You're kiddin' me...

It is FRIKKING COLD ! 10°C BELOW NORMAL NORMAL MAX. (13°C vs 23.2°C) We sare just about to leaving the very peak of the annual temperature curve - but the temperatures... Also known under the name "High Season Summer". Only that there is none to speak of. You can paint Paris temperatures with dark blood red 22°C - but that doesn't make it "hot" this time of the year. Or "orange" 18°C in Berlin - way under the normal Max temperature you would expect on a 10 August.

Man-made Global Warming my ass.



"Noctilux" Wide angle

In a way, the Laowa Argus 28 mm f 1.8 FF lens, is like a wide Leica Noctilux lens.

With character - and yet plenty of sharpness, especially when stopped down becoming razor sharp. However, my main point of interest is the ƒ 1.2 character with this lens - as a complement to my Canon RF 50 mm f 1.2 L lens. I intend to use it as an indoor/outdoor, reportage lens, showing people with their surroundings in not so good light.


Dark winter half year in Scandinavia

Especially up here in Scandinavia, where the light is scarce during the winter half year. In such conditions, the little Canon RF 28/2.8 STM pancake lens will not get me far - albeit... the focus actually worked even in the lowest light conditions.

Kudos ! Making it more useful than anticipated.


Sal watching movies (extreme low light) • Canon RF 28/2.8

The Canon RF 28/2.8 on an EOS R6 did an amirable job to aquire focus, given how extrem weak the light was in the room. Sal's face was barely illuminated to the naked eye. I wasn't able to see any features in his face... and didn't even see that his iPad Pro was switched on.... it was that dark in the room.

With the Olympus and Leica Vario-Summilux 10-25/1.7 failed aquire focus (!) constantly. Only with the Olympus ED 17 mm f 1.2 PRO lens, the Olympus OM-1 was somewhat able to focus. Barely.

It was really, really dark !

So, Kudos for Canon, despite an only ƒ2.8 lens.


Image rendering of the Laowa 28/1.2

In image I have seen made with the Laowa Argus 28/1.2 lens - I liked the rendering. It has a touch of Leica Noctilux/Summilux from the 70s/80s over it. The combo of both sharp and soft when used at wide open aperture appealed to me a lot !

Well in a couple of weeks, I will see it for myself, when I have the lens.



Brightest 28mm lens in the world

It is a manual focus lens - and while being unique in regard of exhibiting an extremly bright aperture - in fact - the brightest 28mm lens in the world - it is remarkably compact and sleek !

It weights 562 gram, with a filter diameter of only 62 mm, and an overall length of 10.6 cm.



Sleek compared to the whopper Sigma 28/1.4 ART

When you compared that with the Sigma 28mm f 1.4 ART lens for example, whose filter diameter is 82 mm ... and weights almost a kilo with 960 gram - making it a whopper in size and weight !


Zeiss Otus 28/1.4 APO

Even worse, when compared to the manual Zeiss OTUS APO Distagon 28 mm ƒ 1.4 - which has a filter diameter of unusual 95 mm, weighs 1390 gram, or 1.4 kilo - with a length of 15.4 cm included with lens hood, 13.7 cm without. A whopper... in both size, prize and weight. And a good performer - but hardly something you take out for more casual photography "on-the-fly".

It think, The OTUS line from Zeiss in its time was revolutionary - at least for a brief time. But fell already back then, because when mounted on dSLR cameras with mirror - the handling was too quirky. With today's mirrorless cameras, that is no more a problem. The Zeiss Otus series falls on its own feet by being too over engineered, too large and extremly heavy. And with an (almost) Leica type of Price tag.

It's just too much of everything for a reportage lens "on-the-fly" and "out-and-about" at night.


The Laowa fits the bill

being a lot less heavy - balancing itself well on a mirrorless camera . Has relatively small filter size (62 mm) and looks classic stylish with its metallic housing. It is hard to believe that this lens can full off such an extreme bright ƒ 1.2 aperture - comparable to a Leica Noctilux ƒ1.2 lens. Just a lot wider...

At the same time - it makes a fine complement the 50mm focal length when i think of low-ish light levels, balck & white portraits (I can adapt the Leica Noctilux-M 50/1 on my Canon EOS R6 - so that is indeed a remarkable combo of 28mm and 50mm lenses. I am already seeing the images in black & white, with people at a table, in the café, you know...)


