Irix 150mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 Dragonfly Lens Review

Irix 150mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 Dragonfly Lens Review

Announcements

Irix 150mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 Dragonfly Lens Review

The Irix 150mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 Dragonfly Lens

Back in January of this year, the good people at Irix USA sent me a new 150mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 Dragonfly lens to try out, use, and review. I’ve photographed with it a handful of times over the past few months and I’m just now getting around to offering some opinions. My opinions are POSITIVE! In fact, I couldn’t find one thing I didn’t like about the lens. Honest.

Here’s a summary of what I liked about the newest Irix lens: It’s manual focus, which all macro lenses should be. There is no practical need for autofocus with a macro lens. The highly rubberized focusing ring is smooth and adequately damped for fine-tuning the focus. In fact, everything about the lens says “solid” and “quality” to me. It’s the perfect focal length for a macro lens as well. At 150mm, the angle-of-view is narrow enough to easily control the background, which is really important when doing macro photography. Even though the lens is relatively small and compact, Irix has added a lens collar so transitioning from horizontal to vertical and back is quick and easy. And there’s a Arca Swiss mount built into the lens foot! I hope this catches on and becomes standard practice.

Image quality is superb, which is what I’ve come to expect from Irix. My experience with the Irix wide-angle primes (11mm and 15mm) prepared me for this result. It’s incredibly sharp and contrasty. The bokeh, something pretty important when it comes to macro photography, is smooth and creamy at large apertures, even at 1:1 true macro reproductions. The large f/2.8 maximum aperture on the lens allows a lot of light for focusing, especially in live view.

The Irix 150mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 Dragonfly lens can be ordered with the Canon EF (pictured here), Nikon F, or Pentax K mounts. Let’s hope it’s updated later for the new mirrorless mounts. The lens barrel is composed of metal alloys with a polished, satin anodized metal finish and it’s packaged with a very stylish molded case that protects the lens well when transporting. Everything about how the lens looks and performs is first class.

Get yours here on Amazon: Irix 150mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 Dragonfly Lens

The Irix 150mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 Dragonfly Lens Specs

I just received the new Irix 150mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 Dragonfly Lens from Irix USA. I’ll do an in-depth review once I have the time to actually use this telephoto macro lens, but my first impressions are the following: The lens is solidly built. It feels cool, heavy, and dense in my hand. 150mm is the perfect focal length for a macro lens, in my opinion. The telephoto perspective really allows you to control the background much better than shorter focal lengths. I absolutely love the fact that the lens has a detachable tripod collar (to make it much easier to go from horizontal to vertical and back) with a built-in Arca Swiss mount. Why don’t other lens manufacturers do this as well considering this is the industry standard?

Specifications:

  • Covers full 35mm frame, for Nikon F, Canon EF, Pentax K mounts
  • Manual focus
  • Weather-sealed construction (Dragonfly finish)
  • 12 elements in 9 groups, 3 ED, 4 HR elements
  • f/2.8 to f/32, 11-blade diaphragm
  • 77mm filter ring
  • 12” (0.345m) minimum focus, 1:1 maximum magnification ratio, focus lock ring
  • 3.9” (135mm) long, 4.5” (87mm) diameter
  • 20.5 ounces (840g) weight
  • Detachable tripod collar with Arca Swiss mount; includes lens hood
  • Black
  • USD$ 595
  • Announced by Irix September 24, 2018

Get yours here on Amazon: Irix 150mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 Dragonfly Lens

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Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer in the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. 

Photo Equipment: What’s In The Bag?

Photo Equipment: What’s In The Bag?

Gear Reviews

Photo Equipment: What’s In The Bag?

It’s the most frequently-asked question and perhaps the least important. “What’s in the bag?”

I say it’s the least important since it’s usually the first (and easiest) avenue beginning photographers take to try and improve their photography work. They believe that better and more expensive gear will create a better photographer but more often than not, it only leads to disappointment. A better investment would be in time – time spent practicing their technique and honing their personal vision. Still, photo equipment is not unimportant either. if you’re not convinced, just try doing photography without it!

So with that said, let’s have a look into my photo bag (all links to Amazon):

Photo Equipment

Camera Bag: One of several MindShift Gear bags, depending on the trip or assignment. Moose Peterson MP-1 V2.0, FirstLight 40L, or Backlight Elite 45L

Currently, my favorite photo backpack is the MindShift Backlight Elite 45L Camera Backpack. Just Superb in every way!

