With the Irix 15 mm f/2.4 landscape Photographers looking for good lenses with a lower price tag have a new option available. A short focal length of 15mm and a widest aperture of F2.4 make it very suitable for „night shooters“ as well.
„Who the hell is Irix?“ you’re asking?
It’s a fairly new lens manufacturer combining Swiss precision and Korean innovation and their first lens is the ultra wide 15mm F2.4.
To me – as a landscape and astronomy photographer – defintely an interesting lens to check out for a closer look.
IRIX 15 f2.4 – First Impression (Firefly Version)
My first glance at it after opening the package was indeed satisfying. The Firefly comes with a nice white metal box with the name Irix imprinted and inside the lens softly stuffed in foam. The nice accessories complete the good impression with a well crafted little pouch for the lens and two lens caps (which is a good thing since I tend to loose them from time to time).
Closer examinations of the lens reveal it’s solidly build (even in the cheaper „plastic version“ I’ve chosen), „feels“ great and the focus ring turns smoothly. So let’s take it out on the field.
IRIX 15 f2.4 – First Shots
As always I started with a shot of my coffee cup in close distance … and wow … the sharpness fully open amazed me and I haven’t seen anything like it on ultra wide lenses before. Couldn’t wait any second longer to test it outside in some real landscape shots.
After the impressive result at close distance my expectations were huge but somehow I suddenly struggled to get any sharpness at all … and no, the fault was surely not me failing at manual focusing since I am shooting exclusively „manual“ for about two years and I know how to nail focus. But it seemed as if everything with a little bit of distance was impossible to get in focus. Turning the focus ring more and more slightly increased sharpness in distant areas but even after reaching the very end it still wasn’t enough.
So I’ve waited for the night (because nothing reveals weaknesses of lenses better than night shots of stars) and it became even more evident that there’s something wrong here with all the tiny little stars turning to incorrectly focused „big balls“.
The solution waited behind the little „focus calibration“ covering on the lens. Inside was a fine-pitch thread to adjust the lenses properly and after some more testshots everything worked as it should – and continued to amaze.
IRIX 15 f2.4 – Sharpness
The Irix delivers a decent corner-to-corner sharpness even wide open and even me as someone who is spoiled by the great Zeiss Batis can’t complain. There is a tiny bit of coma to be found when shooting stars but just barely noticeable at 100% view so stopping down ain’t necessary. In my opinion this lens is a keeper since there is no ultra wide alternative that fast and the competition is neither sharper nor has any less coma. Maximum sharpness peaks in at f5.6-f8, above diffraction blur kicks in (very noticeable at closed apertures).
IRIX 15 f2.4 – Vignetting
There’s some more or less vignetting but within a manageable range. Nothing surprising on ultra wide lenses.
IRIX 15 f2.4 – Against the Sun
The only real weakness I could find is it’s behaviour when shooting directly against the sun. It’s heavily prone to producing flares as soon as the sun is somewhere on the picture. Which is especially sad since you’ll get some nice sunstars with it. At least contrasts won’t suffer much when shooting under this condition.
IRIX 15 f2.4 – Distortion
Can’t say much about distortion … becasuse it’s almost nonexistant. Impressive job here!
IRIX 15 f2.4 – Conclusion
Overall this lens gets my recommendation. It does a very good job in almost all aspects with the flare susceptibility as only weakness. The first ultra wide angle lens I’ve found that doesn’t dissatisfy me and will stay in my pockets.
Thx for Reading
Nicolas, more on https://www.facebook.com/landscapesbynmps/