This new Laowa STF 105mm f/2 lens will be available for Nikon F mount

After the Laowa 60mm f/2.8 Macro 2:1 and the Laowa 15mm f/4 Shift Macro 1:1 lenses, the Chinese company Venus Optics will shortly announce the Laowa STF 105mm f/2 (T/3.2) - a new full frame portrait lens with an apodization filter that gives a more progressive and velvety bokeh than an ordinary lens (STF stands for Smooth Trans Focus).

More information available over at PhotoRumors.

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  • Alan Peterson

    How do you get T3.2 from an f/2 lens? Are they coating the elements with pudding?

    • RMJ

      Perhaps the apodization filter does that ?

      • Spy Black


    • Paco Ignacio

      Must be something similar as the Sony STF lens with 2 diaphragms.

      • captaindash

        That’s also similar to what my girlfriend has.

        • Ritvar Krum

          she is a team player so probbably has something like this

          • HotDuckZ

            Still can get more.

          • ss

            dead haha

          • captaindash

            I’m saying nothing.

    • captaindash

      I really hope they are. That would be an awesome job. What do you figure? Chocolate? Tapioca?

      • Alan Peterson

        Butterscotch pudding might make for a pleasant color cast.

      • Rob

        Needs more cream

  • Paco Ignacio

    Would be nice if Nikkon updates the 105 or the 135 DC.

    • John Picking

      …and keep the DC!

    • Own it. One of the few lenses I refuse to sell!

      • PhilK

        And they still make them, if I’m not mistaken. Probably not in high enough volumes to justify replacing it yet, though, I guess..

    • true

      Imagine if they made 85mm with DC

  • RMJ

    I don’t quite understand how this lens works. Why it has f and t numbers ? Is it something similar to Nikon’s DC lenses ?

    • Mistral75

      Here’s an interesting website that somebody set up to explain how the Minolta / Sony 135 STF works:

      • RMJ

        Thanks, this is really interesting design.

        I hope this lens will be reasonably priced. I wouldn’t mind to give it a try.

    • Spy Black

      I think the secondary aperture ring is for cine use, as it’s not only listing the T-Stop, but it appears to be a continuously variable ring. The F-Stop ring is probably stepped.

      • RMJ

        No, not really. Read the other posts. Very interesting design.

        You live and learn. 🙂

    • BlueBomberTurbo

      I believe T stop is the measure of light transmission through the glass, while F stop is based off the opening in the aperture. T stop is used in cinema (probably for consistency), while F stop is used in photography (where camera settings are more flexible).

      If you check DXO’s info on lenses, you’ll see T and F stops don’t match, with the T stop being a bit slower than the F stop. Though it’s usually 1/3 to 2/3 stops off. This lens is a bit odd, with over 1 stop difference. Maybe due to the position of the second aperture?

      • RMJ

        Yeah, I know t and f stops don’t “match” exactly (they never do). Having them in the same lens, with opposite direction, was what put me off.

        Reading about the “apodization filter” design makes it clear.

      • PhilK

        T-stops were way more important back in the days when people used external lightmeters and TTL metering wasn’t compensating for light-loss of different lenses at different settings. Otherwise variable-aperture zoom lenses would have been pretty annoying to meter for, especially when you couldn’t chimp the result immediately. =))

  • Ryan

    Wish it was made in Japan!

    • Spy Black

      What makes you think that would make it any better?

      • Fuji introduced a lens of this type last year (or maybe it was this year). It is made in Japan.

        • Spy Black

          I suppose he’ll have to buy a Fuji then. 🙂 It misses the main point however.

          • I’m not sure it makes it any better…it could be made anywhere. Nikon’s had a 135mm lens that can be defocused in from of or behind the lane of focus for years now. The possibilities seem intriguing but I’ve heard that it takes time to master the effects.

            • Singani Mamiya

              I had the 135 DC. The effect was either very subtle when used “correctly”, or you had a soft focus effect when you turned the DC control too far. It is a nice lens for sure, but the DC had only few practical value.

        • nwcs

          It was announced late 2014 and basically available Jan 2015. I was more into Fuji in those days so I remember it. The APD effect is pretty subtle. I like it but not for the price premium attached.

    • Elvir Redzepovic

      95% or even more of all high tech electronics you own is made in China but people like you still propagate that myth of China making “low end stuff”.
      What year is it in your world?

      • PhilK

        There are valid reasons to advocate other manufacturing locations for nationalist/economic reasons, or because of the danger of China stealing your IP when you build things there. (A longstanding problem, though many companies seem to have ignored that and handed over their crown jewels in their desperation to seek out a cheaper manufacturing base..)

        • Elvir Redzepovic

          I won’t go in nationalist reasons since I think those belong in the 17th century but I will adress your issue with “stealing IP” myth that still refuses to die and is propagated by people like you.
          You do know that almost every Iphone and high end Android device has been made in China for years now ?
          Seen any “stealing” lately ?
          My point is that China makes damn fine stuff and that people that have issues seeing that should step into year 2016. It’s really shame to see so many out there still stuck in 1990s.

          • PhilK

            What I wrote has nothing to do with whether or not China “makes damn fine stuff”. I’ll leave it at that.

  • TheInconvenientRuth

    Curiouser and curiouser

    • captaindash

      Plus the snozzberries taste like snozzberries.