In addition to the actual bag that I choose for a particular trip, the contents in the bag also depend on where I am going, what I will be shooting, how remote the area, and how much hiking there will be. Here is some of my basic photo equipment:

Canon EOS R5
Canon EOS R

Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM
Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM (when weight is an issue or for bird-in-flight images)
Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM

Canon Extender EF 1.4X III
Canon Drop-in Filter Mount Adapter EF-EOS R
Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite Flash (2)
MagMod 2 Basic Flash Modifier Kit
Lee Filter Holder with polarizing filter
Breakthrough Photography’s ND Filters (no color cast)
Really Right Stuff TVC-24L Tripod
Really Right Stuff TQC-14 Tripod
Really Right Stuff BH40 ball head (2)
Really Right Stuff BH35 ball head

Wimberley WH-200 Gimbal Head II
Lexar digital media
Mac Book Pro 15.4″ Computer with Retina Display, Touch Bar, 2.9GHz Intel Core i7 Quad Core…
LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt USB-C 4TB Portable Hard Drive

* Post includes affiliate link*

Join The Adventure!

By subscribing to my monthly newsletter, you'll get timely updates on events, stories, my latest photos, and my favorite photography tips. Let me share this amazing world with you directly to your computer or phone. Come on, join the adventure!

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer in the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. 


Irix Lens Wins the Best in Class Award

Irix Lens Wins the Best in Class Award

Announcements

Irix Lens Wins the Best in Class Award

The Irix 11mm wide-angle lens was awarded first place in the Manual Focus Lens category in the 2018 Digital Camera Awards. I have been a big fan of Irix lenses for quite a while now and I love my 11mm f/4 Blackstone lens for Canon as a critically sharp, lightweight, ultra wide-angle lens when traveling to locations where weight concern is an issue. This Irix lens is a winner, but I already knew that.

This 11mm Irix lens is an extremely wide full-frame rectilinear model with a 126° angle of view. 4 high refractive lenses, 2 ED lenses and 3 aspherical lenses guarantee minimal distortion, as low as 3.13%, making it truly unique in the 11mm class.

The Blackstone model has an aluminium-magnesium alloy finish, an all-metal anodized focusing ring with a grooved surface, engraved markings, and a UV light reactive paint. The Firefly version offers the same optical performance and high-quality mechanism as the Blackstone, but is made with a lighter (12 percent) weight material. The lightweight Firefly version is ideal for on-the-go photography without any compromise on optical quality.

Award announcement on Irix USA blog

Get your Irix 11mm lens here on Amazon:

Irix 11mm f/4.0 Blackstone Lens for Canon
Irix 11mm f/4.0 Blackstone Lens for Nikon
Irix 11mm f/4.0 Blackstone Lens for Pentax
Irix 11mm f/4.0 Firefly Lens for Canon

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer is the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. For more great information on new images, gear reviews, book projects, and photography workshops and tours, Sign Up For Our Newsletter.

New Irix ND32000 Neutral Density Filter

New Irix ND32000 Neutral Density Filter

Announcements

New Irix ND32000 Neutral Density Filter

In a recent post, Long Exposure Photography: Neutral Density Filters, I explained the use and importance of mastering neutral density filters, particularly for landscape photography. Well as a fan of Irix lenses, I am excited to receive their announcement of a new 15-stop neutral density filter, the Irix ND32000. Here is the Irix press release:

 

New Irix filter ND32000 - for those looking for more!

If you’re still searching for something more powerful then the ND 1000 filter, then Irix has some great news for you!

This young Swiss company had released a brand new filter for their Irix Edge family.

The ND32000, with an optical density of 4.5 and incoming light reduction by 15-stops, allows the user to get an exposure time of up to five minutes on a sunny day!

Therefore you can enrich your portfolio with mirror-smooth water and perfectly blurred objects in motion such as the clouds and city traffic, even under bright sunny conditions.

Thanks to high quality optical glass equipped with a special waterproof and oil repellent NANO coating, the filter’s surface is protected from stains and fingerprints and enables the use of the filter in extreme weather photo shoots.

What’s more, due to the possibility of screwing the filter onto the lens, you can be sure that each shoot made with the Irix Edge 32000 is protected from any light leakage.

The retail price for the Irix Edge filter ND32000 is 159 euros.

The product will be available on sale in the next few days.

Currently the Irix Edge family consists of CPL, ND and UV filters of various diameters & made especially for Irix super thin gel filters sets.

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer is the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than 1.2 million followers across social media platforms. He leads photography tours and workshops all over the world and is a high-demand keynote speaker. For more great information on new images, book projects, public appearances, photography workshops and tours, Sign Up For Richard’s Email Newsletter.

