64 thoughts on “Ultra Wide Lens Battle: Laowa 9mm 2.8 vs Rokinon/Samyang 12mm f2 (FUJI)”

  1. All Rokinon lenses are well regarded in the AstroPhotography community due to its lack of Coma which make the stars look funny.

  2. You say there is no other option, but there is the Zeiss touit 12mm. And while it is more expensive it offers
    -closer min focus distance (0.18m vs 0.2m)(1:9 vs 1:11)
    -slightly better edge sharpness
    -much better contrast and flare resistance against bright lights
    So it might be worth it

  3. I currently own the 9mm Laowa, and 14mm f2.8 and 16mm f1.4 Fujinons. The 16mm is my favourite, but had no issues with the 9mm when I need ultra wide. Incidentally, I’ve had the Zeiss 12mm and the Fujinon 10-24mm in the past and had been disappointed by both.

  4. I rented the 10-24mm for a week, have to send it back Friday. I'm not overly impressed with it for $1k! I did spend the cash for the 16/1.4 though (gosh, this lens is my favorite!) and like you I look for close focus as I do a lot of Macro. Guess nothing can beat the 16mm…I can even crop with that close focus and it serves my macro work nicely! I think I'm set with lenses (for me) I have the 16mm/1.4 & the 55-200mm & the 'kit' 18-55 I also have 4-4.5X macro…thx Andrew for all your honest reviews…I fully trust everything you say now!

  5. Hi Andrew, I really like your setup. Both the lighting is beautiful and the image is really crisp. Would you mind sharing some details about it? Are you shooting with fixed focus? And how much of it is post-work?

  6. Great comparison. I have the Laowa and I noticed the same problems with the edges, never thought it might be a bad copy. If it is, would definitely be interested to know about that.

  7. I hope your next 9mm works better. That one looked pretty bad at the edge. Mine is good at left and right edges, but still a little soft in the corners at f/5.6. It’s far better than yours.

  8. Several folks have asked why I didn't bring up the 12mm Zeiss Touit 2.8. it was certainly a consideration, it's just much more pricey. But I will definitely be exploring that option if I can't get a sharp copy of the Laowa 9mm f2.8.

  9. My 12 mm Samyang is sharp contrasty and perfect for evening / night street scenes in tight spaces. Think Japan. More than wide enough for any work I need. It and the 18-55 kit are a Perfect travel combo.

  10. I used to have the Samyang (Rokinon) and enjoyed using it. But there always seemed to be something lacking colour wise. It was great for astro though – with that f2.

  11. honest..kind..and smooth..hehe.. like always. 😉
    Thank you for the review, Andrew.
    I have considered both these lenses, in the past.. as my Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 (Nikon) is huge, and takes no filters..
    Like you…i am spoiled by my precious 16mm f1.4 so.. a UWA prime must feature a good close-focus distance and ratio, as well. 😉
    I might reconsider the Laowa 9mm , if you give it the thumbs-up, on that 2nd copy. Pls do let us know, in deed !

    PS: What about that IF custom X-T1 sensor you talked about, a few months back ?
    Have you got around to doing it, already ?

  12. Your laowa is a bad copy. First ,my lens hood do lock. Second, my laowa is sharp on edges. The only problem is that it’s costing is bad

  13. Your points about both lenses mirror my experiences too. I keep hearing I must have had a bad copy of the Laowa, but… I shouldn't have to flip a coin, hoping to get a good copy. Many others with the same issue. Hoping Fuji announces the rumored 10mm prime this spring

  14. Thanks for the review! I am primarily a landscape photographer. I use the Fuji 10-24 for wide angle. At f8 my copy is very sharp. For telephoto I
    I use the Fuji 50-140, also very sharp. Thanks again for your review. How is full time photographer going? Also have enjoyed your video on small towns.

  15. I bought the 12mm f2 because like you we shoot as a couple and being a gentleman (I’m not really lol) I let my GF use the 10-24 when we’re out.. funnily enough 2 of my best images have ended coming from the 12mm because of this situation, it’s an amazing lens.

