This week on Film Jams, we’re tackling a DZOFilm Vespid 16mm lens review! We’ve been big fans of the DZOFilm Vespid prime lenses but the set had been missing a wide angle. The 16mm now has filled out the wide end to complete our set. (To quote Alanis Morissette: “It’s like 10,000 spoons and all ya need is a wide angle lens”). And, the Film Jams team was lucky to get one of the very first 16mm lenses off the supply chain. Let’s take a closer look!

DZOFilm Vespid 16mm Review

As cinema lenses, the DZOFilm Vespids are considered a budget option, but they also offer incredible value. So how does this 16mm Vespid compare? Can a lens that is only $1799 stand up against cinema lenses that cost thousands of dollars more? Check out our review to see how the DZOFilm Vespid 16mm performs compared to some other popular cinema lenses.

In addition to comparing the DZOFilm Vespid 16mm lens in tests, we also used it to shoot a quick short film using just this lens, and we were impressed with the results! Check out our video to see the short we filmed.

DZOFilm Vespid 16mm Lens
Screengrab from our short film taken with the DZOFilm Vespid 16mm lens

To buy the DZOFilm Vespid 16mm lens or get a full kit use these links:

DZOFilm Vespid 16mm Lens Review

For our lens test and review, we compared the DZOFilm Vespid 16mm lens to the Laowa 12mm, and the Cooke S4 14mm. We tested them in focus breathing, bokeh, close focus, lens flares, and sharpness. In addition to that, we also shot a fun short film entirely with the DZOFilm 16mm lens and it turned out pretty snazzy!

We have previously reviewed the Laowa 12mm T/2.9 Zero-D cine lens as well, so check that out if you are so inclined.

What’s nice about the DZOFilm lens is that most importantly, it’s very cost effective, especially as a cinema lens. At a fraction of the cost of some other cinema lenses, you can have a very capable lens that has a beautiful look.

DZOFilm 16mm Vespid Short Film
Shot on the DZOFilm Vespid 16mm lens for our episode’s short film


The DZOFilm Vespid 16mm is a very small lens at only 3.4 inches in length, which makes it useful for smaller camera setups and gimbals, drones, or handheld camera work. The size also allows for cinematographers to fit into smaller spaces and more cramped conditions that may have been harder with more traditional cinema lenses.

The DZOFilm Vespid 16mm prime lens is also very light for a cinema lens: about 2 pounds. Its size and weight make it a versatile option for cinematographers looking to get into cinema lenses.

Full Frame Coverage

Another unique aspect of the lens is that it covers large format sensors. This allows it to be used on full frame cameras like the ARRI Alexa Mini LF, Canon C500 Mark II, Sony Fx9, Sony a7SIII, as well as Super 35mm sensors. It also comes with two mount options: Canon EF or ARRI PL. The mounts are also swappable, which is a useful feature if you’re using a variety of different cameras.

DZOFilm 16mm Lens Review
The DZOFilm Vespid 16mm lens shooting full frame (above) compared to how it looks on Super 35mm sensors (below)

DZOFilm 16mm Full Frame

Look and Style

What we noticed in our test is that the DZOFilm Vespid 16mm lens has very round and concentrated bokeh at a higher aperture, and then star-like bokeh at a smaller aperture.

The lens has quite a cinematic look and was sharper than we were expecting. It rendered skin tones nicely and we especially liked it paired with our Alexa Mini. DZOFilm Vespid lenses are known for their more vintage character, and this 16mm will make a nice addition to the set. We think it could also be used even with other sets where a wide-angle lens is needed.

DZOFilm Vespid 16mm Cine Lens Vs. Laowa 12mm Cine Lens

We compared the Laowa 12mm lens to the DZOFilm lens as they are both low-cost, smaller cinema lenses; however, we did note a number of differences.

When it comes to price, both of these lenses are popular budget options for cinema lenses. The DZOFilm is around $1800 while the Laowa is a few hundred less at $1500. Does the extra $300 make a difference? Check out the video with our side-by-side comparison, and let us know what you think.

DZOFilm Vespid 16mm Cine Lens Review

The bokeh of both the 16mm Vespid and the Laowa are rounded, while the Cooke S4s had a more octagonal shape.

The Vespid 16mm is an attractive focal length that isn’t overly wide and a potentially more useful range for a wide-angle lens. We feel like the Laowa 12mm is more of a specialty lens for ultra wide-angle shots.

Most noticeably we prefer the DZOFilm 16mm flares to the Laowa’s. We liked the Cooke S4 flares as well but they are also 10 times the cost.

DZOFilm Vespid 16mm Review
Wide-angle lens flare comparison

DZOFilm Vespid 16mm Cine Lens Vs. Cooke S4 14mm

The DZOFilm Vespid 16mm lens review was useful to compare a much more established (and costly) lens like the Cooke S4 14mm. As a cinematographer, what are the differences between these lenses? 

When it comes to price, the DZOFilm ($1799) is much cheaper compared to the Cooke’s…. $20,000 (per lens). Yeesh! Is the Cooke worth more than 10 times the cost of the DZOFilm Vespid 16mm lenses? Let’s take a closer look at comparing these two wide-angle cinema lenses side by side. 

When it comes to bokeh, the Cooke has a very interesting shape to it, almost octagonal, compared to the DZOFilm’s more circular bokeh. We fell in love with the Cooke look on movies like Casino Royale and Harry Potter but circular bokeh seems to be more popular among many cinematographers these days.

Vespid 16mm Lens Review
Wide-angle lens close focus test

Surprisingly, the Laowa had the closest focusing distance out of the three lenses at 7″, while the DZOFilm Vespid 16mm had a close focusing distance of 9.84″. The Cooke also performed admirably with a close focusing distance of 9″.

The Cooke had a bit more lens barrel distortion, while the DZOFilm 16mm had much less distortion. The vintage character of the Cookes is definitely something that can be sought after by certain DPs, however the DZOFilm’s sharp and more precise look could work for your style depending on the look you’re going for.

DZOFilm Vespid 16mm Lens Review: Final Thoughts

In our DZOFilm Vespid 16mm lens review, the lens stood out compared to lenses of equal value and much higher value. With all of its features (covers large format sensors, small and light size, crisp picture, attractive aesthetic, circular, clean bokeh, versatility) and at the comparatively lower price of $1799, it’s a no-brainer for someone looking to complete their set of Vespid primes with a wide-angle cinema lens.

We had a great time shooting our short film with the 16mm Vespid and loved the compact size and aesthetics of this lens. Switching from wide shots to close-ups, the lens held its own and we were really pleased with the sharpness all around.

How do you think it stacks up compared to the Cooke and Laowa wide angle lenses? Do you prefer one over the other? Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget to keep up with our reviews at Film Jams on YouTube.

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Filmed on location at: in St. Petersburg, FL

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