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Lens review

Irix 15 mm f/2.4 Blackstone

27 September 2016
Szymon Starczewski

11. Summary

Pros:
  • Solid, sealed casing with an interesting design,
  • Sensational image quality in the frame centre,
  • Good image quality on the edge of the APS-C sensor,
  • Imperceptible longitudinal chromatic aberration,
  • Low lateral chromatic aberration,
  • Lack of distinct problems with spherical aberration,
  • Noticeably lower distortion than that of its direct rivals,
  • Very low astigmatism,
  • Sensible blurry areas for this angle of view,
  • Very rich accessory kit.

Cons:

  • Monstrous vignetting on full frame,
  • Weak performance against bright light.

Undoubtedly the constructors of the Samyang 14 mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC, compared to the constructors of the Irix, took the easy way out. Firstly, they gave up on any distortion correction, a reprehensible practice in any case. Secondly, they didn’t set any limits when it comes to dimensions and convexity of the front element because their construction came with no standard filter thread.>

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The task before the Irix constructors was much more difficult, as they decided to offer you a better aperture fastness and a very good distortion correction along with an opportunity to use classic filters and a detachable hood. They had to pay for it in the form of huge vignetting but, taking everything into account, they still did a great job. Their lens is able to generate very sharp images with low level of such aberrations as distortion, coma or chromatic aberration. With so difficult parameters of the lens it’s a praiseworthy achievement.

One thing is strange. As I fully appreciate the emphasis on distortion correction, because the huge moustache distortion of the Samyang 2.8/14 was one of its most serious flaws, I am at a loss when it comes to such a great emphasis on usage of classic filters. Ok, you get a 95 mm thread and everything seems peachy until you go shopping. Then you might find out that a purchase of two filters for your lens might cost you more than the lens itself…

Finally a few words concerning the positive impact of competition on the market. During their six years of market activity Samyang have provided lenses with good price/quality ratio but flawed. I think here about e.g. the lack of contacts in Canon versions or several slip-ups concerning the build quality and solidity of the casings. Irix, on the other hand, made contacts for all mounts available from their first launch on the market and, apart from the classic version of their products, they showed a better one, the Blackstone line, featuring superior materials. The result? Samyang wakes up all of a sudden and launches a Premium line, with contacts. A 2.4/14 lens will be launched as one of the first models. A coincidence? I don’t think so…