Irix 11mm Black­stone

£695/$775 A new ul­tra-wide pushes the view­ing an­gle en­ve­lope

Digital Camera World - - CONTENTS -

Bold ul­tra-wide prime

De­signed in Switzer­land and built in South Korea, the Irix 15mm man­ual-fo­cus lens im­pressed us when we re­viewed it in is­sue 185, with high im­age qual­ity and low

dis­tor­tion. The new 11mm lens has a sim­i­lar look and feel but goes even wider, push­ing the an­gle of view on a full-frame Canon, Nikon or Pen­tax DSLR to 126 de­grees on the di­ag­o­nal.

Build & han­dling

Like the 15mm lens, the 11mm is avail­able in two edi­tions. The Black­stone tested here is the top­dol­lar edi­tion with a metal bar­rel, while the Fire­fly in­cor­po­rates the same op­tics in a plas­tic shell that’s nearly 100g lighter, and has a lighter price of £505/$575. Fur­ther sim­i­lar­i­ties to the 15mm lens in­clude a long-travel fo­cus ring with a lock­ing ring and fine-tun­ing cal­i­bra­tion.

Aut­o­fo­cus isn’t avail­able, but on-board elec­tron­ics drive AF con­fir­ma­tion lamps in the viewfinder, and there are fo­cus dis­tance, depth of field and hy­per­fo­cal scales printed on the Fire­fly bar­rel. The Black­stone is en­graved with flu­o­res­cent mark­ings. Weather seals are fit­ted to the mount and bar­rel joints but not around the front el­e­ment. High-tech glass in­cludes four high-re­frac­tive, two ED (Ex­tra-low Dis­per­sion) and three as­pher­i­cal el­e­ments.


Cen­tre-sharp­ness is ex­cel­lent, and still good at the cor­ners of the frame. Re­sis­tance to colour fring­ing, ghost­ing and flare is sim­i­larly im­pres­sive. Bar­rel dis­tor­tion is re­mark­ably low con­sid­er­ing the an­gle of view.

We did find the me­chan­i­cally linked di­aphragm con­trol of the Nikon-fit Irix 15mm prone to ex­po­sure in­ac­cu­ra­cies. Test­ing the Canon-fit 11mm with its elec­tronic con­trol, there was lit­tle im­prove­ment. This time, im­ages be­came pro­gres­sively darker rather than lighter when we stopped down through the aper­ture range.

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