First Impressions: Irix 11mm f4 Lens

One of the latest companies to hit the scene is Irix. They’ve been around for a few years, but the Swedish company is gaining more and more recognition for some carefully thought out new features and attention to details. Their manual focus lenses are focused on the DSLR customer, but they state that offerings for mirrorless cameras are on their way.

Recently, we had the chance to play with the company’s new 11mm f4–and there is a whole lot here that everyone should be paying attention to.

Tech Specs

Specs are honestly seen on the company’s website.

Ergonomics
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Irix and its lenses are a refreshing and new take on manual focus lenses, and lenses overall. At first glance you wouldn’t really recognize what’s going on here. Indeed, everything is very subtle.

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When you look at the Irix 11mm f4 lens, you’ll spot many things that make sense to manual focus lens photographers. You’ll find an effective depth of field scale and a manual focusing ring. Plus, the lens hood is permanently attached.

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Above the focusing ring though is yet another ring. This is the focus lock–and it’s perfect for street photographers that do zone focusing or landscape photographers. You can literally lock the focusing ring with a twist of this ring.

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There are two different types of lenses: a Firefly and a Blackstone. Blackstone lenses are built with metal while Firefly is plastic. Blackstone also has weather sealing.
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Towards the back of the lens, you’ll find a very interesting lens mount. Here, you can insert a gel or a filter and then put another filter on the front of the lens.

Build Quality

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There are a number of really amazing and cool things about the Irix lenses. My first and favorite is a click when you hit infinity on the lens. This helps you focus on it in the dark or even without looking.

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This is the back of the lens when a filter or gel is inserted. This helps a lot with various things like flash work or with those times when you need a Polarizing filter or something else.

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The engraved writing on the Blackstone lenses can also be illuminated even better when a UV light is shone on the writing. Here’s an example above.

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Here’s another example. On the left is the Firefly and the right is the Blackstone. The Blackstone reacts to the UV light better despite the light being shone directly onto the Firefly on the left.

Autofocus

These lenses are manual focus only. They’re made in Korea but designed in Sweden. Of course, there is focus confirmation too. So if you’ve used Zeiss lenses, you’ll have a similar experience.

Image Quality

We were dealing with a prototype, so we couldn’t attach the lens to a camera. But Irix states that it will have very low distortion.

First Impressions

This lens is targeted at the manual focus loving photographer that wants to see some sort of innovation. Sure, everyone has been focusing on build quality and image quality. But the only other company to really start something brand new was Zeiss with the Batis lenses. Those lenses have an LCD screen on them and now others are starting to as well. Venus Optics is also doing things like adding shift capabilities to affordable glass.

We’re really, really excited to spend more time with the Irix 11mm f4 lens; and we’ve called in a review unit for testing.