Chinese lens manufacturer Venus Optics has announced a portrait lens that uses an apodization element and dual diaphragms to produce better looking out-of-focus highlights. The company says that the apodization element in the new Laowa 105mm F2 STF acts as a radial gradient filter that becomes darker towards its outer edge. This graduation of tone is said to help produce smooth tonal transitions in out-of-focus discs. The element works in conjunction with a 14-bladed diaphragm that Venus Optics says forms a constantly circular aperture directly before the light meets the main second aperture, which still determines the f-number and the depth of field.

This approach is very similar to the one used in the Minolta (and, more recently, Sony) 135mm STF F2.8 [T4.5] lens.

The lens uses 11 elements arranged in eight groups and includes a single forward element that has a high refractive index and three made from low dispersion glass. The company claims that this design is ‘proven to deliver images with extreme sharpness and limit the chromatic aberrations at its lowest.’

The all-metal lens will be available in mounts for Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony FE, Pentax K and Sony A cameras. The Loawa 105mm F2 STF will cost $699. For more information visit the Venus Optics website.

Press release:

Anhui China, Mar 10, 2016 – Venus Optics, the Chinese camera lenses manufacturer who had launched the world’s Widest 1:1 Macro lens last June, has just released another extraordinary lens, Laowa 105mm f/2 (t/3.2) Smooth Trans Focus Lens for DSLR cameras.

The new Laowa 105mm f/2 Smooth Trans Focus Lens incorporates an unique optical design with an apodization (APD) element next to the aperture. The APD element resembles the function of an ND filter which becomes thicker towards the perimeter, gradually reducing the amount of light transmission towards the periphery to produce a soft, natural and beautifully diffused out-of-focus rendition (or called bokeh).
The new Laowa 105mm f/2 Smooth Trans Focus Lens offers two separate diaphragms. The stepless 14-bladed perfectly circular aperture, in conjunction with the apodization element gives this lens the ability to produce smooth and pleasing bokeh. It is also useful for videographers to control the amount of light passes through the lens. The 8-bladed aperture is to determine the effective aperture opening (f-number) and the depth-of-field formed.

The lens houses with 11 elements in 8 groups with 1 piece of High Refractive elements, 3 pieces of Low Dispersion elements and 1pc of Apodisation element. This optical design is proven to deliver images with extreme sharpness and limit the chromatic abberations at its lowest. The enclosure of the lens is made of metal to strengthen its durability. Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony FE, Sony Alpha and Pentax K mounts are available.

Pricing and Availability
The Laowa 105mm f/2 Smooth Trans Focus lens will be available at authorized resellers and at the English official website ( The recommended retail price without tax is USD 699. Free shipping will be provided during the promotion period.

Pre-order starts from today and shipping for Canon EF / Nikon AI / Sony FE mounts will start from April. Delivery for Sony A / Pentax K mounts will start from May.