of the lens. And those codes, or names, are often among the most unusual and hard to decipher.

Once you know how to read them, they can be very useful as a shorthand way to quickly categorize a particular lens. But the codes can also be confusing, and every lens manufacturer makes up its own codes.

So here’s a breakdown of the codes Laowa uses in naming their lenses.

Laowa Lens Codes for Lens Categories

These categories are pretty self-explanatory (unlike those that some lens manufacturers use).

  • Laowa Ultra-Wide Angle Lenses – Venus Optics offers a selection of ultra-wide angle lenses with unique and extreme perspectives, including the widest rectilinear lenses available for certain mounts.
  • Laowa Macro Lenses – Venus Optics produces specialized macro lenses, including lenses with a 2:1 magnification ratio, which allows for greater magnification than typical 1:1 macro lenses.
  • Laowa Fisheye Lenses – Venus Optics offers fisheye lenses that provide a circular or full-frame image with a distinctive distortion effect.
  • Laowa Telephoto Lenses – Venus Optics has a limited selection of telephoto lenses, including lenses with apodization elements to create a smooth bokeh effect.
  • Laowa Anamorphic Lenses – Venus Optics produces a range of anamorphic lenses designed for filmmakers, providing a distinctive cinematic look and unique lens flare characteristics.

Laowa Lens Codes for Lens Features

  • Zero-D – Zero Distortion, a designation for Laowa lenses that exhibit minimal optical distortion, making them well-suited for architectural and interior photography.
  • Shift – Laowa lenses with a shift feature allow for perspective control, which can be particularly useful for architectural photography.
  • Argus – A line of Laowa lenses with fast apertures, designed for low-light performance and a shallow depth of field.
  • APO – Apochromatic lenses, designed by Venus Optics to minimize chromatic aberrations and provide accurate color reproduction. Apochromatic lenses, often referred to as APO lenses, are specially designed optical systems that significantly reduce chromatic aberrations in comparison to standard lenses. Chromatic aberrations, also known as color fringing, occur when a lens fails to focus all colors of light at the same point, resulting in color shifts and reduced image sharpness. In an apochromatic lens, multiple lens elements made from different types of glass or other materials are combined to ensure that light rays of different wavelengths converge at the same focal point. This minimizes the color fringing effect and provides more accurate color reproduction, improved image sharpness, and better overall image quality. APO lenses are particularly beneficial in applications where accurate color reproduction and high contrast are essential, such as macro photography, astrophotography, and professional landscape photography. While apochromatic lenses can offer significant optical improvements, they often come at a higher price point due to the use of specialized glass elements and the complexity of their design.
  • Close-to-Zero – A designation used by Venus Optics for lenses with minimal focus breathing, making them suitable for videography applications.
  • CF – Close Focus, indicating Laowa lenses capable of focusing at a close distance relative to the focal length, useful for close-up photography.
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David Coleman

I'm a professional photographer based in Washington, DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and many places in between. I've been shooting for 30+ years, and my photos and time-lapse videos have appeared in a bunch of different publications, from major newspapers to magazines and books, billboards, TV shows, professional sports stadiums, museums, and even massive architectural scrims covering world-famous buildings while they're being renovated. You can see some of my travel photography here and here.

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