Irix 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone Lens Review

Irix 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone Lens Review

Gear Reviews

Irix 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone Lens Review

The Irix 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone Lens

This beautifully-designed and sharp little wide-angle lens was a huge surprise to this long-time Canon lens user. The Irix 15mm f2.4 lens is offered in two models: the Blackstone (aluminum and magnesium alloy housing, weather-resistant exterior with inner seals for dust and moisture protection, engraved focus distance and depth of field scales, an anti-scratch finish, and hardshell case) and the Firefly (lightweight plastic exterior construction, rubber focus ring, printed focus distance and depth of field scales, and soft case). The optics of the two models, however, are identical. I was fortunate to recieve the Irix 15mm Blackstone mode with Canon mount.

 Irix 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone Lens Features

  • Wide-angle prime lens with Canon EF-mount (also available for Nikon and Pentax) with 15mm focal length for full-frame DSLRs and 24mm equivalent for APS-C.
  • Aluminum and magnesium alloy housing and weather-resistant exterior, sealed against dust and moisture intrusion, anti-scratch finish, sports engraved focus distance and depth of field scales with fluorescent UV paint for high visibility.
  • A Neutrino coating has been applied to limit lens flare and ghosting for improved contrast and color fidelity.
  • Manual focus design is benefitted by a positive focus lock mechanism to secure your focus position at any point to limit unwanted shifting of focus.
  • A hard click stop indicates the infinity position on the focus ring for easy use in low-visibility conditions.
  • Large depth of field scale benefits using hyperfocal and pre-focus techniques.
  • 95mm-diameter filter threads and the rear of the lens accepts 30 x 30mm cut gel filters to lessen the likelihood of vignetting
  • Rounded nine-blade diaphragm contributes to smooth bokeh.
  • Minimum focusing distance 11 inches (28centimeters).

“Dark Karma” A long exposure during twilight at Praia da Adraga, Portugal. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, Irix 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone Lens, 30 seconds @ f/11, ISO 100

The Irix 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone Lens In the Field

The sharpness of this lens matches any of the Canon wide-angle lenses I regularly use, which includes the primes and the zooms. I must admit this was quite a (pleasant) surprise. When used wide open at f/2.4, the image center was acceptably sharp but the corners were noticeably soft. After stopping down to f/4, however, the entire image was impressively sharp from corner to corner. There was also noticeable darkness in the corners when I used it wide open but was was mostly gone by f/2.8 and completely gone by f/4. So it’s obvious that f/2.4 is not a strong aperture in which to work. For landscape photographers, this is a non-issue. At f/16, an aperture landscape photographers are much more likely to use, the image sharpness was every bit as good as my Canon 11-24mm at the same focal length.

Distortion was minimal and glare and ghosting when shooting directly into the lens was mostly under control. I wouldn’t say it was exceptional but it was definitely acceptable in this regard (no better or worse than some wide-angle lenses costing two or three times as much).

The one item that I’m sure will cause many photographers to pass on this lens is the lack of autofocus. For street photography, this might create a slight challenge to those photographers who grew up exclusively on autofocus, but to the older guys and gals, it will be no problem at all. Still, I see this as a landscape lens and I actually prefer to use manual focus anyway when capturing landscape images. The focusing ring is smooth with just the right amount of friction when turning. This lens also has a focus lock ring which allows you to maintain the selected distance by adjusting the friction ring to the locked position to keep the distance unchanged.

For filters, the Irix 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone lens gives you two options. The size of the front element is 95mm, which is an odd filter size. But there’s also a slot near the lens mount that allows a 30mm x 30mm gel filter, which not only ensures you won’t get any vignetting with a front filter but is also a much cheaper filter option as well.

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Conclusion

I can honestly say that I am pleasantly surprised at both the optical performance and the build quality of the Irix 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone lens. I can only speak for the Blackstone model and not the Firefly, however, but I understand the the optical quality is the same for each. The sharpness of this lens is on par with any wide-angle lens I’ve ever used with little distortion and only a small amount of vignetting at f/2.4. I had no problems with chromatic aberration, and when I aimed the lens into the sun, ghosting and flare were minimal. Some photographers might balk at the lack of autofocus, but for landscape photography – the application for which this lens is obviously meant – autofocus is not even a necessary feature. If you want a truly excellent wide-angle prime lens at a very reasonable price, this lens fits the bill.

Get yours here at Amazon:

Irix 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone Lens for Canon
Irix 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone Lens for Nikon
Irix 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone Lens for Pentax

In July 2017, I was interviewed by Irix USA and you can read that interview here: An Interview with Photographer and Adventurer Richard Bernabe.

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer is the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. For more great information on new images, gear reviews, book projects, and photography workshops and tours, Sign Up For Our Newsletter.