One of the more intriguing announcements of recent times is a new company, irix, and their (so far) only product a 15mm f/2.4 manual focus full frame lens in Canon, Nikon and Pentax mounts. The lens was announced at The Photography Show in Birmingham on Saturday and since I visited the show on Sunday, I headed to the irix stand to see what this was all about. Here's the website -
This looked very interesting and I spent some time chatting to the three guys in the picture above and having a good look at the lens. What I learnt was -
- There are two versions of the lens - one 'normal' finish and another weather sealed
- It is hoped that this lens will be available in May 2016
- Again, while this isn't settled yet, the lighter 'Firefly' version will be sold around the £400 mark and the heavy duty 'Blackstone' version for £500.
- Both versions will have the same optical quality
I have to say I was impressed by the build quality. Both lenses seemed very well made. There were also some innovative features such as the little window that allows a polarising filter to be rotated in the fixed lens hood and painted markings that show up better in the dark for low light photography. One of my particular little obsessions is focusing rings and this one felt just right, not too loose, not too stiff. The lens has been designed in Switzerland and manufactured in Korea (The south I presume!!) and I was assured that the rumours that it is manufactured by Samyang are NOT true.
Obviously I had no opportunity to test the optical quality, but the company are making some bold claims about that and it will have to be seen just what it's like. However, the most exciting thing I got from this visit was a picture on the wall of their next lens. A rectilinear 11mm f/4 manual focus full frame lens. Yes you read that right, a FF 11mm!! That should be appearing around next December and it would obviously be a headline grabber.
So, fascinating and interesting, to say the least. Apart from anything else it's not something that turns up very often. A start up company making what would seem to be high quality, reasonably priced quality prime wide-angle lenses. There are obviously a lot of questions to be answered about optical quality, but I for one am going to be following this company to see what they come up with. Anything to get a break from the predictable, corporate monotony of the current camera / lens manufacturing industry. I like 'independents', I like innovation and I like lenses that make me think about creative possibilities. The starter mounts are all for DSLR's, but with the adapters currently available, these lenses can be used on Sony e-mount, Fuji X and m4/3 as well, so users of most of the popular systems will be able to take advantage of what turns up. It could of course all be a bit of disappointment, but hopefully the 'good vibes' I got from handling the two 15mm versions will translate into a new and different lens manufacturer appearing on the photographic scene. Watch this space!!