  • Noor

    Hard to tell by just looking at images without knowing the bodies used to the processing technique, but at first glance (links on PhotoRumors), the OOF area look uneven. The bokeh doesn’t have a calming smoothness to it, but rather looks quite nervous. But those are just my initial impressions.

    • FroBro

      You should have gone to specsavers.

  • Tham Xin Qiang

    Laowa STF 105mm f/2 is a full frame manual lens.

    The lens creates bokehlicious background with sharp image in focus, claims by lens designer.

    The lens has CA control much better than Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II.

    It is available in EF mount, F mount, K mount, A mount and E mount.

    The MRSP price is around 3580 Chinese Yuan (USD544) in China.

    Here is the Chinese forum to Laowa STF 105mm f/2,
    you may directly ask a question to the lens designer.

    More sample photos at

  • MonkeySpanner

    Might be a lot more interesting if Nikon would implement focus peaking in live view.

    • Spy Black

      Easier yet if you install a manual tofu screen in your camera.

      • MonkeySpanner

        Sure, but do you still get focus confirm squares with autofucus lenses?

        • Spy Black

          AF is not affected by the screen. The AF system is behind the mirror, in front of the shutter.

      • Richard Haw

        that is what many people assume. i used to think that way too until i made 1 for my camera from a K3 screen. modern nikons have bright viewfinders. the center focus prism only cluttered my view and slower lenses made focusing painful for me. your mileage might vary.

        • Spy Black

          The K3 screen I installed in my D600 is 1/4 brighter than the original screen. Go figure.

  • Cynog

    “An example of apodization is the use of the Hann window in the Fast Fourier transform analyzer to smooth the discontinuities at the beginning and end of the sampled time record.”

    That’s when my one remaining brain cell popped….

    • TheInconvenientRuth

      Hann shot first.

  • Ok, is anyone else totally bothered by their choice of typeface for “Smooth Trans Focus”? That alone is a total deal breaker for me.

    • TheInconvenientRuth

      Yep. Chinese designers generally have no ‘feel’ for making western typography look good because they simply aren’t exposed to it enough. They don’t know which fonts look good or not, wich fonts are ‘cool’ or not and can’t seem to spot huge errors in kerning or justification. But they won’t pay a foreigner to help them out. It’s also a cultural thing, their ‘design language’ is very different from western design language. But at least they got the words right, that’s not always a given..

      • iamlucky13

        To be fair, you should see how badly some Chinese to English translations get rendered in the business world. I don’t speak Chinese; I just sometimes end up reading business contracts translated by someone else. It’s 50:50 whether the translator was a native English or native Chinese speaker, and either one can make some really puzzling translations. A translator who is genuinely fluent, not merely has a big vocabulary, and is given the time to do the job right can make life a lot easier for those who have to read their work.

        The classic, although dated story, was Coca Cola entering the Chinese market with an attempt to transliterate their name that supposedly ended up meaning “bite the wax tadpole.”

        • PhilK

          I think a big problem these days is that with the advance of automatic machine translation, a lot of people think they can get by by just plugging something into Google or Bing Translate and leaving it at that. Rather than the “old-fashioned” way of hiring an expert translator.. which costs real money.

          Not long ago I had to deal on-and-off with the organization in China in charge of import regulations, it was extremely difficult to find a person who spoke English to speak to, and when you did, you could barely understand each other. They repeatedly urged you to email them instead, and I’m pretty sure that meant that they would run everything through an online translator and try to communicate that way.

          Needless to say, that was extremely non-optimal.

          • TheInconvenientRuth

            It’s not just that, it’s partly “we don’t care, too much trouble, no foreigner will ever read this” and partly about ‘losing face’ in that if someone in the company/organization claims to be good at English and then they ask a foreigner to check it, they ‘lose face’, it’s an embarassment to the person who translated it, especially if mistakes are found… Simple example, one of my husband’s friends teaches English literature at a Chinese University. A pretty good one. The English website of the university is riddled with horrible mistakes. They have 14 native English speaking teachers with various degrees in English working there part- and full time. They never asked a single one to proof read. They never ask a single one to proof read ANYTHING they publish in English. Why? That’s the job of the head of the Foreign Language College and having to admit that the teachers are better than their boss is simply unthinkable…

            • PhilK

              Yeah that too, the asian cultural thing about authority hierarchies. This was one of the factors some people cited for why the Asiana Airlines plane crashed at SFO a few years back. Not only were they overly reliant on the auto-pilot tech, but it is considered a very big deal for a junior employee to speak-up or correct a more senior employee, even when they notice a big problem. Oops. 😐

      • PhilK

        Good explanation.

    • iamlucky13

      It’s definitely an in-your-face way to convey a feature aimed at achieving subtly.

    • +1000

    • MonkeySpanner

      I go back and forth on this one. Some of the last generation tamron and tokina macro lenses have the same issue. Sometimes I think it looks like a Sanyo stereo receiver from the 80’s and sometimes I still think it looks like a 80’s receiver but I don’t mind.

  • bgbs

    Look at that gorgeous piece of glass, Nikon are you taking notice?

    • Spy Black

      Are you talking about the table it’s sitting on?

  • PhilK

    Yay astroturfing.

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