  16. I have the 10-24 and the rokinon. The Fuji is one of the sharpest and highest contrast lenses I have. I love the images I have shot with that lens. I have only used the rokinon for astro and a couple of times for indoor low light. I have been very happy with its output. It’s a shame the lowa you have is soft, the images looked gorgeous. Hopefully the next copy will not disappoint.

  17. I make my living shooting architecture with the XF10-24 and love it, but I got a Laowa 9 last year as a backup for daily carry. Mine is one of the good copies evidently because at f/8 it's pretty sharp throughout. (a lot of drop off still, but that's easily correctable in Post anyhow.) Hopefully you'll get a nice copy as a replacement. Can't argue with the size. 🙂

  18. For what it's worth, as a (primarily) Sony shooter who has run into lemon copies of Samyang/Rokinon FE autofocusing lenses, there might be some sample variation on that side of the fence too.

  19. The way Rokinon/Samyang slaps a silver bayonet on for whatever system they support drives me crazy. Paint it black!

  20. I have the rokinon 12mm and my camera fell in a concrete road , yes it dented it but it still worked well. I was surprised no lens issues . It did protect my xt3. It make look plasticky but its durable .

  21. Hi Andrew, great video. Quick question, why not just bring the 10-24 f4 and 16 f1.4 for your hiking trips? That is my setup for my landscape photography. Other than the weight, i do feel that it covers a lot of focal length and my needs. I do recall you said that you would like to carry your 18-55 f2.8-4 for video/handheld landscape needs, I have yet to fully test this but my thinking is that the 10-24 f4 would able to hold its ground pretty well in this department (let me know if i am wrong about this). I have since then stopped carrying the 18-55 along and switched up to 35 f2 now. So most of my everyday carry would only be that 3 lenses.

  22. Really confused as to you why you like the Laowa so much. With the worryingly tight fit to camera body, softness/QC issues, dysfunctional lens hood, 1 stop darker than samyang and higher cost than samyang it seems to me 0/10 attractive. With Samyang you can adjust contrast and colours in lightroom, I mean look at classic chrome vs Pro neg std, the colours and contrast are totally different simply between the 2 profiles, so why is it any different with the lenses? For me corner softness on samyang wide open doesn't really matter as 9/10 shooting wide open means close up while stopping down means landscape. Just my thoughts.

  23. What about adapting a Voigtlander M mount 10 or 12mm Heliar? Slower aperture but good for landscape I imagine. Personally I use and love my 12mm Samyang.

  24. nice review; I thought you would like that Laowa, but it does look terrible at the edges. Hopefully MKII is better. I use mine for architectural work and I have not seen anything like you were getting at the edges with your copy.

  25. I'd love to see you review more adapted lenses, especially M-mount. Specifically, I'd love your opinions on the Voigtlander glass. Is that something you'd be interested in doing?

  26. My first thoughts, and there is an other comment talking about it, why don't you go for a full frame camera with a (proprietary) wide angle lens.
    As a second camera for Landscape, instead of dealing with a lot of compromises

  27. We just got that 9mm on holiday sale and it is so nice- eve to shoot kids and it is so small and precise. That’s a handsome cap too!

  28. I've had the Rokinon for a while, and love the images I get out of it, but found over the past two years it's hardly left the shelf due to that awkward bulk of the hood (which I find essential for this lens). I recently picked up the Laowa to see if it would fit my needs as a speciality lens (astro and doco) but have come to a similar conclusion as you. The xf16 2.8 is now my go-to wide and even astro, although the Laowa does have a place in the bag too. I was going to write a comparison, but it seems you've covered it well!

