Photography News 69

Photography News | Issue 69 |


First tests

Irix 11mm f/4 Firefly £519


The Irix brand is a recent arrival in the UKlensmarketwithitsproductsmade in Korea and designed in Switzerland. Its current range comprises three manual focus options, the 15mm f/2.8 ultra wide, 150mm f/2.8 macro (tested in the last issue of PN ) and the lens tested here, the 11mm f/4. The Irix 11mm f/4 is an ultra wide- angle prime lens with a rectilinear projection; so not a fisheye. Currently the only rectilinear lens this wide is the Canon 11-24mm f/4 zoom, a £2789 lens. There are lenses covering 12mm, though, including the Laowa 12mm f/2.8 and Sigma 12-24mm f/4. You will find this lens available in two variants, Blackstone and Firefly, priced at £659 and £519 respectively. They are identical optically but the Blackstone is a physically better specified lens. It has four protective seals which include the front lens element and engraved lens markings with UV reactive fluorescent paint for visibility in low lighting. Its housing is aluminium- magnesium alloy and the focus ring is a metal anodized ring with a grooved finish. The less expensive Firefly, which is the lens tested here, has a lighter housing and anti-slip rubber focus grip. It is equipped with three protective rubber seals to protect it fromdust andwater splashes and lens markings are printed. Whichever version you go for, the Irix 11mm is a significant piece of glass with a large bulbous front element, so no filter thread on this optic. Gelatin 30x30mm filters can be used in a slot behind the rear element. Despite its size, handling is impressive and it balances well on the Nikon D850. The manual focusing ring has a taut action with a single click-stop at infinity and a lock function is available too to stop any focus drift. There’s no lack of focus markings available with a very good depth-of- field scale and an infrared focus mark. There is an extra aid to help achieve


Price Firefly £519, Blackstone £659 Format 35mm full-frame Mount Canon EF, Nikon F Autofocus No Construction 16 elements in 10 groups Special lens elements Three aspheric, two extra-low dispersion, four high refractive Coatings Neutrino Filter size No front fitter, 30x30mm rear gelatin slot Aperture range F/4-22 Diaphragm Nine rounded blades Internal focus Yes Manual focus Yes Minimum focus 27cm Focus limiter No Distance scale Yes, metres and feet Depth-of-field scale Yes, hyperfocal index Image stabilizer No Tripod collar No Lens hood Supplied Weather-sealed Rubber seals to protect from dust and water splashes Dimensions 118x103mm Weight 730-790g, depending on mount Contact

Its extreme view also means there is a flare risk

The Irix 11mm f/4 is an ultra wide- angle prime capable of delivering a very high-quality performance that sells at a competitive price too. For those specialising in interiors or astro photography it is a compelling, nicely priced proposition. I think it will also appeal to those photographers who like to get in close for dramatic perspectives. With the same optical configuration, all you have to do is decide whether you want the Blackstone or Firefly version. Pros Extreme wide rectilinear view, depth-of-field scale Cons Large lens, modest maximum aperture maximum using hyperfocal focusing. All you have to do is set f/4, f/8, f/11 or f/16 on the focus ring opposite the focusing index and you get maximum depth-of-field when that aperture is set. Aperture control is done via the camera so no separate ring on the lens. Optically, the Irix 11mm turned in an impressive optical performance but it’s an extreme wide-angle so there are some points to be aware of. It exhibits barrel distortion and there are signs of chromatic aberration with fringing away from the centre of the frame; but both can be corrected in editing. Its extreme view also means there is a flare risk especially when the sun is striking the lens front obliquely. However, it was well controlled even when shooting into or towards the sun. In terms of sharpness and resolution of fine detail though, I thought this lens did really well at its optimum apertures of f/8 and f/11. At these settings, sharpness and contrast impressed and detail across the frame looked lovely and crisp. Sharpness was still good at the centre at f/4 and f/5.6 with the edges being softer and lacking the lovely crispness seen at smaller apertures. Small apertures of f/16 and f/22meant softer images due to diffraction. WC depth-of-field Verdict




Images Take care not to brush the Irix’s massive front lens element with your fingers, although the fixed lens hood does give a degree of physical protection




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