My copy of the Venus Laowa 9mm F2.8 Zero-D, tested with a resolution chart

Started Feb 25, 2020 | User reviews thread
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Rightsaidfred Senior Member • Posts: 1,634
My copy of the Venus Laowa 9mm F2.8 Zero-D, tested with a resolution chart


I tested my copy with a resolution chart. Please find a detailed description of my setup and procedure in this thread.

This is of course not a test under scientific lab conditions. It is what I was able to do at home w/o buying any special equipment other than a resolution chart. The biggest drawback when testing one single copy of a lens is a missing benchmark, as explained in the post cited above.

Let's start with a few general aspects:

  • The significant vignetting, particularly with the aperture wide open is a well known trade-off of this lens
  • On the other hand, it is incredibly small and lightweight - you simply cannot "have it all"
  • Build quality is excellent in my opinion

Key data of my resolution chart test (pls cf. the link above):

  • Camera: Fujifilm X-T20
  • jpegs OOC, Fujifilm Provia style
  • Distance to test chart: 23.8 cm
  • The test chart was lit a little uneven due to my conditions, this is not the lens's fault.
  • I did not use an 18 % grey chart for exposure metering, I relied on the camera. Images are thus rather a bit underexposed.

My conclusions from the resolution chart test:

  • The lens is very sharp already wide open, in the center as well as in the corners. In the more middle region of the frame (where the high res hyperbolic elements are placed), my system resolves at least 2800 lph (I may be wrong with the exact number - I am not a pro in lph assessment)
  • From f/2.8 through f/5.6, center sharpness is excellent, and it is still very good at f/8 and OK at f/11.
  • Center sharpness decreases significantly at f/16 and f/22
  • The right side of my copy is a little weaker but it is still OK in my opinion. Let's not pixel peep.
  • Excellent CA performance
  • Distortion is not 'zero' in a mathematical sense but it is really excellent for a 9 mm lens.
  • It is well known with this lens that vignetting is really bad wide open but improves upon stopping down.

My summary:

  • I am really impressed by this lens. I like it a lot for its (i) optical quality, (ii) build quality, and (iii) small size.
  • My rating is 4.5 stars because for an automated vignetting correction of raw files, you'd need the aperture info. But the latter is not available in the EXIF data because it's a purely manual lens. So, vignetting corrction remains a manual, sometimes time consuming, and, in most cases, visual procedure.

Please find my photos below to enable you to form your own opinion.

Comments welcome!

f/2.8. Significant vignetting (a well known trade-off of this lens; keep in mind that my test chart was lit a little uneven under my test conditions at home). Lens is very sharp already wide open, also in the corners.


f/5.6. Vignetting not that strong any more.







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 Rightsaidfred's gear list:Rightsaidfred's gear list
Fujifilm X-T20 Fujifilm X-T4 Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS +6 more
Venus Laowa 9mm F2.8 Zero-D
Wideangle prime lens • Canon EF-M, Fujifilm X, Leica TL, Sony E
Announced: Mar 22, 2018
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Fujifilm X-T20 Venus Laowa 9mm F2.8
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