Laowa 10mm f/2 Zero-D MFT - Review / Test Report - Analysis
Lens Reviews - (Micro-)Four-Thirds

Distortion

These days, a "zero distortions" statement doesn't necessarily mean that a lens is also optically corrected but in this case, the claim has substance. A native barrel distortion of just 0.3% is negligible so the "Zero-D" in the name is well deserved.

Vignetting

You may wonder how the tiny size and the large aperture go together. Well, everything has its limits and it shows with respect to vignetting. The raw vignetting at f/2 is rather excessive at almost 3EV (f-stops) which is way beyond the scale that we are using in our MFT reviews. Stopped down to f/2.8 eases the issue a bit but it isn't resolved even at f/8 and a falloff of ~1EV.

However, as mentioned, the 10mm f/2 has a built-in correction profile so unless you deactivate auto-correction, the light falloff isn't quite as harsh but still very visible at f/2 at least. The issue is mostly gone from f/4 in this case.

Overall, it is safe to state that the lens is a little underdesigned regarding this characteristic - meaning that a bigger diameter would have helped - but this would have had an impact on the size of the lens.

MTF (resolution)

A very positive aspect of the Laowa 10mm f/2 Zero-D MFT is its resolution. This lens is sharp, really sharp. The center quality is already excellent at f/2 and the borders/corners are also pretty impressive. Stopping down to f/2.8 lifts the quality further and it reaches its maximum potential at f/4 with excellent performance across the image field. Diffraction is a limiting factor beyond albeit the effects remain moderate until after f/8.

The centering quality of the tested sample was Okay with an imperfection on the right image side. A bit of field curvature is present albeit it's not excessive.

Please note that the MTF results are not directly comparable across the different systems!

Below is a simplified summary of the formal findings. The chart shows line widths per picture height (LW/PH) which can be taken as a measure for sharpness. If you want to know more about the MTF50 figures you may check out the corresponding Imatest Explanations

Chromatic Aberrations (CAs)

Lateral CAs (color shadows at the image borders) are quite moderate with an average pixel width of ~0.6px at f/2. The CAs increase slightly when stopping down but they remain unobtrusive.

Flare and Sunstars

The 2nd weakness of the Laowa lens is flare although in all fairness - you have to push it really. Below is an example of a worst-case scenario with some very obvious ghostings. Keep in mind that you usually won't take such a shot in real life.

Sunstars are everybody's darling these days (somewhat overhyped ...) and as you can also see the lens can produce the effect at smaller aperture settings (here: at f/11). You can find some nicer examples on Laowa's website.