4 camera mounts - but no EF mount

Now I can only use this new lens on the Canon RF cameras (EOS R, EOS R6), which is a bit a pity. If it would been an EF mount lens - it could have fit on almost ever camera I use; analog film EOS, digital EOS and mirrorless EOS, as well on my Sony A7s. But unfortunately - it is only made for 4 different mounts: Leica/Panasonic L-Mount, Sony E Mount, Canon RF, and Nikon Z mount.


Minimum focus distance: 50 cm

It is only 50 cm - which is a bit further away than normal. 28mm lenses commonly focus down to around 22-25 cm. Albeit Leica-M usually only does down to 70 cm on their rangefinder lenses. As of lately however, they have started to decrease the minimum focus in their latest iterations of lenses, such as the Leica Summilux-M 50/1.4 ASPH, from 70 cm down to 45 cm now.

Since I want to use the Laowa Argus 28/1.2 as a primary reportage lens, 50 cm is more than fine. I am not chancing close-ups with a wide angle lens, really. I found a video at YT, which demonstrates the MIN focus distance of around 50 cm.


MTF performance on paper

Pretty good for a f 1.2 lens. Most reviewers state that the lens is very, very sharp when stopped down to ƒ 5.6 or ƒ8 aperture. So, like a Noctilux, it changes vastly character between using it wide open at ƒ1.2 aperture vs stopping it down to ƒ 5.6 or ƒ 8 - becoming razor sharp.



Laowa Argus 28/1.2 --- Canon RF 28/2.8 STM pancake

The pancake lens from Canon i bought the other week - is fantastic as a walk about daytime lens. It really is. So plain easy and well performing in many ways. So, i would call it primarily (in my opinion) a "summer lens" - because it is just so fun, easy and well performing at any aperture. (And it focuses closer compared to the Laowa).


Pancake RF 28mm goes closer. It has its place !

So, a little pancake lens at 23 cm focus distance gives background blur - because it can go 2x closer than the Laowa Argus 28/1.2 - and therefore you get background blur even with a ƒ2.8 pancake lens. Like shown in the main Diary photo above with the the flowers from my neighbors.

It's super small size is what which makes "the whole package" of camera + lens extremly fun - and you get rewarded with very good optical quality. Therefore the Canon RF 28/2.8 has its special place in my arsenal of (Canon) lenses.


On the opposite side:

The Laowa Argus also being a 28mm lens - yet works in a rather very different category in photography (at this point, in theory for me, how I imagine its usage right now) There - it is suddenly about background separation, image rendering character, Scandinavian winter time light, and low light reportage portraits.

It does not have to be perfect at aperture ƒ1.2 - neither is my Noctilux 50/1 perfect, either. But such a beauty in the way it renders black & white portraits !


The funky Canon EF 28/1.8 - i'll keep

For the sheer, limited usage of portraits, also in low light, and it's funny pronounced bokeh-balls in the background á lá Leica-M lenses made in the late 70s. It is after all, a very compact, bright lens. It renders sharp in the center, but sucks at the borders and extreme borders. Which do not matter if you do portrait with wide open aperture ƒ1.8 in low light.


Laowa Argus 28/1.2 • Queen of the Night

The Laowa Argus 28, will axle the opposite of a "summer lens" - as a sort of "Queen of the Night" together with my Noctilux-M 50/1 lens.

I call her that, as I did with the Noctilux 50/1 over two decades ago - because of the special character between sharp and dreamy, like painter with a coarser paint brush rendering a portrait. Only with the Laowa, being a much wider lens.


Manual focus on a Canon EOS R6 ?

How I will deal with the manual focus... ? In same like i deal with Leica M lenses on the Canon EOS R6. I enlarge the portion of the image, i wish to set sharp. It isn't about fast photography...

I never been a fast photographer anyway. It doesn't appeal to me, really.

Albeit the Canon EOS R6 plus an RF or EF lens does actually permit me to be a fast photographer when needed or wanted. And it does that very well i noticed when i made images of Tekki in the past, running along the grass catching the "palla" (ball)


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