Irix 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone £600/$600
East meets West in this smart new ultra-wide lens
Designed in Switzerland and manufactured in Korea, the Blackstone is superbly well engineered, with a magnesium alloy barrel and full weatherseals. Advanced features include a fine-tuning adjustment to ensure accuracy of the focus distance scale on individual camera bodies, a locking mechanism for the focus ring, a sliding panel in the detachable hood for filter rotation, and even fluorescent markings for the focus distance scale, hyperfocal distance and depth of field.
There’s no autofocus, but the silky-smooth focus ring operates with superb precision. The less expensive Firefly edition of the lens has a plastic barrel, plain markings and one less weather seal, but optically it’s identical. Performance Considering how wide this lens is, corner-to-corner sharpness is excellent in real world shooting. Barrel distortion and vignetting are tolerable, and ‘neutrino’ coatings do a good job of combating ghosting and flare. Overall image quality is simply sumptuous, in keeping with the lens’s high-quality construction.