  29. When I had the Rokinon 12mm for my Fuji, I was mostly happy with it, the f/2 was great for astrography. I loved the close focus and it had decent bokeh to be honest. But one thing I really did not like is the HORRIBLE lens flare control. I take a lot of photos of cars and when the sun is reflecting off of chrome it leaves horrible large sun star even at like 5.6 or f/8. This even occurs when doing long exposures at night. Maybe some people liked that, but I don't. Another thing I did not like was when there's a blue sky, there is weird affect going on in the middle of the sky that almost makes it look as if you have a CPL on that's just too small for the lens. I can't explain why, but it bothered me so much. I eventually sold it and bought the 10-24 and it solved all my issues. The 10-24 is wide, its sharp enough for me and it has great flare/sunstar control and sun stars look halfway decent. Not as good as the 8-16, but I'm happy with it.

    I just recently picked up the 16 2.8 and I'm almost doubting the 10-24 now hahaha. That lens is not like a normal 16mm/24mm equivalent lens. It feels way more wider than that. It's really weird but kinda cool too because its so small. I have more fun shooting with it than the 10-24, I have no idea what to do! hahaha. Kinda need both.

  30. If the Laowa fails to deliver will you bite the bullet and deal with the extra bulk of the 8-16… that lens is optically amazing!

  31. Conclusion as it is looks to be none of them… However, you said that the Fuji 10-24 lacks the close focus capability still being a very sharp lens, and the Laowa lacks sharpness in the corner but has the close focus capability… Maybe keeping the Fuji zoom for landscapes photography (I believe it would have given much better result for your nice photo of the 3 trees) and using the laowa when close focus is needed could be the solution?

  32. I previously used the Rokinon 12mm on my Sony a6000 and a6300 and loved that setup for backpacking / astro. Currently I have the Laowa 9mm that I used on the Fuji X-T2 and now X-Pro3 and I can really appreciate the much wider view. For astro the 9mm wide open definitely has vignetting but with the way I compose my shots they get swallowed up in the shadows anyway. During the day I try to shoot at least f4 to reduce vignetting. The only feature I want on the 9mm is some weather resistance to match the Fuji bodies.

  33. If you're able to get a different copy I would love to see how is it compared to the fuji 16 f1.4, curious about the minimum focus distance. Love the landscape photos, question for architecture photography which one do you prefer ? I think the rokinon is good enough just use the right settings and editing, it should work right?

  34. I really love your videos and the way that you talk about photography. I have absolutely no interest in either of these lenses, I don’t shoot wide ever. I loved watching this video because you rule, even when you are talking about something that I’m not super interested in.

  35. You might also try a comparison when shooting into the sun (or a street light in the dark), the Samyang is known for behaving pretty badly with flaring and low contrast. Apparently the Zeiss does way better in that regard. The Laowa didn't look that bad in your cacti shot, a shame it was that soft though. Not sure you are interested in astro photography at all, but the Samyang is well known to be pretty good for that with low coma. So if you are interested in maybe shooting landscapes with stars above, that might be a factor to consider as well.

  36. Bought used Rokinon 12mm f2 for 150 USD and using it with a6000 for real estate photography) Very good at it's price. F7 and focus on infinity

  37. I tried both and end up with Zeiss 12mm f2.8. To be honest Zeiss beat the crap out of it .Laowa is soft with horrific vigneting while Samyang lack contrast. As they say, you get what you pay.

  38. I think something is wrong with the mount on the Laowa. I've had 2 of these lenses (dropped one, sadly), and neither was that tight. Not even close.

  39. I actually have the Samyang 12mm T2.2 and use it way more than expected, I might even say it's my favourite lens to use. I've also used it for quite a few landscapes and it's always a pleasure to use it for me. Also when using the T2.2 vs f2 lens you don't even notice that the filter ring goes out a little because of the larger focus ring.

  40. I have the Laowa 9mm in Fuji mount & I don't find it soft at the edges, at least not when its stopped down to around F8. 👍

  41. So one lens was a bad copy and the other wasn't even worth the time to put on the camera? One lens was so poorly made you risked breaking the camera lens mount when you put it on the camera and the other had an odd cone shape? I guess if the Samyang is such a bad lens I'd need to see more to understand why it's worse than the Laowa which appeared to have real design issues.

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